A STELLAR performance from nine-time FAI Cup winners Dundalk saw them advance to the quarter-finals at Malahide United's expense at a miserable Gannon Park on Friday night.
The result compounds what was a disappointing seven days for the Leinster Senior League side, who also lost their opening league fixture against Mount Merrion the previous weekend. With the seaside venue looking resplendent ahead of Malahide's biggest outing for six years, the home side had reasonable cause for optimism. Given the LSL summer break, it was no surprise to see a muchchanged Malahide team take to the field from that which defeated Blarney United in the last round, with goalkeeper Pat Dunne drafted into the side along with outfield players Mark Logan, Noel McGinty and Gareth Logan. But despite their 11-game winless streak prior to Friday's Cup encounter, the Louth side simply had too much for their less illustrious opponents, and although Glen Crowe's early effort solicited a good save from Peter Cherrie, it took the visitors just nine minutes to register a lead goal. A precise pass from Michael Rafter sent Gary Shanahan clean through on United's goal, and the teenager proceeded to dink his effort nonchalantly over the outr-ushing Dunne to put his side firmly in control. Subsequent shots from Lorcan Shannon and Rafter failed to test the Fingal side's goal, while Rafter was once again the protaganist on the half-hour mark as his rasping effort forced Dunne into a flying save. With the tie looking finely balanced coming up to half-time, disaster struck as Mark Griffin's tame 35-yard free kick slipped under the Malahide custodian and into the bottom corner. At the start of the second half, the hosts monopolised possession admirably for the first 15 minutes, yet failed to trouble Cherrie's goal until 59 minutes, Alan Doyle blazing over from 12 yards when better was expected. Having weathered the storm, Dundalk were gifted a great opportunity on 70 as Dunne brought down Rafter in the box, but the Malahide custodian redeemed himself in spectacular style by saving Shields' penalty. However, it proved only a temporary reprieve. Seizing on Mark O'Brien's pass five minutes later, Lilywhites winger Shannon raced through on the home goal before unleashing an unstoppable bottom-corner drive for the third. Malahide found themselves down to 10 men as Alan O'Keeffe received his marching orders on 78 minutes for a bad challenge on Griffin and the rout was completed in injury time when Bob McKenna produced a splendid finish past the hapless Dunne.