Georgie Kelly goal sends Dundalk 10 points clear at the top of the league
Dundalk 1 Cork City 0
Substitute Georgie Kelly scored a priceless winner as Dundalk surged 10 points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League table with this win over old rivals Cork City at Oriel Park.
Neale Fenn’s side frustrated the hosts for long periods but with 78 minutes on the clock, Dundalk finally unlocked the door when Kelly darted to the near post to turn Seán Gannon’s cross past Tadhg Ryan and hit the back of the net with his first touch.
The result lifts Dundalk 10 points clear of Shamrock Rovers at the summit and if Vinny Perth’s side beat Waterford in their next league game on September 20, they will be crowned champions again with a win against the Hoops at Oriel Park three days later.
Coming into the game on the back of six straight wins, Dundalk started on the front foot with Patrick Hoban having the first sighting of goal but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
Cork did fashion a good opening of their own in the 10th minute when Shane Griffin’s cross from the left found Eoghan Stokes just outside the six-yard box but Andy Boyle did enough and the ball deflected over the top.
Tadhg Ryan was once again given the nod by Fenn to start between the posts but the 22-year-old was almost left embarrassed just shy of the half-hour mark when Gannon’s cross deflected off Shane Griffin, hopped off the artificial surface and looped over his head. Thankfully for Ryan, Dan Casey was there to mop up.
Perth’s side upped the tempo in the early stages of the second half, pinning the Rebels back for long spells, and Hoban saw a vicious low drive fly across the face of goal before Casey made a good block to charge down Robbie Benson’s powerful hit.
Dean Jarvis sent a dipping volley over the bar on the hour and Patrick McEleney was denied on two occasions, once by Ryan, who made a fine stop as Cork defended as if their lives depended on it.
They finally folded with 12 minutes to go. McEleney’s sweeping ball to the right found Gannon and his delivery across the face of goal found Kelly, who did enough to score his seventh goal of the season and condemn Fenn to his third straight defeat since taking over in the Cork hot seat.
DUNDALK – Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Boyle, Jarvis; Shields, Benson (D Kelly 67); McGrath (G Kelly 77), McEleney, Duffy; Hoban (Dummigan 85).
CORK CITY – Ryan; Horgan, McCarthy, Casey, Hurley; McCormack, Byrne; O’Connor (Crowley 86), Stokes (O’Brien Whitmarsh 83), Griffin, O’Sullivan.
REF – B Connolly