Dundalk made it three wins on the bounce as they emerged 1-0 winners against Finn Harps on Monday evening with a hard fought victory at Finn Park.
Daniel Kelly’s second half strike was enough to give Stephen O’Donnell’s men the victory and their second successive on the road.
Dundalk made three changes from the side which defeated Derry City 3-1 on Friday night with John Martin, Keith Ward and Andy Boyle coming in for Steven Bradley, Robbie Benson and Mark Connolly.
It was Dundalk who almost hit the front early with Ward’s snapshot being straight at Mark McGinley and Daniel Kelly’s clever cross but Martin couldn’t convert.
Finn Harps grew into the game and were unfortunate not to take the lead when Jesse Devers miskicked from six yards and from a corner Ethan Boyle couldn’t keep his header on target.
Hoban almost made it 1-0 to the Lilywhites when his long range shot had McGinley scrambling but Harps should have taken the lead moments after when Eric McWoods got in behind but his cross was just missed by Yoyo Mahdy who would have had an open goal.
Dundalk really should have taken the lead on the half hour mark when Hoban broke through and had a shot blocked. It fell to Kelly but with the goalkeeper on his knees, he clipped the ball over both him and just over the crossbar.
Both sides had chances as the match approached the break with Harps finding space on the right with McWoods and his pull back found Mahdy but his finish was poor at the near post.
Kelly had another chance to give the Lilywhites the lead t he however when one on one with the goalkeeper he fired straight at him.
Half-time: Finn Harps 0-0 Dundalk FC
Dundalk were on the front foot right after the break when Keith Ward had a free-kick which was blocked by the wall.
That would only be a brief respite though as they would take the lead when Lewis Macari did brilliantly on the right but his cross turn shot was sailing out of play.
That was until Ward expertly kept it in play, acrobatically, and it fell to Kelly. He rifled his shot goalwards and despite the best efforts of Regan Donelon and McGinley the ball found the net.
Greg Sloggett had a shot blocked before Nathan Shepperd produced a stunning save to deny Connolly from 20 yards as he pushed his rasping drive over the bar.
There was some late chances on either side with McWoods having the best for Harps and Ward for Dundalk but from similar positions, both failed to hit the target.
The visitors managed to see the match out and claim a well deserved victory in Ballybofey.
Full-time: Finn Harps 0-1 Dundalk FC
FINN HARPS: Mark McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Rob Slevin, Conor Tourish, Regan Donelon; Jesse Devers (Luke Rudden 65), Ryan Rainey, Eric McWoods, Ryan Connolly, Mark Timlin (Filip Mihaljevic 61); Yoyo Mahdy. Subs not used: Ger Doherty, Gavin Mulreany, Jose Carrillo, Dylan Woods Erol Alkan, Nathan Logue, Shaun McDermott.
DUNDALK FC: Nathan Shepperd; Lewis Macari, Andy Boyle, Sam Bone, Darragh Leahy; Greg Sloggett, Paul Doyle (Robbie Benson 64); John Martin (Steven Bradley 73), Keith Ward, Daniel Kelly Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Mark Connolly, Mayowa Animasahun, Mark Hanratty, Ryan O’Kane.
REFEREE: Rob Hennessey