A brilliant display against Sligo Rovers secured Dundalk their first SSE Airtricity League since mid-July at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Sean Murray’s first-half brace was added to by a second-half double by Patrick Hoban to give the Lilywhites all three points in an entertaining clash. Johnny Kenny had levelled things up shortly after Murray’s opener however Dundalk showed character and determination to retake and maintain the lead.
After going the distance with Finn Harps just 72 hours earlier, Vinny Perth reshuffled his pack with Daniel Cleary and Han Jeongwoo coming in for Mayowa Animasahun and Michael Duffy, who were both named on the bench. Sonni Nattestad was also listed amongst the substitutes.
Dundalk had the better of the opening exchanges however there was little by the way of chances in that time but the Lilywhites took the lead just after the tenth minute.
Sami Ben Amar got wide on the right and his deflected cross was met by the incoming Sean Murray who found the net.
The lead wouldn’t last too long though as with the next wave of attack when Niall Morahan’s clever ball in behind found Johnny Kenny and after an impressive touch to give himself space, the striker fired to the net past Cherrie.
Dundalk would be in front once more before the 20-minute mark though as Ben Amar was involved in the build-up with a clever cross to Patrick Hoban at the back post. His shot was blocked into the path of Murray who showed excellent composure to slot to the net.
Things calmed down somewhat but it was still Dundalk with the majority of the ball and the chances.
Murray fired wide when in a good position at the back post with his midfield partner Greg Sloggett heading narrowly over from a free-kick.
There was little to no action after that with both sides having periods of possession and Perth’s men went in 2-1 up at the break.
It was a scrappy opening to the second half with neither side really in control of things although Dundalk should have doubled their lead around the hour mark.
Some clever play between Hoban and substitute Michael Duffy saw the latter through on goal but his shot was straight at McGinty from close range.
They would get the third goal though when Duffy did make amends for that miss when his drilled cross from the left was prodded home from close range by Hoban. It was announced as an own goal against John Mahon but the referee awarded it to the Dundalk striker.
Sligo had a couple of late efforts with Parkes heading over the bar and Mark Byrne firing goalwards but his strike was saved by Cherrie.
It was almost 4-1 in injury-time when Hoban snatched at a chance from distance but Greg Sloggett came closer when his drive from the edge of the area was inches over McGinty’s crossbar.
Hoban did get the second goal his performance deserved, however, when he superbly drove the ball past McGinty in the dying seconds after another pass by Duffy.
That proved to be it and Dundalk took the victory in a deserved manner with Bohemians up next on Monday evening.
DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie; Raivis Jurkovskis (Sonni Nattestad 88), Daniel Cleary, Darragh Leahy, Cameron Dummigan; Greg Sloggett, Sean Murray; Sami Ben Amar (Mayowa Animasahun 71), Will Patching (Mark Hanratty 88), Han Jeongwoo (Michael Duffy 54); Patrick Hoban. Subs not used: Cameron Yates (GK), Ebuka Kwelele, Jack Kavanagh, Enda Douglas, Jeff Nwodo.
SLIGO ROVERS: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Regan Donelon; Adam McDonnell, Niall Morahan; Walter Figueira (Romeo Parkes 74), Ryan de Vries (Melvyn Lorenzen 46), Johnny Kenny (Seamas Keogh 84); Andre Wright (Mark Byrne 74). Subs not used: Richard Brush (GK), John Russell, Darren Collins, Scott Lynch, Danny Kane.
REFEREE: Rob Harvey.