Roy Keane an interested spectator as Dundalk record a big win against Shamrock Rovers
Shamrock Rovers 2 Dundalk 5
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane will have taken more than a few notes from his trip to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night as a vibrant Dundalk side came from 1-0 down to beat Shamrock Rovers 5-2 in a Friday night thriller.
So much of the pre-match focus was on the international call-up for Graham Burke, who was not available to play for the Hoops as he's needed for Ireland against the USA on Saturday night.
But it was another international, Canada cap Tomer Chencinski in the Rovers goal, who had an unwanted spell in the spotlight and a night to forget as he leaked in five goals, the fifth, from Robbie Benson, sparking shouts of "We want Bradley out" from a section of the Rovers support, displeased with the form under boss Stephen Bradley.
It was the young men in the Dundalk midfield, especially Michael Duffy, Robbie Benson and Jamie McGrath, who must have been noted by Keane on his spying mission as they helped tear Rovers apart, Duffy a joy to watch and a creative player who could really add to the Republic's ranks.
Dundalk came to Tallaght Stadium with the best defensive record in the league, just eight goals conceded in 20 games before this test, but they found themselves a goal down after only three minutes.
It was a self-inflicted wound for Dundalk as a throw-in from Dane Massey found its way to Brian Gartland, his touch was poor and forced keeper Gary Rogers into a save, with Carr on hand to fire home for the Hoops.
Rovers had the upper hand, with the chance to double their lead on 13 minutes only for Gary Rogers to save at close range from Carr's header, but they lost momentum when Carr was forced off due to injury after only 23 minutes.
Dundalk finally took advantage on 37 minutes when Pat Hoban scored to equalise, Greg Bolger's defensive header only going as far as Duffy and the former Northern Ireland U21 cap, who is now keen to play for the Republic and has been name-checked by Martin O'Neill, crossed for Hoban to head home.
Dan Cleary headed Dundalk in front on 60 minutes, a Dane Massey strike had the away side 3-1 up four minutes later.
Roberto Lopes, from close range for Rovers, and Benson for Dundalk traded goals in the space of a minute to leave the game poised at 4-2 in Dundalk's favour but there was time for one more, sub Krisztian Adorjan setting up the superb Benson on 77 minutes for his second and Dundalk's fifth.
"We got beat at home, I understand they’re frustrated. We’ll keep working hard," said Rovers boss Stephen Bradley.
"The game was tight, we could have been two-up. The scoreline at the end maybe tells a different story but I thought for large parts we were good in the game."