Ryan O’Kane hit a contender for Goal of the Season as Dundalk made it back-to-back wins over the May Bank Holiday weekend with a 2-0 victory over UCD at Belfield.
Less than 72 hours after scoring the winner in the Louth Derby, John Martin popped up with another precious goal to give the Lilywhites a deserved lead.
And O’Kane, who provided the assist for Martin’s opener, shot Dundalk up to fourth place in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division table with a blockbuster in the fourth minute of added time that absolutely fizzed past Kian Moore in the UCD goal.
Stephen O’Donnell made three changes to the side that beat Drogheda United in dramatic fashion on Friday night.
Wasiri Williams – who was available again after suspension – Alfie Lewis and John Martin come in for Robbie Benson, Keith Ward and Patrick Hoban who were all named on the bench. Darragh Leahy captained a side that had an average age of just 22 and a half.
Backed by a large travelling support, Dundalk started on the front foot with Archie Davies and O’Kane both testing Moore early on, the latter seeing his vicious drive brilliantly tipped over the bar by UCD’s keeper. It was a taste of what was to follow later in the game.
Things went flat after that but the Dundalk supporters were celebrating in the 35th minute when O’Kane’s corner from the left evaded everyone and fell kindly for Martin who diverted it home with his thigh!
HT: UCD 0-1 Dundalk FC
Dundalk thought they had doubled their advantage just five minutes after the restart when Connor Malley rose to meet O’Kane’s free and thumped his header past Moore but it was ruled out for a raised flag against Davies.
Another couple of half chances followed with Martin’s header hacked away from danger before Williams got up well to meet the subsequent cross but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
UCD offered brief flashes of danger and Nathan Shepperd had to make two smart stops to deny Danu Kinsella Bishop and Daniel Norris before Hayden Muller made a brilliant block to deny Jake Doyle.
Dundalk needed a second just to make sure of the points and it arrived in spectacular fashion when O’Kane let fly with a vicious right-footed effort that flew past Moore via the underside of the bar.
The only black spot of an otherwise good afternoon came in the 69th minute when Robbie Benson limped off with a hamstring injury, less than three minutes after being introduced as a substitute.
FT: UCD 0-2 Dundalk FC
DUNDALK FC: Nathan Shepperd, Archie Davies, Wasiri Williams, Hayden Muller, Darragh Leahy, Connor Malley, Alfie Lewis, Ryan O’Kane, Rayhaan Tulloch (Paul Doyle 88), Johannes Yli-Kokko (Robbie Benson 65) (Keith Ward 69), John Martin (Patrick Hoban 65). Subs not used: Robbie McCourt, Eoin Kenny, Peter Cherrie (GK), Mark Byrne (GK).
UCD: Kian Moore, Jesse Dempsey, Jack Keaney, Adam Wells, Evan Osam, Dara Keane (Jake Doyle 74), Donal Higgins (Michael Gallagher 54), Ciaran Behan, Alex Nolan (Harry O’Connor 85), Daniel Norris (Divine Izekor 85), Danu Kinsella Bishop (Sami Clarke 54). Subs not used: Lorcan Healy (GK), Ryan Bowden, Daniel Babb, Luke O’Regan.
REFEREE: Sean Grant.