Dundalk 1-0 Galway United
Declan O’Brien’s first-half strike was enough to see ten-man Dundalk jump to sixth in the League of Ireland Premier Division table, for 24 hours at least, as the Lilywhites secured just their second home win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Galway United at Oriel Park on Friday night. O’Brien’s finish, from an inch-perfect Shaun Kelly pass, was against the run of play but settled a dull encounter as Galway had no answer and didn’t threaten Chris Bennion after the deadlock was broken.
Galway had the best chance of the opening exchanges with Shane Guthrie heading over from inside the six-yard box after a good delivery from a Jay O’Shea free-kick on 12 minutes. Galway dominated in the possession stakes, however, it was Dundalk who took the lead with their first shot on target just past the half-hour mark when Shaun Kelly played a delightful through-ball to O’Brien, who finished well past the lone Barry Ryan.
After the break, Dundalk, through O’Brien again, went close to doubling their lead. George O’Callaghan floated in a low corner which was flicked on by Daly to the striker at the back post, however, Iarfhlaith Davoren was on hand to block his close-range effort on the line. Tiarnán Mulvenna then blasted over from a good position inside the area as the hosts threatened an insurance goal, but plenty of forward movement couldn’t yield that, leaving Sean Connor’s men living on their nerves in the latter stages.
For the opening half hour of the second period, in contrast to the opening half, Dundalk controlled possession with Galway struggling to create anything in attack – a weak long-range effort from Davoren their only shot on target in the half. However, the visitors did press late on and held the ball for much of the last 15 minutes without threatening the Dundalk goal as the hosts retreated into their shell. Goal-hero O’Brien was then harshly sent off in injury time after being booked twice for kicking the ball away in the space of four minutes. That dismissal means the 28-year-old will now miss next week’s trip to face his former club Drogheda United, who recorded their first win of the year on with a 1-0 victory at Bray Wanderers.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Chris Bennion; Michael Coburn, Simon Kelly, Thomas Heary, Michael Synnott; Shaun Kelly, Michael Daly, George O’Callaghan, Tiarnán Mulvenna; Darren Mansaram (Ger Rowe 66), Declan O’Brien.
Goal: D O’Brien (31).
Booked: G O’Callaghan (4), G Rowe (70), D O’Brien (87, 91), T Mulvenna (94).
Sent off: D O’Brien (91).
Unused Subs: Ryan Coulter (GK), Michael McGinlay, Mark Griffin, John Smyth.
GALWAY UNITED FC (4-4-2): Barry Ryan; Seamus Conneely, Garry Breen, Shane Guthrie, Iarfhlaith Davoren; James O’Shea, David Cooke (Jason Molloy 59), John Russell, Derek O’Brien; Michael McGrath (Declan Edwards 59), Vinny Faherty.
Booked: D O’Brien (4), M McGrath (26), J O’Shea (86), G Breen (90).
Unused Subs: Mark O’Toole, Shane Fitzgerald, Cian McBrien.
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin).