Kearns does the trick for scintillating Lilywhites
Setanta Sports Cup
DUNDALK fans will never forget their first competitive match at Windsor Park after the Lilywhites claimed a stunning win over Linfield last night.
Local boy Daniel Kearns was the star of the show for Ian Foster's side, hitting a hat-trick on a magnificent night for the Louth club.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 31st minute following a fantastic counter-attack. Mark Quigley picked out Jason Byrne on the left and the former Irish international's first-time cross was perfectly weighted for Kearns to fire home.
Linfield drew level in the 43rd minute. Nathan Murphy hooked Billy Joe Burns' legs just shy of the byline. Referee Weatherall noticed nothing untoward but his assistant's flag signalled for a penalty and Peter Thompson fired home from the spot.
Quigley restored Dundalk's lead with a wonderful finish in the 54th minute. Ross Gaynor's low cross found its way to the striker at the back post and the former Bohs player created a yard of space before placing the ball into the corner of the net.
Linfield refused to lie down and they hauled Dundalk back again eight minutes later when Robert Garrett's low shot found the net after Peter Cherrie had made a great save to stop another Thompson penalty.
However, Foster's men turned on the style with Kearns grabbing a second following great interplay with Quigley. The Irish U-21 star collected Quigley's pass to crash his effort past Blayney for his second of the night.
Quigley struck again with a stunning 25-yard volley in the 75th minute, but Linfield's Curtis Allen again reduced the deficit to one goal with a late effort.
However, Kearns had the final say of a pulsating game, racing clear to slide home and secure the match ball.
LINFIELD -- Blayney; BJ Burns, Casement, Murphy (Armstrong 71), A Burns; Hanley (Allen 74), Gault, Mulgrew, Garrett; McAllister, Thompson.
DUNDALK -- Cherrie; Madden, Bennett, Hawkins, Murphy; Kearns, Bolger, Ward (McDonnell), Gaynor; Quigley, Byrne.
REF -- S Weatherall.