Midfielder Alan Browne once again demonstrated his goal-scoring prowess when his 11th of the season helped Preston to a 2-1 Championship victory at Bolton.
Browne’s low strike after 40 minutes gave Preston to lead and there was also a distinctly Irish flavour to their second goal. Sean Maguire, who got through a full 90 minutes, provided the assist with a brilliant through ball.
“It’s obviously my best season so far in terms of goals,” Browne said. “I could have had one or two more but I’ll take 11 for now and hopefully take another few chances.”
Like Maguire, Callum O’Dowda turned provider at the weekend, his corner creating the only goal in Bristol City’s 1-0 win at Blackburn.
It was also a good weekend for Martin O’Neill as Nottingham Forest revived their play-off hopes with a 2-1 win over Brentford.
The former Ireland boss said: “We had to survive some nervous moments but thankfully we did and I’m delighted with the victory.”
There were five Irish goalscorers in Saturday’s League One action, most notably former Cork City star Kieran Sadlier, who grabbed his first goal for Doncaster in their 3-1 win over Peterborough United.
Elsewhere in the division, Paddy Madden hit the winner in Fleetwood Town’s 1-0 victory at Bradford City, James Collins’ 19th goal of the season helped Luton to a 3-0 win over Wycombe; Jimmy Dunne struck in Sunderland’s 1-1 draw at Oxford United, while a fine free-kick from Graham Carey helped Plymouth to a 1-1 draw at home to Portsmouth.
In League Two, a Jay O’Shea double inspired Bury to a 3-2 win at Morecambe, while Jamie Devitt rescued a 1-1 draw for Carlisle in their clash with Exeter City.
And in the Scottish Cup, Daryl Horgan opened the scoring as Hibernian booked a quarter-final ticket with a 3-1 win over Raith Rovers.