Daniel Kelly’s 84th-minute strike secured 10-man Dundalk a well-deserved share of the spoils against St Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park on Monday night.
Trailing to Conor Carty’s opener, the Lilywhites were left with an uphill struggle when Rayhaan Tulloch was sent off before the hour mark but they showed great spirit and Kelly’s goal, his fourth in as many games against Pat’s, sent the Oriel Park faithful home happy.
The result moves Dundalk into fourth place, a point ahead of Bohemians, and leaves them three behind Pat’s and second-placed Derry City who both have 39 points. Shamrock Rovers, who lead the way with 46 points, are next up at Oriel Park on Friday night.
After a forgettable opening half an hour, Dundalk conceded the opening goal for the 16th time this season. It was the result of a good Pat’s move on the right which saw Jake Mulraney and Adam Murphy combine and the latter’s clever centre across the face of goal was turned home by Conor Carty from close range.
Dundalk should have drawn level in the 43rd minute but Dean Lyness made a great save to keep Connor Malley’s header out after he was picked out brilliantly by Archie Davies from the right-hand side.
O’Donnell’s men were left with it all to do when Rayhaan Tulloch was dismissed for two yellow cards in just three minutes, the second for a thug on Mark Doyle’s shirt in front of the away dugout in the 55th minute.
Nathan Shepperd kept the Lilywhites in it with a big save from Carty on the hour mark and willed on by the crowd, Dundalk built up a head of steam with substitute Darragh Leahy and Archie Davies both going close.
With time ticking away, the vital moment arrived in the 84th minute when Kelly pounced on a mix-up between Lyness and Noah Lewis to race in and prod the ball home from 18 yards.
Shepperd made another fine save to deny Tommy Lonnegan in stoppage time and Kelly had a chance to win it at the other end but he couldn’t turn Greg Sloggett’s cross home from close range and the points were shared.
DUNDALK FC: Nathan Shepperd; Archie Davies, Andy Boyle, Louie Annesley (Hayden Muller 59), Robbie McCourt (Darragh Leahy 68); Greg Sloggett, Connor Malley, Paul Doyle (Cameron Elliott HT) (John Martin 89); Ryan O’Kane (Daniel Kelly 59), Patrick Hoban, Rayhann Tulloch. Subs not used: Johannes Yli-Kokko, Eoin Kenny, Mark Byrne (GK), Peter Cherrie (GK).
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Dean Lyness; Harry Brockbank (Jay McGrath 45), Noah Lewis, Sam Curtis, Anto Breslin; Jamie Lennon, Chris Forrester; Jake Mulraney (Thomas Lonergan 73), Adam Murphy (Thijs Timmermans 85), Mark Doyle (Jason McClelland 73); Conor Carty (Eoin Doyle 85). Subs not used: Ben McCormack, Darius Lipsiuc, Mason Melia, David Odumosu (GK).
REFEREE: Damien MacGraith. ATTENDANCE: 2,371.