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Report: McGrath Strikes Late Debut Winner

First Team News
// 31 Jan 2017

 
Jamie McGrath marked his debut with a late winner as Dundalk narrowly edged past Irish League side Glenavon 1-0 in their first pre-season outing at a wet and windy Mourneview Park on Monday night.

While Glenavon threatened more than once in the first half, it was the triple Champions that should have been in front at the break as Patrick McEleney delivered a pinpoint cross for Ciarán Kilduff but he could only direct his header wide.

Kilduff then saw his hook go wide of an empty goal after good pressure from McGrath had created the opening, while another mazy run from McEleney ended with the Derry man being denied well by ‘keeper James Taylor.

Glenavon had a loud penalty appeal turned down in the second half, which was a non-event up until two minutes from time when a short corner routine ended with substitute Keith Dalton sending in a cross which was clipped to the net by McGrath (see below).

Dundalk kicked off in front of a healthy attendance despite the wintry conditions at the Lurgan venue. The first save of the night came from the visiting Gabriel Sava who blocked James Gray’s well-struck shot before gathering.

McGrath then played in Kilduff on the left of the area where he fired well off target from a tight angle, while Robbie Benson curled a free-kick agonisingly wide moments later. James Singleton then went close for the hosts when he met a corner at the back post.

Dundalk should have been in front midway through the half when McEleney skipped down the right and put in a cross for Kilduff in the centre but his effort flew past the upright.

On 35 minutes, Benson’s ball forward was held up by the wind and with McGrath putting pressure on, Taylor was left stranded. From 20-yards, Kilduff hooked the loose ball over the ‘keeper but with the conditions playing a part it drifted away from goal. Before half-time, McEleney went on another fine run which left him with just Taylor to beat but he was denied by a good save, as the teams went in level.

The second period produced very little of note. Dundalk were lucky to survive a penalty appeal before the hour when Renato De Vecchi went down under a challenge from Niclas Vemmelund but the officials waved play on. But the game was settled on 88 minutes when Dalton’s delivery was diverted beyond the ‘keeper by the foot of 20-year-old McGrath.

Glenavon: James Taylor, Kyle Neil (Aaron Canning 43), Simon Kelly (Gary Hamilton HT), Andy Hall, Mark Patton, David Elebert, Guy Bates (Jordan Jenkins 67), Robert Norton (Jason Hill 76), James Gray (Luke Fisher HT), Renato de Vecchi (Jack Sharvin 76), James Singleton.

Dundalk: Gabriel Sava, Niclas Vemmelund, Seán Hoare, Paddy Barrett (Brian Gartland HT), Dane Massey (Seán Gannon HT), Conor Clifford, Robbie Benson (Stephen O’Donnell HT), Paddy McCourt (Keith Dalton 70), Patrick McEleney (Carlton Ubaezuonu HT), Jamie McGrath, Ciarán Kilduff (John Mountney HT). Goal: J McGrath (88). Unused Subs: Oisín Finn (GK), Ruadhri Higgins.

Referee: Jamie Robinson.