Second Half Comeback Seals Win
Dundalk got their first win of the season on Monday evening when they were 2-1 winners against UCD at Oriel Park.
Neil Farrugia put the visitors in front in the first half however goals in the second half from Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy secured a come from behind three points for the Lilywhites!
Dundalk were on the front foot from the off and Patrick Hoban broke through after a press from Sean Murray but his left footed shot was saved by the on rushing Kearns.
Dan Kelly was next to have a go however his shot was scuffed from the edge of the area after Michael Duffy laid it off to him and it was straight at the goalkeeper.
James McClelland broke the Dundalk dominance when he raced through on goal however his shot was blocked by Gary Rogers.
Dundalk continued to dominate and Dane Massey’s header was just wide of the target before Murray had his first effort of the night from just outside the area but it was deflected and easily gathered by the goalkeeper.
The Students took the lead against the run of play just before the half hour mark.Neil Farrugia broke free on the left and fired past Rogers in goal.
The Lilywhites battled back and almost equalised immediately when Kelly did well on the right and cut inside however his left footed shot was rising and went just over the bar.
Murray then took the initiative and shot from 30 yards however it was inches over the bar with the strike.
Farrugia had a chance to get his second when he was in behind the defence but he couldn’t finish.
The break came with the champions behind for the third game in succession.
After the re-start, Dundalk upped the tempo and within a minute when Shields and then Kelly had quick fire shots both blocked on the edge of the area.
Hoban then tried an overhead which went up in the air and into the arms of the goalkeeper but the luck would change moments after when Daniel Cleary pinged a superb crossfield ball to Sean Gannon. He got in behind and his cross came back off the arm of Mark Dignam and referee Tomas Connolly had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Hoban stepped up and sent Kearns the wrong way for his first game of the season and to level things up.
Murray looked like he had given the Lilywhites the lead with the next attack when his scintillating drive on the volley was destined for the bottom right hand corner however it was somehow palmed away by the goalkeeper.
It was 2-1 though on the hour mark. Shields played an outstanding ball to Duffy which he controlled excellently. He took it inside and fired low to the bottom right hand corner, with the help of the goalkeeper, for a trademark Duffy finish.
The game had a lull then with very little happening but Dundalk really ought to put the game to bed with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
The returning Jamie McGrath played a sublime reverse chip ball which went to Duffy. He got in behind and his cross and found Hoban who struck the crossbar from 6 yards.
Duffy then fired from distance when it opened up for him but it went harmlessly over the bar.
There were further chances in the closing stages to finish things off and it was only a miraculous save from Kearns which kept out Hoban’s header from point blank range after Duffy’s expert cross found him.
Massey had a header go straight into the goalkeeper’s arms while McGrath was also on the end of a Duffy pull back but his curling shot was just wide of the right hand post.
DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Jordan Flores (Jamie McGrath 37); Daniel Kelly (Cameron Dummigan 89), Sean Murray (John Mountney 61), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (capt)
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Brian Gartland, Georgie Kelly, Joe McKee.
Booked: Shields (26), Hoban (65)
Sent off: None.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Dan Tobin, Mark Dignam, Liam Scales, Josh Collins, Neil Farrugia, Paul Doyle, Gary O’Neill (capt), Jason McClelland (Sean McDonald 89), Timmy Molloy (Richie O’Farrell 83); Conor Davis (Yoyo Mahdy 73).
Substitutes not used: Gavin Sheridan (GK), Evan Farrell, Darragh Corcoran, Conor Crowley.
Booked: Scales (52), Tobin (78)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Tomas Connolly.