Superb Lilywhites Defeat UCD
Dundalk made it four straight wins in the league with a comfortable 5-0 win over UCD on Friday evening.
A brace of headers from Daniel Cleary was added to by Sean Hoare, Georgie Kelly and Michael Duffy as the champions maintained their four-point lead over Shamrock Rovers – with two games in hand – at the top of the SSE Airtricity Division table.
Dundalk were in control early on and almost took the lead when Chris Shields had a shot charged down from the edge of the area.
Patrick McEleney was next when his half-volley forced Liam Scales to deflect wide.
Soon after, Cameron Dummigan’s effort was somehow kept out by Conor Kearns after Georgie Kelly caused panic from Sean Murray’s cross on the left.
Dundalk would take the lead though from a corner just before the quarter hour mark when Murray’s outstanding corner was met by the powerful forehead of Daniel Cleary. He thumped the ball to the net to give Kearns no chance.
Murray looked like he had given the Lilywhites a 2-0 advantage, but his stinging shot was palmed away by Kearns.
From that corner, Murray would turn provider once more as he delivered to the six yard area and this time he found Cleary’s centre-half partner Sean Hoare. His excellent header was to the same bottom right corner and again left the goalkeeper stranded.
Jason McClelland responded for the hosts with a drive from 20 yards but it whistled past Gary Rogers’ left hand post.
Cameron Dummigan was always a threat on the right hand side and he almost created the third when Georgie Kelly got on the end of his cross however he couldn’t direct it goalwards.
McEleney then found Georgie inside the box with a reverse ball which caught out the UCD defence however Keaney recovered to block the shot.
It was a quiet second half for the most part, with Liam Kerrigan with the first effort of note but it didn’t trouble Rogers.
Daniel Kelly had a glancing header from Murray’s cross go into the arms of Kearns which was the best of the action in the first 20 minutes of the half.
Dundalk made the points safe in the 70th minute when substitute Michael Duffy drove forward and evaded two tackles before firing brilliantly to the net.
Patrick Hoban came off the bench and nearly made an immediate impact but his header from Duffy’s cross was just over.
It was a whirlwind finish with two goals as the game approached the end. As the clock ticked into the 90th minute, Cleary got forward on the right and his cross found the head of Georgie who finished excellently to the net.
Dundalk extended their lead to five in the second minute of injury time when Cleary again headed home at the near post from Duffy’s corner.
That was how it finished and, with their second win over UCD in four days, Vinny Perth’s men move on to Sligo Rovers on Monday evening.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Luke Boore, Evan Farrell, Liam Scales (capt), Liam Kerrigan; Jack Keaney, Dara Keane (Richie O’Farrell 81), Harry McEevoy, Jason McClelland; Yoyo Mahdy (Ciaran Beehan 76) , Sam Byrne.
Substitutes not used: Gavin Sheridan (GK), Aaron McGrath, Isaac Akinsete, Dan Mullen, James Daly.
Booked: Keaney (40)
Sent off: None
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey (capt); Chris Shields, Sean Murray (Michael Duffy 67); Daniel Kelly (Patrick Hoban 77), Jamie McGrath (Robbie Benson 30), Patrick McEleney; Georgie Kelly.
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Dean Jarvis.
Sent off: None
Referee: Ray Matthews