Kirby keeps cool from spot as Fingal hit the top
SPORTING FINGAL 2
SPORTING FINGAL went top of the table thanks to a hard-fought victory over Dundalk at Morton Stadium.
The home side got off to a dream start when they took the lead in the 10th minute. Wayne Hatswell headed the ball into his own net as he botched an attempt to clear a wayward strike by Eamon Zayed.
Gary O'Neill's quick thinking saw him use his chest to set up a chance for Conan Byrne after a deep free-kick fired in by Ger O'Brien in the 19th minute, but the shot flew narrowly wide.
Byrne had a header from an Alan Kirby left-wing cross saved three minutes before the break as Dundalk went in at half-time without creating a chance of note.
However, the visitors drew level in the 53rd minute. JJ Melligan burst onto a poor header by defender Ger O'Brien and flicked the ball over the advancing keeper Darren Quigley.
Defender Kenny Browne tried to clear the ball off the line and, although he hooked the ball away, assistant referee Mark Gavin flagged that the ball had crossed the line.
Fingal regained the lead on the hour mark when Alan Kirby converted from the penalty spot following a foul by Garry Breen on O'Neill.
Dundalk goakeeper Peter Cherrie had to make an instinctive stop to keep out a close-range effort by Browne 60 seconds later after Lorcan Fitzgerald's corner caused chaos.
The Lilywhites were denied an equaliser in the 70th minute when Liam Burns got his head to a deep Ross Gaynor free-kick and the ball bounced up off 'keeper Quigley and rebounded back off the crossbar.
SPORTING FINGAL -- Quigley; O'Brien, Maher, Browne, McFaul, Byrne, Finn, McFaul, Kirby, Zayed, O'Neill (Crowe 89).
DUNDALK -- Cherrie; Kelly (J Breen 81), G Breen, Burns, Hatswell, Stephen Maher, Miller, Melligan, Gaynor, Kudozovic, Fenn.
Ref -- T Connolly (Dublin).