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Towell treble fires Lilies

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Dundalk's Richie Towell celebrates after scoring his third goal against Derry City. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Dundalk's Richie Towell celebrates after scoring his third goal against Derry City. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Dundalk's Richie Towell celebrates after scoring his third goal against Derry City. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

RICHIE TOWELL once again showed why he's a hot favourite for the League of Ireland player of the year award with a clinical hat-trick in Dundalk's 3-0 Premier Division win over Derry City at Oriel Park.

Former Celtic star Towell eased the Lilywhites to victory over a beleaguered Derry side, and in doing so, assured the Co Louth club of at least a Europa League spot for next season.

Stephen Kenny's side cemented third spot in the Premier Division for the first time since winning the league back in 1995.

Hopes of recreating that title success of 18 years ago are still a long shot but this win moves the Lilywhites back into second place, three points behind league leaders St Patrick's Athletic, albeit with a game extra played.

Derry City had a great chance to take the lead after just six minutes when former Dundalk star Michael Rafter broke clear into the penalty area. He knocked the ball past Peter Cherrie before hitting the deck but, instead of awarding a penalty, referee Graham Kelly adjudged the Tipperary man to have taken a dive, issuing a yellow card to the stunned Derry City striker.

The Dundalk breakthrough came in the 26th minute. Kurtis Byrne chested the ball into the path of Towell and his half-volley into the ground beat Ger Doherty to find the Derry net.

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Towell claimed a second in as many minutes after a great move culminated in him smashing home with a fine half-volley from 25 yards.

Both goalkeepers were redundant for much of the second period but Doherty had to pick the ball out of his net again in the 66th minute after Towell had completed his hat-trick by placing the ball around the 'keeper after being set free by Byrne.


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