It was a night of firsts at Dalymount Park on Friday night as Dundalk eased back into action after the mid-season break with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bohemians in a friendly.
Eighteen months – or 547 days to be precise – since he played his last game for Dundalk, John Mountney made his first appearance for the club since rejoining over the winter. After 10 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, it was great to see Mountney come through 45 minutes without any issues.
Mark Hanratty was the only one of 20 squad members used by Stephen O’Donnell to play the full 90 minutes – a first for the youngster – while local goalkeeper Mark Byrne came off the bench late on to make his first showing for the club
Ryan O’Kane was also handed an opportunity to get some valuable minutes under his belt and the 18-year-old grasped the opportunity with both hands, scoring his first goal for the club by picking up a Steven Bradley pass to angle a crisp left-footed drive past Tadgh Ryan in the 17th minute.
The game may not go down in the official record books but speaking to dundalkfc.com afterwards, O’Kane said it was an evening he wouldn’t forget.
“I’ve been waiting nearly a year to get my first goal,” he smiled. “I know it’s only a friendly but it’s always great to score. I’m delighted. We do loads of shooting practice in training, right foot, left foot so to score with my left, the weaker foot, is great.”
The former Bellurgan United schoolboy came off at half time but reappeared from the bench in the 62nd minute and could have added another to his tally with a couple of well-hit efforts.
“Even though it was friendly, I don’t think anyone treated it like that,” said O’Kane. “Everybody wanted to go out and impress. People not playing are trying to get a place in the starting XI.
📺 A quick recap of Friday night’s 3-0 win over Bohemians at Dalymount Park, including the thoughts of John Mountney and Ryan O’Kane. pic.twitter.com/W6PTPoWyu4
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“I just wanted to go out and play my normal game and I think I did that. I’ve learned an awful lot from Stephen and Padge this year about movement and things like that and I think I brought that this evening.
“Last year was hard,” he added. “We had four managers and we had so many different structures and so many different formations. For my first year I still learned a lot.
“Stephen and Padge coming in this year, though, has completely changed my game. I have a complete different outlook on how I play football. They’ve been brilliant.
“A lot of what I have been learning is position specific, a lot of wing play, movement and one v one stuff with Padge after training. I’ve been working on it a lot this year and it was great to see it pay off.”
Mountney had a part to play in Dundalk’s second goal after 35 minutes. His cross was cut out by the leg of James Finnerty but fell kindly for Steven Bradley who lashed the ball home.
The third came from the head of Bohs defender Rory Feely who turned a Joh Martin cross past his own goalkeeper with 55 minutes played.
BOHEMIANS: Tadhg Ryan, Rory Feely, Jordan Doherty, James Finnerty (Cian Byrne 68), James McManus, Conor Levingston, Jordan Flores, Ali Coote (Stephen Mallon HT), Jamie Mullins, Liam Burt, Promise Omochere (Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe HT). Subs not used: Ryan Burke, Enda Minogue.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie (Mark Byrne 77), John Mountney (Lewis Macari HT), Mayowa Animasahun (Mark Connolly HT), Andy Boyle (Darragh Leahy HT), Mark Hanratty, Paul Doyle (Sam Bone HT), Keith Ward (John Martin HT), Robbie Benson (Greg Sloggett HT), Steven Bradley (Daniel Kelly HT), David McMillan (Ryan O’Kane 62), Ryan O’Kane (Patrick Hoban HT).