Wednesday 21 March 2018

Benson sets Dundalk on way to seventh heaven

Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 7

Dundalk FC's Robbie Benson opened the scoring. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Dundalk FC's Robbie Benson opened the scoring. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Chris McNulty

Robbie Benson's early brace set the tone in Ballybofey as Dundalk cruised to their biggest win of the season, their seventh away win in a row.

David McMillan added two more, with Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan and Paddy Barrett also netting for the ruthless table-toppers.

It took Dundalk only five minutes to find a way past Harps as Benson (right) headed Sean Gannon's cross past Ciaran Gallagher.

Even at that early stage, it meant that home manager Ollie Horgan's blueprint designed to keep the champions at bay for as long as possible was tossed in the Finn.

Last season, Benson, then with UCD, was namechecked consistently by the Harps manager. Stephen Kenny clearly concurred and added the midfielder to his ranks.

Benson doubled his tally on 20 minutes when a majestic shot from 15 yards gave Gallagher no chance after John Mountney touched Horgan's centre into his path.

Horgan added a third when a wonderful, dipping shot from 30 yards flew into the top corner.

A lung-surging burst up the left flank by Horgan carved out the opening for the fourth, just before half-time, with Ronan Finn's goalward shot clinically steered home by McMillan.

Thirteen minutes into the second half, McMillan beat Packie Mailey before slotting in Dundalk's fifth and Boyle headed home 18 minutes from the end of a sorry night for Harps.

The Donegal side had purred into this game, energised by a pulsating 2-2 derby draw at Derry City on Tuesday night, when Sean Houston rescued a dramatic point.

However, the zip was quickly removed from their step and the night quickly developed into an ordeal for Horgan's team. Barrett netted in stoppage-time to condemn Harps' to their record League defeat.

Finn Harps - C Gallagher; D McNulty, P Mailey, K Cowan, C Coll; D Scully (E Boyle h-t), B Molloy (K McHugh 65), S Houston, G Harkin; A Hanlon; R Curran (L Flatley 76).

Dundalk - G Rogers; S Gannon, B Gartland, A Boyle, D Massey; D Horgan, R Finn (D Meenan 65), C Shiels (G Poynton 74), J Mountney, R Benson; D McMillan (P Barrett 59).

Ref - T Connolly (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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