Kelly hat-trick blitzes Blues to maintain Dundalk's treble drive
Waterford 1 Dundalk 3
Daniel Kelly's first-half hat-trick sealed a comprehensive FAI Cup quarter-final victory for Dundalk at Waterford last night.
Although the Blues missed a penalty and pulled one back in the second half through Maxi Kouogun, the difference in the teams' league fortunes was reflected in a one-sided contest. Treble-chasing Dundalk were the slicker of the teams in possession and it soon converted into scoring chances.
Pat Hoban was first to threaten on six minutes with a ferocious long-range effort which goalkeeper Matt Connor got down well to keep out.
Dundalk soon switched their attention to attacking from wide and it paid dividends with all three goals coming down the right.
The opener on nine minutes showed the best of Dundalk and worst of Waterford. Neat work near the endline from Hoban allowed him square the ball across goal for Kelly to arrive on cue to bury a first-time shot from eight yards.
Waterford's static defence was again exposed on 23 minutes. Dundalk's record scorer Hoban provided the assist once more, looping to ball over his header to free Kelly. He was given time to advance and beat Connor from an acute angle inside his near post.
Drifted Kevin Feeley's header on the half hour which drifted a yard wide for Waterford proved a crucial miss for Waterford. Within two minutes, they had conceded a third and the tie was effectively over by the break.
Winger Kelly showed a striker's instinct by giving the two centre-backs the slip to meet Patrick McEleney's dinked cross and nod home.
On 37 minutes, Brian Gartland's shove on his former Dundalk team-mate O'Connor led to a penalty award. Aaron McCarey guessed right, diving to his left to deny Shane Duggan's low spot-kick.
Waterford eventually did pull one back in bizarre circumstances on 56 minutes. Chris Shields, while attempting to clear Georgie Poynton's corner, succeeded only in striking it off Kouogun's shoulder and back into the top corner.
That was the height of their comeback but O'Connor might have made it an interesting last half hour had he not missed a sitter.
WATERFORD - M Connor; R Feely, K Browne, M Kouogun, K Lynch; S Bone (D O'Halloran 80); S Duggan (JJ Lunney 65), G Poynton; W Fitzgerald (C Galvin 69), W Figueria; M O'Connor.
DUNDALK - A McCarey; C Dummigan (S Gannon 73), B Gartland, S Hoare, D Massey; C Shields, P McEleney; D Kelly (R Benson 70), J McGrath, M Duffy; P Hoban (G Kelly 82).
Ref - P Tuite (Dublin)