Saturday 16 December 2017

Dundalk all abuzz after Lilywhites' epic victory

ORIEL Park was hopping on Friday night, the town was abuzz all weekend, with dormant Lilywhites fans like myself talking about the great performance and 3-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers, a club with the league's biggest budget.

Everyone you bumped into over the weekend was talking about Stephen Kenny's side and the talk only briefly subsided on Saturday evening after RTÉ analyst's Joe Brolly's extraordinary outburst following Tyrone's All-Ireland quarter final victory over Monaghan.

Nearly 2,200 passionate and noisy home and away supporters rocked Oriel Park on Friday night, a game Shamrock Rovers had to win to hang on to the coat tails of leaders St Patrick's Athletic and Dundalk who are second a just a point behind with a game more played.

Rovers never had a chance. Dundalk were in no mood to stop their momentum, having forced their way right into the title race, and the home side never looked back once the Rovers defence giftwrapped the opening goal for Patrick Hoban inside the opening two minutes.

The side were a revelation with their hard work, selfless running and skills, and never wavered even after conceding a goal just before half time.

They were fully deserving of the victory, with the home supporters led by the raucous 'Shed' chanting 'We're going to win the league' in the final minutes.

It was a throwback to the great days of the club, when local players such as Barry Kehoe, Tom McNulty, Dessie Gorman, Richie Blackmore and Tommy McConville starred and Dundalk were regularly winning league titles and FAI Cups.

That Dundalk are in the title hunt is a surprise to the soccer pundits, but the credit goes to the board, manager Stephen Kenny, and his squad of players, and they fully deserve their place in the mix given their fantastic form this season.

With the final round of matches under way, it is crunch time. Can Dundalk stay in the mix in a title hunt that looks likely to go to the wire?

Next to visit Oriel Park are champions and third-placed Sligo Rovers on Friday week, which will be another night of great live action, a great antidote to the soap operas of Gareth Bale, Luiz Suarez and Wayne Rooney transfers and the circus that is Sky Sports and their Super Sundays.

The Argus

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