Majestic Horgan the hero as he fires brace for Dundalk
BOHEMIANS 0 DUNDALK 2
Daryl Horgan doubled up at Dalymount Park as reigning champions Dundalk opened up a four-point lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League table.
Bohemians were the only team to inflict a league defeat on Stephen Kenny’s side last season and The Gypsies again proved to be tricky opponents in the first half.
However, in Horgan, Dundalk possess a lethal weapon and his sublime 38th-minute free-kick gave the Lilywhites a half-time lead before he made sure of the win with a scrappy second in the 67th minute.
Both sets of players struggled to contend with the difficult surface and the old phrase of ‘the ball was like a hand grenade’ was an apt description the opening 20 minutes.
Things eventually settled down and it was the hosts who looked the more likely. Gary Rogers came to Dundalk’s rescue in the 27th minute, getting down well to his left to push Derek Prendergast’s header from a Lorcan Fitzgerald corner behind.
Bohs continued to look inventive with the lively Keith Buckley pulling the strings in midfield. His pass on the half hour gave Kurtis Byrne a brief sighting of the Dundalk goal but Brian Gartland did enough to shepherd his former team-mate into a difficult position to get a meaningful effort at goal.
The traffic was all one way at this stage but Dundalk struck a vicious blow in the 36th minute.
Ronan Finn’s heavy touch in midfield wrong-footed Dave Mulcahy and when it turned into a sprint between the two, the 38-year-old struggled to keep up with Finn outmuscling him to bear down on goal. The veteran defender hauled the Dundalk player down with referee Rob Harvey deciding that a yellow card was sufficient punishment, much to the frustration of the visiting players.
Horgan, though, delivered his own verdict, stepping up to curl a sensational free-kick around the outside of the Bohs wall to beat Dean Delany at his left-hand post and give Dundalk a lead that few could argue they deserved. For Bohs, the half-time whistle took them to 368 minutes without a goal in all competitions.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half lacked any sort of intensity with Bohs struggling to regain the momentum they had in the first period.
Dundalk, looking to keep a fourth successive clean sheet, kept the locals at arm’s length and they took a big step towards the victory with 22 minutes remaining on the clock.
Horgan was, again, the chief tormentor, the winger leading Derek Pender a merry dance as he waltzed to the byeline to deliver a cross to John Mountney at the far post. The substitute’s header returned the ball across the face of goal and Horgan was there to stoop and bundle the ball home via a deflection off Delany. If the build-up was full of grace, the finish was less so.
Bohs needed a quick response but Rogers dealt easily with a couple of long-range attempts and substitute Mark Quigley saw a header cleared off the line as Dundalk saw it out to stretch their unbeaten away record to 25 games.
BOHEMIANS – Delany; Pender, Prendergast, Mulcahy, Fitzgerald; Lopes (Quigley 73), D Byrne (Murphy 84); Buckley, Kavanagh (Kelly 72), Ben Mohamed; K Byrne.
DUNDALK – Rogers; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields, Benson (Barrett 86); Meenan (Mountney 61), Finn, Horgan; McMillan (O’Connor 89).
REF – R Harvey