Dundalk return to the summit after impressive victory over Bohs
Bohemians 0 Dundalk 2
League of Ireland has a familiar leader. For the first time this season, Dundalk are top of the tree.
And this savvy showing suggests that Vinny Perth’s team are hitting a level of intensity that is capable of keeping them there.
The champions had fallen 13 points behind Shamrock Rovers on April 12, albeit with two fewer games played.
With Rovers out of action this weekend after three losses in their last four, Perth’s charges came here knowing that a win would put them top on goal difference with the same number of games played.
An undeserved win against Bohs at Oriel Park was the catalyst for their return to form, but there was no debate about who was superior here.
Dundalk were tuned in, and determined to atone for a sloppy draw with Derry seven days earlier.
They managed to play the majority of the opening half hour in Bohs territory with wingers Michael Duffy and Daniel Kelly prominent.
The unknown was through the middle with Patrick Hoban’s red against Derry City opening the door for Georgie Kelly to make his first league start for the club since joining from UCD last summer.
And the understudy took the opportunity to shine by giving the visitors the half-time lead. The goal was initially all about the chaos that Duffy can pose when in full tilt with Derek Pender struggling to contain the Derryman.
His attempted tackle sent the ball into the box where Kelly collected and swivelled to fire a right-footer past James Talbot – a first concession from play for Bohs this term.
The natives were aggrieved with some refereeing decisions prior to that, yet they were struggling to make real inroads with Danny Mandroiu initially subdued by Chris Shields.
However, the playmaker became prominent close to half-time, sending a free-kick narrowly wide after a foul by Shields.
He then should have squared things up but his shot from Darragh Leahy’s cutback was weak and Gary Rogers saved.
Dundalk continued to probe after the restart, with Bohs defending bravely while repeatedly giving the ball away under pressure. Duffy was a constant threat, with injury ending Pender’s evening. Sub Andy Lyons took on the baton, yet he was always playing catch-up.
At the other end, Dundalk were streetwise, and Bohs were ponderous when chances on the counter fell their way.
It could have been game over when ref Ben Connolly pointed to the spot after sub Luke Wade pulled down Duffy.
Shields effort was palmed away by James Talbot, but Bohs joy was short-lived as Seán Hoare rose highest to convert Duffy’s free and send Dundalk back to the summit.
Bohemians – Talbot, Pender (Lyons 52), Barry, Finnerty, Leahy; Buckley, Levingston; Grant (Wade-Slater 74), Mandroiu, Devaney (Ward 60); Corcoran.
Dundalk – Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Hoare, Jarvis; Shields; D Kelly (Dummigan 87), Murray (Mountney 74), McEleney, Duffy; G Kelly (Flores 82).
Ref – B Connolly (Dublin)