Reserves Report: Dundalk 1-0 Derry City / Bolger Reacts
Captain Johnny Breen capitalised on a back-pass five minutes from time as Dundalk snatched a 1-0 victory over Derry City in the A-Championship at Oriel Park on Saturday afternoon. Breen had been denied by a goal-line clearance in the first half, but the visitors came more into it after the break and had the ball in the net on 48 minutes when Robbie Hume finished sublimely from 15-yards, only for it to be ruled out for offside. And despite some Derry pressure, which saw Paul Murphy produce an unbelievable save ten minutes into the second half, Dundalk grabbed all three points late on when Breen finished at the second attempt after getting to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Rory Kelly.
Dundalk started with both Greg Bolger, who had been absent since playing against Saint Patrick’s Athletic on 25 March, and Dean Bennett, who had not played since the visit of Sligo on 15 April.
Greg played the first 45 minutes and you can listen to his reaction, given during the second half, below.
Dundalk had the best chance of the opening exchanges when Mark Griffin found himself in behind but the ball wouldn’t sit up for the young striker with Kelly gathering. Following pressure from the Candystripes, which failed to produce a shot on Murphy’s goal, Kelly needed two attempts to hold Stephen Hutchinson’s free-kick. Bennett then made a good run into the box but again the ‘keeper came out to collect. The Lilywhites were unlucky not to be ahead just past the quarter-hour mark when Griffin found Breen with a delightful pass, but his neat chip over the ‘keeper was cleared off the line.
Moments later, a corner was cleared only as far as Bennett who shot first-time, but his effort was well held by Kelly. Breen had another chance on the half-hour when he connected with Philip Duffy’s cross from the right but, under pressure, his shot went narrowly wide of the upright. Shortly after, Derry, who despite holding possession well at times failed to trouble Murphy, were on the attack through Hume down the right but his attempt from a tight angle went out for a throw-in at the far side as he tried to bend the ball into the far top corner. With former Dundalk player and caretaker manager Paul Curran in the stand and first-team boss Ian Foster in the home dugout, the two-goal hero from 16 hours earlier, Michael Hector, also joined the small crowd.
Dundalk continued to press but they couldn’t make their advantage count on the scoreboard before half-time. Shortly after the break, Derry had the ball in the net when Hume finished magnificently to the net from 15-yards but it was ruled out for offside, the wee forward not noticing until halfway through his celebration. At the other end, on 52 minutes, Duffy drove over from distance after good link-up play. The home side had Paul Murphy to thank for keeping them level on 55 minutes when he produced an incredible save to deny substitute Conor Loughrey who had connected powerfully with Matt Harkin’s corner from the left. On 64 minutes, Griffin and substitute Martin Murphy linked up on the edge of the box but the latter’s scuffed effort was wide of the target.
Derry pressure then ended with Barry McNamee shooting wildly off target before Martin Murphy and Hutchinson combined on the left but Breen’s return pass to the latter was too strong as a promising attack came to an end. On 74 minutes, Griffin found Murphy in space in the box but he was quickly dispossessed as Dundalk searched for a lead goal. Derry went within inches of scoring with just over ten minutes remaining as Hume was left with just Murphy to beat but a powerful first-time shot flashed past the post. Hutchinson’s cross from the left then found the head of Breen but he headed wide, before Hume again caused problems with a goalmouth scramble ending with Murphy gathering. And from that, Dundalk went down the pitch and scored, Breen getting there ahead of Kelly to fire into the net at the second attempt after the initial toe-poke had come off the post.
DUNDALK FC: Paul Murphy; Brian Begley, Conor Gorman, Keith Finnegan, Stephen Hutchinson; Philip Duffy, Greg Bolger (Anto Hewitt HT), Dean Bennett (Martin Murphy HT), Chris Kerr; Johnny Breen ©, Mark Griffin.
Goal: J Breen (85).
Unused Subs: Alex Reilly (GK), Gary Shevlin.
DERRY CITY FC: Rory Kelly, Jack Heaney, Barry McNamee, Thomas McMonagle ©, Gareth Breslin (Conor Loughrey 42), James Henry, Seanan McColgan, Matt Harkin, Robbie Hume, Ryan Curran, Tony McNamee.
Unused Subs: Brian McClean.