Dundalk Make Setanta Progress
Dundalk progressed to the quarter-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup following a 1-1 draw against Linfield at Oriel Park on Monday night. Dundalk now prepare to play Glentoran in seven days’ time in the Oval.
Dundalk played with Greg Bolger and Dean Bennett playing in front of the Madden-Guthrie-Hawkins-Osborne defence, with Daniel Kearns, Ross Gaynor and Mark Quigley supporting Jason Byrne in attack. Dundalk were quickly on the front foot with a free-kick into the box retrieved by Gaynor. The Ardee man’s cross was met by Colin Hawkins but his effort was blocked at the expense of a corner.
Both teams continued at a break-neck speed in the early moments. Peter Cherrie denied Peter Thompson and easily gathered a William Murphy header. After eight minutes, Hawkins picked up a yellow card for pulling back Jamie Mulgrew. Murphy again won the header in the box and forced Cherrie into a good save at his near post.
By now, Linfield looked like they had a foothold in the match until an error presented Dundalk with the lead goal. A mis-directed pass put Byrne in the clear as he raced in from the touchline. Blayney came to meet him and forced him wide, with Byrne forced to attempt a cross for Kearns in the six-yard box. Murphy had two attempts at clearing the cross but could only succeed in clearing as far as Gaynor who blasted past Blayney to make it 1-0.
Linfield came back and Cherrie was forced into a great save to deny Thompson’s low effort. The match remained intense, but it was not until just past the half-hour mark that another chance was created as a 25-yard effort from Marcus Kane went wide.
Although Linfield looked lively, it was a surprise when the Blues snatched an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. A corner from the right was not cleared and after a scramble, Michael Gault hooked in from close range. There was barely time for Dundalk to kick off before the whistle was blown for the break.
Linfield started the second half in a positive manner and the Lilywhites were forced to work hard to keep them from threatening a second goal. Indeed, it was Dundalk who came closest to retaking the lead when Gaynor’s free-kick was gathered at the second attempt by Blayney, with Byrne ready to pounce. Linfield came within a whisker of going in front after Robert Garrett headed wide with the goal gaping on 68 minutes.
It was a golden opportunity and Dundalk were very relieved to see the ball drop wide of Cherrie’s post. The game became increasingly scrappy – understandably Dundalk sometimes looking like a team that are still in pre-season while Linfield looked like a side who had just played a tough league game 48 hours earlier.
Dundalk introduced Stephen Maher and Keith Ward in place of Gaynor and Greg Bolger, and the fresh legs appeared to add some more impetus into Dundalk’s play. Ward was played through by Bennett but Blayney advanced quickly to block the former UCD man’s shot. Linfield piled on the pressure in the final moments but Dundalk defended bravely.
In the end, a draw was a fair result of a mostly disappointing game. Dundalk now progress to the quarter-finals, where they face Glentoran next week.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Simon Madden ©, Shane Guthrie, Colin Hawkins, Eoghan Osborne, Dean Bennett, Greg Bolger (Keith Ward 81), Daniel Kearns, Mark Quigley, Ross Gaynor (Stephen Maher 61), Jason Byrne.
Goal: R Gaynor (11).
Unused Subs: Paul Murphy (GK), Michael Hector, Nathan Murphy, Stephen McDonnell, Johnny Breen.
LINFIELD FC: Alan Blayney, Jim Ervine, David Armstrong, William Murphy, Aidan O’Kane, Jamie Mulgrew, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett, Marcus Kane (Curtis Allen 76), Mark McAllister, Peter Thompson.
Goal: M Gault (45+1).
Unused Subs: Stuart Addis (GK), Billy Joe Burns, Aaron Burns, Nathan Hanley, Brian McCaul, Chris Casement.
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin).