Lilywhites Win Superb Battle
Dundalk made it four wins in a row on Friday evening as they defeated Shamrock Rovers in an enthralling battle at Oriel Park.
Goals in either half from record breaking Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy were enough to secure the points. Orhan Vojic pulled one back late on for Rovers but it wasn’t enough as the Lilywhites took all three points.
It was a tight opening with both sides feeling each other out in the opening stages.
It wasn’t until the 14th minute that there was a shot on goal however Michael Duffy’s effort was charged down on the edge of the area.
Daniel Cleary had an acrobatic effort go wide of the target after a corner while at the other end, Jack Byrne found space but his shot was straight at Gary Rogers from 20 yards.
Aaron McEneff was next but Cleary did excellently to charge the ball down but it should have been 1-0 just before the half hour mark.
Michael Duffy got through on goal when he latched on to Patrick Hoban’s expert flick through but his effort was smothered by Alan Mannus.
Sean Gannon was finding great success on the right hand side and he got in behind before squaring for Hoban but his initial shot was blocked back to him before his follow up effort went over the bar.
Gannon got in again behind the full-back however his drive across goal went just wide with Hoban waiting in the middle.
Jamie McGrath threatened from distance but Roberto Lopes could only divert over his own bar for a corner which led to the opening goal.
Duffy took the kick and he found the diving head of Hoban who knocked the ball to the net past the out stretched arm of Mannus and in doing so, became the all-time league goalscorer for the club with 70.
Daniel Kelly had a stinging drive go just over the bar just as the referee blew the half-time whistle.
Dundalk continued in the same form as they ended the first when Duffy’s corner fell to Sean Hoare but he couldn’t guide it goalwards.
Lopes got his head on Byrne’s free-kick but it went over the bar before Patrick McEleney tried his luck from 30 yards but it went well over the bar.
His midfield partner Chris Shields tried to cap off a good week for himself with a volley from similar distance however it went high and wide.
It was 2-0 just past the hour mark though.
Gannon got in behind brilliantly once more and he was fed by Kelly and he crossed for the waiting Duffy who got his feet together, kept his composure and found the bottom left corner to double the advantage.
It was almost 3-0 moments later when that combination again hit but Mannus this time was equal to Duffy’s effort tipping it around the post.
Byrne had an effort dragged wide on the right of the area before he had a free-kick blocked down by the wall and his follow up parried by Rogers.
Orhan Vojic finished up the follow in shot but he was flagged for offside.
They would get their goal in the 82nd minute when Vojic got in behind the Dundalk defence and slid the ball under Rogers to make it 2-1.
That proved to be the final action of note and the expected Rovers onslaught never came and with Sean Hoare outstanding, referee Neil Doyle blew the full-time whistle after 4 additional minutes to seal a deserved win for the champions.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Dean Jarvis 90); Daniel Kelly (John Mountney 72), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (capt) (Georgie Kelly 78).
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Brian Gartland, Jordan Flores, Joe McKee.
Sent off: None.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Ronan Finn (capt), Roberto Lopes, Joey O’Brien, James Furlong; Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts, Jack Byrne; Joel Coustrain (Brandon Kavanagh 64), Dan Carr (Orhan Vojic 67); Aaron Greene.
Substitutes not used: Leon Pohls (GK), Alex Dunne, Dean Dillon, Thomas Olowa, Darragh Nugent.
Booked: Finn (41)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle