Derry move away drop zone as Dundalk's title hopes dealt a blow
Galway United 0 Derry 4
Derry City took a step away from the relegation zone as three goals in 11 minutes gave them back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.
Substitute Ciaran O’Connor gave the Candystripes the lead in the 53rd minute, before a brace from Mark Timlin clinched the win for Peter Hutton’s men, with Stephen Dooley adding a late fourth.
Derry imposed themselves on the game from the off as Ryan McBride came close with a header, before on-loan youngster O’Connor began to impress.
But it was scoreless at half-time before Timlin set up O’Connor for the opener and then fired two more – the first from the spot – to secure Derry’s fifth win of the campaign.
GALWAY UNITED – Hanley; Raftery, Cantwell, Oji, Horgan; Shanahan, O’Leary (Sinnott 82), Byrne (McConnell 92), Molloy; Keegan, Walsh.
DERRY CITY – Doherty; Cornwall, McBride, Barry; Dooley, McCormack, Lowry, McNamee, Jarvis (Quigley 84); McEleney (O’Connor 21, Curran 72), Timlin.
REF – A Buttimer (Cork).
Dundalk 0 Longford Town 0
Dundalk’s title hopes were dealt a blow as ten man Longford Town held the champions to a stalemate at Oriel Park.
The result blows the title race wide open. Stephen Kenny’s men are seven points clear but Cork City can close that gap to four if they beat Sligo Rovers today.
The visitors were left with an uphill task when skipper Mark Salmon was sent off three minutes before half-time. But they dug in superbly, with goalkeeper Paul Hunt making a host of fantastic saves.
Dundalk were far from their free-flowing best but they still created a number of good chances with David McMillan firing wide with the best of them in the opening half.
Longford grew into the game but momentum was disrupted in the 42nd minute when Salmon was harshly dismissed after a collision with McMillan.
The frustration levels grew in the second half as Dundalk struggled to break down the two banks of four erected in front of Hunt’s goal.
Sean Maguire almost made a dream start to his Dundalk career, heading a Sean Gannon cross just over the top just seconds after being introduced.
The Oriel Park faithful thought the breakthrough had finally arrived in the 83rd minute when Brian Gartland’s flick found Maguire lurking at the back post again but Hunt made a fabulous save.
Dundalk kept pushing and another golden opportunity was squandered in the 89th minute when Gartland headed a corner straight into the arms of Hunt.
DUNDALK – Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Towell, O’Donnell (Mountney 75); Meenan (Kilduff 60), Finn, Horgan; McMillan (Maguire 66).
LONGFORD TOWN – Hunt; Sullivan, Powell, Gorman, Deady;
Shannon (Cowan 72), Salmon, O’Connor, Rice, Ben Mohamed (Simon 78); Shaw.
REF – T Connolly