By Ronan Murphy
The 2013-14 Premier League season kicked off on Saturday as Liverpool defeated Stoke City 1-0 in the opening game. Mark Hughes started three Irish players, with Marc Wilson and Glenn Whelan in midfield, and Jon Walters out wide supporting the attack. Stoke could have grabbed a late point, but Walters saw his penalty kick saved by new Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Seamus Coleman began the new season in style with a goal and assist in Everton's 2-2 draw with Norwich City. Darron Gibson missed out for the Toffess through injury, while Anthony Pilkington's knee injury keeps him sidelined until the end of the month.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio favoured Irish stopper Keiren Westwood in goal for the first game of the campaign, but the 15-time Ireland international could do little to prevent Fulham recording a 1-0 win. Damien Duff delivered in the corner for the only goal of the game, while John O'Shea retained the captain's armband for the Black Cats.
Nottingham Forest continued their winning start to the new season to move top of the Championship table with a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Former Ireland international Andy Reid scored his side's second, but could have been dismissed for a scuffle with Wanderers defender Marc Tierney, only picking up a yellow card.
Richard Dunne made his first competitive start for Queen's Park Rangers in their 1-0 victory over Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town. The veteran defender had one moment of unease but his experience helped Harry Redknapp's side hang on for a clean sheet. Jay Tabb picked up a yellow card in frustration, while Daryl Murphy was unsuccessful in attack before being substituted after the hour mark.
Burnley sit in fourth place after a 2-0 win over Yeovil Town. New Irish international Paddy Madden was kept quiet up front by Kevin Long, but played the full 90 minutes for the first time this season. Burnley left it late to record victory, with substitute Keith Treacy opening the scoring on 74 minutes with a lucky finish.
James McCarthy could not prevent 10-man Wigan from succumbing to a 1-0 defeat away to Bournemouth. New signing James McClean had to make do with a second-half substitute appearance, while Ian Harte played 90 minutes for Eddie Howe's side, picking up a yellow card in a combative performance.
Stephen Ward made his debut for Brighton and Hove Albion in their 1-0 victory over Birmingham City. Keith Andrews also featured for Brighton as Birmingham shot-stopper Darren Randolph struggled to keep out the visitors.
Wolverhampton Wanderers' unbeaten start was extended as Matt Doherty scored a late winner against Bristol City to keep Kenny Jackett's side in the playoff spots. The Republic of Ireland international scored twice for Noel King's under-21s in the Faroe Islands in midweek, and continued his impressive spell with a late volley for his club. Kevin Doyle started for Wolves but could not find the scoresheet and was substituted late in the game.
Matt Doherty's fellow under-21 international Samir Carruthers came off the bench to make his debut for Milton Keynes Dons over the weekend. The on-loan winger won a late penalty, which was converted by Shaun Williams, to salvage a point for his side.
Portsmouth recorded their first win of the season, cruising to a 3-0 victory over Morecambe. Veteran striker David Connolly took his tally for the season up to three with a tap-in during the first-half, while Marcos Painter made his first start for his new club.
Former Ireland youth international Scott Davies made his first start of the season for Oxford United, helping them defeat Torquay United 3-1 to send the Us to the top of the table.
A long-range effort from Conor Hourihane helped Plymouth Argyle get their first points of the season with a 3-1 win over Cheltenham Town. John O'Flynn scored twice as Exeter City extended their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.
With Celtic having played one game less than the rest of the Scottish Premiership due to the Dublin Decider, Inverness Caledonian Thistle kept hold of pole position with a 2-0 win over Motherwell. Dubliner Richie Foran opened the scoring for ICT after just four minutes with a diving header.
Pat Fenlon's Hibernian got their first point of the season thanks to a 1-1 home draw with Dundee United. Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on as an argument between Kevin Thomson and Gavin Gunning saw both players receive straight red cards.
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane scored a second-half hat-trick to help his side defeat MLS Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake 4-2. The Dubliner was clinical with three strikes, including a cheeky lob to complete his hat-trick, taking his tally up to 10 goals this season.
APOEL lifted the Cypriot LTV Super Cup trophy on Saturday beating Apollon Limassol by one goal in a close game. Cillian Sheridan helped the Nicosia side win the season's curtain raiser for the 13th time with an impressive performance in attack.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph (Birmingham City)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Queens Park Rangers), Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Midfielders: Scott Davies (Oxford United), Rory Delap (Burton Albion), Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest)
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), David Connolly (Portsmouth), John O'Flynn (Exeter City)