Fantastic response as the Under-19s bounce back
DUNDALK Under-19s got their league campaign back on track with a comprehensive victory over Fanad United at a soaking-wet Oriel Park on Saturday.
Martin Connoly's young side bounced back from their shock 2-1 defeat against Letterkenny Rovers last Sunday week by outplaying their Donegal opponents en route to a comfortable three points.
Dundalk got off to a dream start when Conor McDonald was brought down just inside the box and the referee, helped by his assistant, wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Ciaran O'Connor stepped up and coolly dispatched the penalty to leave Dundalk 1-0 to the good after only three minutes.
The young Lilywhites were driven forward by the impressive McDonald in the midfield and dominated the majority of the half, and they were unlucky not to increase their lead even further when O'Connor and Craig Pentony missed chances.
The referee brought the first half to a close with Dundalk in complete control and keeper Ryan Davis a mere spectator.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first had ended, with Dundalk bossing possession. It was clear that Fanad's only hope of getting back into the game would come on the back of a set piece.
Indeed, it was from a free kick that Dundalk conceded a goal after a long ball was pumped into the box, only for the referee's assistant to rule it out for offside.
The close call seemed to create more urgency within the Dundalk side and they re-established their dominance in the match.
With 20 minutes remaining the result was all but secured when a goal-bound shot was blocked and fell to O'Connor, who chipped the keeper from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
Dundalk were in complete control now and they sealed the victory with 10 minutes remaining. The lively Pentony was quickest to react after the Fanad keeper could only parry a shot into his path and he smashed home the rebound.
It capped an excellent performance from Dundalk and a perfect way to bounce back after their first defeat of the season the previous weekend. They deserve great credit for trying to play football despite the extremely wet conditions.
Dundalk: Ryan Davis, Ross Gaffney (Leon Keough), Paul Finnegan, Manuel Kaguako, Mairfide Montando, Kevin Nolan, Conor McDonald, Pauric McGeown (Dylan O'Hanlon), Craig Pentony (Caolan Reilly), Ciaran O'Connor, Craig Doherty. Unused subs: Johnny Connolly, Vlad Evseev.