Dundalk's first-half blitz enough to see off UCD and extend lead at top of Premier Division
Dundalk 3 UCD 0
An early Michael Duffy double and a third from Patrick Hoban ensured Dundalk extended their lead over Shamrock Rovers at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table to seven points with a game in hand still to play after a comfortable victory over UCD at Oriel Park.
An early Michael Duffy double and a third from Patrick Hoban ensured Dundalk extended their lead over Shamrock Rovers at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table to seven points with a game in hand after a comfortable victory at Oriel Park.
This was nowhere near as easy as many had expected however.
Following Collie O’Neill’s departure seven days earlier, caretaker boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki has instilled a bit of pride and belief in the Students. After beating St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 in the FAI Cup on Friday, they followed it up with another progressive showing here, frustrating Dundalk for long periods.
It took less than three minutes for the breakthrough to arrive with Duffy hitting a stunning 25-yard effort which flew past Gavin Sheridan to the top corner.
He then doubled his side’s advantage on 19 minutes when Patrick Hoban charged down the right before crossing for the inrushing Duffy to tap home from three yards out.
Tarnogrodzki’s side had a great chance to half the deficit on 26 minutes when Liam Kerrigan pulled the ball across to the inrushing Jason McClelland but he could only fire wide from the edge of the box.
The home side then added the third on 38 minutes with Duffy repaying the earlier favour to Hoban by laying it off to him for the striker to hammer in his 13th league goal of the season.
Hoban went close within two minutes of the restart only to be denied by Sheridan but it was a largely frustrating half after that with Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers – making his 500th Premier Division appearance – having to be brave to preserve his clean sheet when he saved at the feet of Sam Byrne.
Dundalk: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Jarvis; Hoare, McEleney; Mountney (D Kelly 7), McGrath ( Murray 62), Duffy; Hoban (G Kelly 77).
UCD: Sheridan; Tobin, Scales, Boore, Farrell; Kerrigan, Keaney, Keane (McGrath 83), McClelland; O’Farrell (Byrne 72); Mahdy.
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).