Saturday 21 April 2018

Another piece of McEleney magic sets Dundalk on their way

Dundalk 3 Limerick 0

Dundalk's Patrick McEleney. Photo: PA
Dundalk's Patrick McEleney. Photo: PA Sportsdesk

Stephen Kenny said earlier in the week it was his intention to keep Patrick McEleney at Oriel Park beyond the end of the season.

Kenny's task, however, could be nigh-on impossible after the Derry man added the latest instalment to his collection of stunning goals last night.

The 24-year-old was the difference between these sides in the corresponding fixture here in March.

A left-footed drive that arrowed into the top corner did the damage to Limerick on that occasion. Here, it was a stroke of his right that set Dundalk on their way to a much-needed win.

Both sides struggled to get into any sort of rhythm in the opening 20 minutes. Limerick, looking to arrest a worrying sequence of results that left them just five points above the drop-zone before kick-off, looked relatively untroubled.

Robbie Benson fired over, then went close again midway through the half, running to the near post to meet a corner only to see his glancing effort fly across the face of goal.

Things were a little flat but McEleney lit the place up with his 32nd-minute opener. Hauled down by David O'Connor in full flight, he picked himself up to curl a sublime 20-yard free-kick into Brendan Clarke's top right-hand corner.

Dundalk opened up after that and Niclas Vemmelund headed off target before Michael Duffy raced clear to pull the ball back invitingly for David McMillan but he squandered the opportunity.

The hosts started with real intensity after the break with Clarke relieved to see a blistering Duffy shot whistle over the top.

Goal number two arrived eight minutes in, Duffy's floated free from the right nodded home in emphatic fashion by Brian Gartland.

Limerick were on the ropes and their backline was breached again three minutes later, Benson getting the final touch to a Gartland header that looked destined for the net.

Neil McDonald's side did well to keep it at three. Goal difference could be vital in the battle to avoid the drop, a battle that Limerick are now facing.

Irish Independent

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