Tuesday 16 January 2018

Kenny's rampant Lilywhites surge five points clear

Dundalk 5 UCD 2 - Airtricity League Premier Division

Patrick Hoban of Dundalk
Patrick Hoban of Dundalk

Dundalk look to have no intention of giving up top spot judging by their latest Oriel Park goalfest.

Stephen Kenny's men, unbeaten at home in the league in 2014, are now five points clear of the chasing pack.

Before kick-off, few would have given UCD a chance, but the Students clearly had failed to read the script, taking just three minutes to upset the good mood of the Bank Holiday Monday home crowd.

Chris Mulhall again proved his dead-ball prowess by curling a sweetly-struck free kick from 35 yards over the wall and into the back of a stunned Peter Cherrie's goal.

Shocked Dundalk may have been but dazed they were not, although Patrick Hoban may have been four minutes later when he took a hefty collision from Conor O'Donnell in the UCD goal in order to race on to Kurtis Byrne's pass and head the ball past the stranded goalkeeper.

From there, they swiftly began to settle into their quick-passing, irresistible best.

Darren Meenan crossed the ball for Andy Boyle who headed it just wide before Hoban passed up two good chances from centres, sending both wide.

Just after the half-hour mark, Dundalk finally went in front.

Darren Meenan's deliveries have caused problems all season and did so again when his corner was met at the back post by Byrne, who supplied the vital last touch over the line.

Daryl Horgan then got in on the act with his fourth goal in as many league games by volleying home from Dane Massey's cross before another Meenan corner helped Brian Gartland get on the scoresheet with a firm downward header.

The second half saw both sides add to their tallies in the game with penalty kicks – Robbie Benson (for which Andy Boyle appeared to pick up a second yellow card without being sent off) and Hoban were both successful from the spot.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey (Rossiter 71); Shields, Towell; Meenan, Byrne, Horgan; Hoban.

UCD: O'Donnell; Matthews, Ryan, Barker, Langtry; Morrison (O'Halloran 78), McCabe, Benson, Mulhall; Burke; Belhout (Wilson 87).

Referee: J McKell (Derry).

Irish Independent

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