Malone Cup remains at Oriel as Flores and Kelly down the Drogs
Dundalk FC 2-0 Drogheda United | Jim Malone Cup
The Malone Cup will remain at Oriel Park for another year after goals from Jordan Flores and Georgie Kelly secured Dundalk their fifth consecutive win over Drogheda United in the annual pre-season encounter.
After a frustrating first half, Flores put the Lilywhites in front with a well-taken downward header just three minutes after the restart and Dundalk missed a number of chances to double their lead before Kelly made sure of the victory with a cool finish with 10 minutes to go.
With Shamrock Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley watching on from the stand, Vinny Perth used the game as another opportunity to experiment ahead of the President’s Cup tie with the Hoops on Sunday week by naming Daniel Cleary, Brian Gartland and Dane Massey in a three-man central defence.
Sean Gannon and Darragh Leahy provided the width and the latter featured heavily early on. His whipped ball in from the left was cushioned nicely into Greg Sloggett’s path by Gartland but the midfielder couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Leahy caught the eye with the quality of his deliveries in the 7-1 win over UCD two weeks ago and he had Ross Treacy scurrying across his line to deal with another vicious cross three minutes later. The former Dundalk ‘keeper collided with the frame of the goal with the impact bringing his night to a premature end.
He was replaced by another former Lilywhite netminder, David Odumosu and the youngster was called into action shortly after, gathering the ball safely after Sean Gannon’s drive was deflected by Derek Prendergast’s outstretched boot. Odumosu’s next save was more instinctive, pawing Patrick Hoban’s effort to safety after the striker diverted a Sean Murray free-kick towards the target in the 21st minute.
Tim Clancy’s side rarely troubled Aaron McCarey with Adam Wixted smacking the white wall in front of him with a poor free-kick from a decent position on the half-hour. At the other end, Dane Massey should have hit the target with a free header from a Murray corner in the 32nd minute and it felt like Groundhog Day seven minutes later when the same two combined with a carbon copy opening that yielded the same result.
Dundalk kept the pressure on and Odumosu made the save of the half just two minutes before the break when he kept Sloggett’s fierce close-range drive out to send the teams in level at the break.
The Dundalk manager made five changes at the interval and two of his substitutes combined for the opener in the 48th minute with Flores arriving on cue to meet Daniel Kelly’s cross with a powerful header that had too much pace for Odumosu.
Kelly turned on the afterburners to burst through on the inside left four minutes later but Odumosu was just as quick to make the save and Flores flashed a right-footed effort wide shortly after as Dundalk pushed for a second. Sean Gannon looked like he was going to get it when he thundered through a couple of claret and blue shirts on the right to let fly with a half volley but Odumosu made another excellent save.
Clancy made full use of his bench, introducing seven subs and the Boynesiders almost staged a late rally with Stephen Meaney testing replacement ‘keeper Gabriel Sava before Georgie Kelly sealed the win when he swept home a Daniel Kelly cutback.
DUNDALK FC: Aaron McCarey (Gabriel Sava HT); Brian Gartland (Sean Hoare HT), Daniel Cleary (Taner Dogan 83), Dane Massey; Sean Gannon, Chris Shields (Andrew Quinn 83), Sean Murray (Jordan Flores HT), Greg Sloggett (Lido Lotefa 74), Darragh Leahy (Daniel Kelly HT); Michael Duffy (Mark Hanratty 82); Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly HT).
DROGHEDA UNITED: Ross Treacy (David Odumosu 8); James Brown, Derek Prendergast (Jack Tuite 71), Hugh Douglas Conor Kane (Ronan O’Shea 71); Adam Wixted (Jordan Adeyemo 55), Jake Hyland, Mark Doyle (Sean Brennan 63), Brandon Bermingham (Stephen Meaney 55), Richie O’Farrell; Chris Lyons (James Clarke 74). Subs not used: Frank Cabraley, Luke Heaney, Jack McCarthy.
REFEREE: Paul McLaughlin.