WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!
Dundalk made history on Sunday night as they secured their third straight league title with a 2-1 win over Bohemians at Oriel Park!
The Lilywhites ensured that they won their 12th crown thanks to goals from centre-back duo Andy Boyle and Brian Gartland either side of half-time. Mark Quigley’s penalty threatened to spoil the night on half an hour however the champions held out for the win.
Dundalk were on the front foot during the opening period and although Bohemians dealt with the pressure well David McMillan breached the backline when he headed Daryl Horgan’s cross goalwards however it was straight at Shane Supple.
The outstanding Ronan Finn muscled his way through the Bohemians defence next and his shot was blocked by Lorcan Fitzgerald for a corner on the quarter hour mark.
That same corner provided the first goal. Patrick McEleney’s kick from the left was through the six yard area and it couldn’t be dealt with by either Supple or Bohs defence. It left Boyle free who poked the ball to the bottom left corner.
That appeared to settle the hosts however Bohemians got more of a foothold in the game when Dean O’Halloran fed it to Kurtis Byrne after winning the ball from Shields however the former Lilywhite’s effort went well over the bar.
It was 1-1 on 29 minutes though when Neil Doyle somehow adjudged that Finn had brought down Keith Buckley despite there being little or no contact. Former Dundalk striker Quigley stepped up and sent Rogers the wrong way to level things up.
That subdued the atmosphere at Oriel however Finn had a superb opportunity to restore the advantage when he was played in by McMillan but the former’s shot was over the advancing Supple and over the bar.
McEleney then flashed an attempted cross which turned into a shot across goal but Supple managed to deal with the danger.
It was after the interval that chances began to really flow and O’Halloran had a superb chance to turn things around for Bohs when he flicked wide of the post after Buckley’s cross.
Dundalk then had an opportunity to put themselves in front once again when Horgan’s cross was onto the bar and it rebounded into the path of substitute Robbie Benson. He composed himself and tried and overhead kick however he skewed it wide.
The decisive goal came on the hour mark when Finn’s free-kick on the halfway line was onto the head of Massey on the edge of the box. He powered the ball across goal to the waiting Gartland and he reshaped his body superbly on the six yard line to knock the ball to the net and send Oriel wild.
Boyle had a chance to grab his second after Supple failed to assert himself under pressure from McMillan however the centre-half couldn’t convert.
The last 25 minutes were played at a pedestrian pace and neither side threatened the goal as Dundalk saw the game out to complete the three-in-a-row tilt at Oriel!
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; John Mountney (Robbie Benson 55), Chris Shields, Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan; Patrick McEleney (Darren Meenan 71), David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 81).
Substitutes not used: Paddy Barrett, Shane Grimes, Dean Shiels, Gabriel Sava (GK)
Sent off: None.
BOHEMIANS: Shane Supple; Lorcan Fitzgerald, Dan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Derek Pender; Patrick Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Mark Quigley (Dean Casey 83), Keith Buckley; Dean O’Halloran (Eoin Wearen 72), Kurtis Byrne.
Substitutes not used: Dylan Hayes, Warren O’Hara, Jake Kelly, Ishmahil Akinade, Dean Delany (GK)
Booked:O’Halloran (38), Kavanagh (42), Prendergast (59), Lopes (63),Pender (82)
Sent off: None
Referee: Neil Doyle.