The minute-by-minute updates are a crucial part of the extratime.ie coverage of Irish football but which games drew the most readers to our website in 2017.
Well we asked the Russians to hack into our database and let us know which were the most popular matches and this is the Top 10.
Around the grounds often the largest crowds of the season come on opening night and online it is a similar story as we have two games from the first matches of the league campaign in our top 10. Overall the list contains five Shamrock Rovers matches, four for double winners Cork City and with Limerick, Bohemians and Dundalk each having two games on the list.
Three matches on our countdown are mid-week games and we start and end with a cup game.
10. Liffey Wanderers 2-2 Cobh Wanderers [aet – Liffey Wanderers win 5-4 on penos] (FAI Intermediate Cup, Saturday 13 May)
Our reporters were on hand in the Aviva Stadium for all the big games in 2017 including, amongst others, the Republic of Ireland v Denmark playoff (sorry, we know you were trying to forget that one), the double header of the men’s and women’s FAI Cup finals and this game which made our Top 10 Update list – the FAI Intermediate Cup Final between Dublin's Liffey Wanderers and Cobh Wanderers.
Twice Conor Meade scored late to keep Cobh in the game with a late equaliser five minutes before the end of normal time and then a minute into injury time at the end of extratime. However, it was Liffey Wanderers who lifted the trophy winning the penalty shootout 5-4.
9. Limerick 5-1 Sligo Rovers (Premier Division, Friday 24 February)
A super start for what was Martin Russell’s team on the opening night of the season. Brazilian striker Rodrigo Tosi had everyone turning to the minute-by-minute Markets Field updates that evening as he scored a hat-trick in this comprehensive 5-1 win over the Bit O’Red.
GOAL! A Rodrigo Tosi header puts Limerick3-0 up!! pic.twitter.com/cXa5FVph6h— Limerick FC (@LimerickFCie) February 24, 2017
8. Shamrock Rovers 1-2 Cork City (Premier Division, Friday 17 March)
Seanie Maguire was the match winner for City on St. Patrick’s Day when they plundered all three points from Tallaght. The Leesiders were gifted a goal by a horrible error by Rovers ‘keeper Tomer Chencinski. Graham Burke equalized before he later hit the bar. Late on Maguire won a contentious penalty three minutes from time which won the game for the visitors.
7. Drogheda United 2-1 Shamrock Rovers (Premier Division, Friday 7 April)
The late drama in Drogheda drew the online crowds to this match. The Boynesiders were leading 1-0 with two minutes remaining and when Rovers won a penalty United’s captain Sean Brennan got sent off for too much talk to referee Rob Rogers. Graham Burke converted the spotkick and it seemed Rovers would claim a point but a minute later Burke put through his own net to give United the victory.
6. Bohemians 0-2 Cork City (Premier Division, Friday 14 April)
Karl Sheppard lit up this fixture back in April in front of the 2,124 fans in attendance at Dalymount Park with a cracker five minutes before half time. Garry Buckley ensured the win for John Caulfield’s men as the Leesiders moved nine points clear in the table that night.
5. Dundalk 2-1 Shamrock Rovers (Premier Division, Friday 24 February)
This action packed game between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers took place on the opening night of the league season. The Lilywhites began the campaign looking to equal Rovers’ record four league titles in a row and they got off to a good start with a deserved 2-1 win in Oriel Park even if Dave McAllister’s shot clipped the top of the Dundalk crossbar in injury time.
Robbie Benson and Ciaran Kilduff had given the Lilywhites a 2-0 lead before a memorable cameo from Graham Burke. He came off the bench and got on the scoresheet before being sent off for an awful late challenge. This all happened within 10 minutes of making his competitive debut for the Hoops.
4. Limerick 0-1 Bohemians (Premier Division, Monday 13 March)
Monday Night Football from the Markets Field in mid-March saw 1,756 in attendance and brought a decent crowd to extratime too. Dinny Corcoran got the winner showing the good form he had with the Gypsies all season. The striker would get 15 goals in the league by season’s end.
3. Cork City 4-1 Shamrock Rovers (Premier Division, Tuesday 26 May)
Stephen Bradley had made comments after City’s 2-1 win in Tallaght earlier in the season that his Hoops side had battered the Leesiders. That provided some motivation for City it seemed when they next met with the scoreline certainly suggesting that it was Cork City battering Shamrock Rovers.
However poor discipline was an issue for Rovers, as it was throughout the season, with seven dismissals in the league in total. City were ruthless after Rovers were reduced to ten men with following Dave McAllister’s 47 minute red card when the scoreline was 1-1.
City scored three times in the second half to make it 15 wins and a draw from their opening 16 league matches.
"We baturrrreedddd them"— Steven Beattie (@steven5beattie) May 26, 2017
2. Galway United 1-1 Cork City (Premier Division, Friday 12 May)
Incredibly it took until mid-May for Cork City to drop their first points of the season. The Leesiders fantastic form saw them sweep all sides before them up to that point – winning a dozen matches in a row - until they went to Eamon Deacy Park to play Galway United.
Conor McCormack had given John Caulfield’s men the lead a minute before the hour mark but Stephen Folan’s goal two minutes later was enough to ensure the spoils were shared between the two sides.
1. Shamrock Rovers 2 - 4 Dundalk [aet] (FAI Cup, Tuesday 10 October)
This was an epic 120 minute battle between Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk – sixth time they played each other in 2017. Dundalk had beaten Rovers in the EA Sports Cup final a couple of week previous to this cup clash. They then increased the length of the Hoops FAI Cup famine to over 30 years by knocking them out on their home turf in this FAI Cup semi-final replay.
Former Dundalk striker Michael O’Connor had taken the game to extratime with a late goal and it looked like Rovers had the momentum to go on and win. However, the brawl that erupted after an altercation between Stephen Bradley and Stephen O’Donnell seemed to help the visitors more. Surprisingly only Rovers’ Strength and Conditioning coach Darren Dillon was sent to the stands by referee Paul McLaughlin. Dave McMillan and Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell got two extratime second half goals to take their team to the Aviva.
We are also counting down our Top 20 most read stories of the year. Check out Number 20 to 11 here.