Superb Kelly Hat-trick Seals All Three
Dundalk recorded their second win on the bounce with a 3-0 win over Finn Harps at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Daniel Kelly was the standout player on the night and he went home with the match ball as he netted a brilliant hat-trick.
Dundalk almost took the lead in the opening five minutes when Jamie McGrath was fouled 20 yards from goal and up stepped Dane Massey however he curled it just over the bar.
Dundalk lost their captain when Daniel O’Reilly clashed with Brian Gartland and it resulted in an early change seeing Daniel Cleary coming into the centre of defence.
After the disruption of rhythm, Cleary and his centre-half partner Sean Hoare had two quickfire headed chances however they both headed over the bar.
Patrick McEleney tried his luck from a free-kick but it struck the wall while at the other end, Nathan Boyle had an effort excellently blocked by Sean Gannon.
Gary Rogers then denied O’Reilly from a long throw with a brilliant save at full stretch to keep things level.
Mikeyt Place then had an effort go inches wide of the post in what was Harps best spell of the opening half.
Hoare had another header go just wide and McEleney showed superb trickery to get through but his show was blocked at the last moment.
The Lilywhites deservedly took the lead just before half-time.
In the nine minutes added on, Michael Duffy showed some superb trickery on the left and pulled back for Daniel Kelly to finish to the net.
It was 2-0 just after half-time when Kelly again found space and showed superb skill to take the ball on the rise 15 yards out and power it to the top corner.
Duffy then had a drive go just wide from 20 yards with the goalkeeper stranded before Rogers saved well from Caolan McAleer at the other end to maintain the 2 goal advantage.
Jamie McGrath and Duffy had shots go wide in quick succession from 25 yards but Patrick Hoban got even closer when he got on the end of a wonderful dinked cross from Duffy but he could only guide it into the side netting.
It all opened up for Sean Gannon but he fired high and wide from 30 yards before McEleney had the same result from similar distance.
Duffy then teed up Hoban who left for substitute Joe McKee but he fired wide of the target from the edge of the area.
Kelly would grab his hat-trick as the game entered its final stages and it can only be described as a stunning goal.
Hoban took the ball on the chest and turned brilliantly. He played the ball from the centre circle out wide to Gannon who raided forward and pulled the ball back for the waiting Kelly and he calmly slotted the ball to the bottom left corner.
It was almost a fourth for Kelly as he found himself in the centre of goal but he stumbled as the ball came to him from Hoban and the chance went.
That proved to be the final action as the champions were comfortable winners and move on to UCD on Monday.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (capt) (Daniel Cleary 13), Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Joe McKee 71); Daniel Kelly, Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (John Mountney 80); Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Jordan Flores, Georgie Kelly, Dean Jarvis.
Booked: Shields (61)
Sent off: None.
FINN HARPS: Ciaran Gallagher (Peter Burke 27); John Kavanagh, Keith Cowan (capt), Sam Todd, Daniel O’Reilly; Mark Coyle (Michael Gallagher 74), Tony McNamee, Mikey Place, Nathan Boyle, Caolan McAleer; Raff Cretaro (Sean Boyd 56)
Substitutes not used: Mark Russell, Liam Walsh, Stephen Doherty, Niall Logue.
Booked: O’Reilly (7), Todd (17), Coyle (45), Cretaro (53), McAleer (71)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Rob Harvey