Saturday 18 November 2017

McEleney magic enough as Dundalk see off gritty Limerick

Dundalk 1 Limerick 0

Patrick McEleney, right, of Dundalk celebrates
Patrick McEleney, right, of Dundalk celebrates

The match poster for next week’s fixture between Dundalk and St Patrick’s Athletic features Patrick McEleney decked out in the green robes of Ireland’s patron saint.

If he keeps playing the way he is at the moment, then he will certainly achieve that kind of status in Dundalk.

Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny feels that McEleney has the potential to be the best player the League of Ireland has seen over the past 15 years, and although the season may be in its infancy, the Derry man looks determined to live up to that billing.

Dundalk and Limerick were evenly matched when McEleney worked his magic to break the deadlock at Oriel Park after 32 minutes of an entertaining first half.

Nothing really looked on when ‘Fats’ came in from the right-hand side but he let fly with a sensational left-footed effort that arced past the helpless Freddy Hall to leave the net rippling.

The hosts had a chance inside the opening two minutes but Robbie Benson headed wide from a good position before Stephen Kenny – the Limerick winger rather than the Dundalk manager – almost beat Gabriel Sava with a dipping drive that just cleared the crossbar.

Dundalk showed signs of making the breakthrough and they did that when McEleney brought the house down with his wonder-goal.

He came close to a second when he curled another effort at goal but this time his free-kick went wide of the mark.

Benson almost made it 2-0 on the hour but his effort flew agonisingly wide.

Limerick remained very much in the game and Rodrigo Tosi met a cross from substitute Ian Turner but the Brazilian couldn’t place his header either side of Sava.

The home supporters became anxious as the game drifted towards the final 10 minutes but Dundalk saw it out to extend their winning start to three games.

DUNDALK – Sava; Gannon, Gartland, Barrett, Vemmelund; Clifford, Benson; McGrath (Mountney 66), McEleney, Duffy (Shields 81); Kilduff (Stewart 74).

LIMERICK – Hall; Kelly, Williams, Whitehead, Robson; Duggan, Lynch, O’Conor (Coughlan 77); Kenny (Turner 61), Tosi, Clarke (Ogbene 82).

REF – R Harvey

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