By Owen Cowzer
Cash-strapped Shamrock Rovers FC have been taken over by a supporters' trust which means the threat of liquidation has been lifted.
The examiner, Neil Hughes, who was assessing the club's insolvency, accepted a rescue package believed to be worth around €500,000 from a group known as The 400 Club. This secures the short-term future of the 15-times champions of the Republic of Ireland, although all of their players have been made available for free transfers.
Revival of fortunes
Pat McCourt was snapped up by Derry City FC, Jason Gavin moves to Drogheda United FC and Longford Town FC swooped for David Mooney and Stephen Gough. Otherwise the squad remains intact, and Shamrock Rovers climbed off the bottom of the table with a 3-2 win over Bray Wanderers AFC.
At the other end of the table, Cork City FC continued their impressive tilt at the 2005 Irish Premier Division crown after winning all five of their league games during July.
Margin for error
Cork’s lead at the top of the table stands at seven points with 14 games remaining and the club also booked a place in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round after beating Lithuanian league leaders FK Ekranas. They will now play their Swedish counterparts Djurgårdens IF over two legs on 11 and 25 April.
Shels all at sea
Second-placed Derry have proved tough to shake off, however, as they have also won their last five Premier Division matches. Defending champions Shelbourne FC now lie a distant 14 points off the pace and can divert attention to Wednesday's second leg of their UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie against FC Steaua Bucharesti in Romania, after a 0-0 home draw.
Longford on a roll
Also in form on the domestic front are Longford, who went unbeaten in July to claw their way up to sixth, level on points with freefalling Drogheda and two behind Bohemian FC, who have lost just once in their last ten outings behind the goals of former Republic of Ireland international Dominic Foley.
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