How the Irish fared


Relieved Long ends 279-day goal drought

How the Irish fared

Relieved Long ends 279-day goal drought

How the Irish fared

Shane Long cut a relieved figure after ending a 279-day goal drought in Southampton’s 2-1 Premier League victory at Leicester City on Saturday.

Long went into the game having not scored since netting against Arsenal last April but ended the wait when scoring Southampton’s second in first half stoppage time.

“It’s been hard,” he said of the drought. “I’ve felt like I’ve been playing well and I was really getting into my stride, but then I was out for six weeks with an ankle injury.

“Coming back into it with a new manager (Ralph Hasenhuttl), it takes time to win him over, but everybody being injured helped me out to get that start today, and I’m delighted to get a goal.

“I’m quite good with my mind. I don’t let things get to me – I don’t read articles, I don’t listen to things that are hammering me.

“I think the lads in the dressing room appreciate what I do for the team and I’m confident in my ability, but it’s hard not to let it get to you personally when you’re not scoring.

I think the worst thing lately was that I wasn’t getting chances – I wouldn’t mind if I was getting chances because I know one will go my way, but I dug deep and created a chance for myself today. After the game, the lads have come up and congratulated me and everybody is delighted for me just to get that off my back and try to kick on.

Turning to the Championship, it’s fitting that David McGoldrick plays for a team nicknamed the Blades as the striker could hardly be sharper than he is right now.

On Saturday, the 31-year-old scored for the fifth time in six games to lift Sheffield United to second in the table after a 1-0 win over QPR.

McGoldrick’s match-winning header was his 10th of the season and continued his renaissance since his summer move from Ipswich.

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy worked with McGoldrick at Portman Road and must surely be impressed with the striker’s current form.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Seán Maguire continued his comeback from his most recent injury setback, playing the final 16 minutes of Preston’s 1-1 draw with Swansea and twice coming close to a winner.

New signing Anthony Pilkington made the perfect start to life at Wigan, his mazy run and fine pass setting up the opening goal in the Latics’ 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

In League One, a Callum Reilly penalty helped Gillingham to a 3-2 win at Burton Albion while James Collins was on also on the mark from the spot as Luton drew 1-1 at Sunderland.

Paddy Madden was among the scorers as Fleetwood and Oxford United played out a 2-2 draw while Simon Cox’s late penalty proved little more than a consolation as Southend lost 3-2 at home to Plymouth.

League Two saw yet another successful Irish penalty, Jay O’Shea converting from the spot as Bury beat MK Dons 4-3.

And six days on from his FA Cup heroics against Premier League outfit Leicester City, Pádraig Amond must have thought he was going to be Newport’s match-winner again when he put them 2-1 ahead at Crewe but the hosts scored twice in the final two minutes to win 3-2.

A week is clearly a long time in soccer.

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