Shelbourne FC made a miserable start to their title defence with a 3-0 defeat at Cork City FC.
The 2001/02 FAI National League champions were a goal behind after 15 minutes as George O'Callaghan made no mistake from John O'Flynn's cross, and new Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon had even more to be worried about at half-time as O'Flynn made it 2-0 with a superb individual effort.
O'Flynn on fire
Four minutes into the second half, it was all but over for the Dublin side as new signing Trevor Molloy was shown the red card for a clash with Gareth Cronin. Cork continued to press but did not get the third goal their dominance deserved until the 77th minute when O'Flynn completed an excellent evening's work by chasing Colin O'Brien's through-ball to put the ball past Steve Williams in the Cork goal.
Joy for Bohemians
Shelbourne's local rivals Bohemian FC got off to a much better start as they won 2-1 at University College Dublin FC. A Robert Doyle strike in the 26th minute had given UCD the lead before Paul Keegan equalised for Bohemians just before half-time. Substitute Bobby Ryan scored the winning goal after 69 minutes.
Success for Drogheda
In Friday's other games, Bray Wanderers AFC could only draw 2-2 against Longford Town FC, while league newcomers Drogheda United FC won 2-1 against Derry City FC. St Patrick's Athletic's match at Shamrock Rovers FC was postponed due to the visitors involvement in the UEFA Intertoto Cup this weekend.
Today's games were the first since the FAI National League switched to a summer season and good attendances at the games seem to be a positive sign for Irish football. Another piece of good news for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is that a four-year deal was announced yesterday that will see the Republic of Ireland's international games and Under-21 matches shown live in Great Britain by Sky television.
New television deal
John Delaney, honorary treasurer of the FAI, said: "The FAI is delighted with the deal with Sky Television. Sky has consistently invested significant resources in televising football and has produced football programmes of the highest quality. Sky has been the Association's partner for exclusive live international matches across the UK for the last two years and this has been a very successful partnership. Sky's approach has been a major factor in enhancing the image of football."
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