Updated at 22.27
Dundalk 3-0 Derry City
THREE SECOND-HALF goals helped Dundalk go level on points with Cork City and Shamrock Rovers at the top of the SSE Airtricity League after beating Derry City 3-0 at Oriel Park.
Brian Gartland’s 63rd minute header, his second in three games, set Dundalk on their way before Richie Towell’s emphatic finish on the break and David McMillan’s strike ensured they remain among the pacesetters at the top of the division.
Roddy Collins bemoaned the state of the Oriel surface before this one, calling it “the worst in the world”, but it hardly mattered much as his side kept it in the air for the majority. With Rory Patterson on the bench, their attack lacked bite and they offered absolutely no suggestion that Derry could mix it at the top end of the table.
An injury to Candystripes centre back Ryan McBride overshadowed a first half where quality appeared only in glimpses, almost exclusively from the home side. Dundalk were the better team for the most part but when McBride clashed with Patrick Hoban, a 12th minute stoppage ensued, breaking any rhythm Stephen Kenny’s men had worked.
The 24-year-old swallowed his tongue after clashing heads with the Dundalk striker and after his lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch, McBride was carried off and taken by ambulance to hospital.
In two spells in charge at the Brandywell, Kenny led Derry to two runners-up finishes in the league and six cup victories. Friday night’s deconstruction of St Pats in Inchicore was a demonstration of his side’s intent to bring a similar haul to Louth.
But whereas spectacular goals were in plentiful supply last time around, Dundalk couldn’t apply the finishing touches for long periods. They had the ball in the net ten minutes into the second period.
Referee Tomas Connolly waved play on after Towell was upended and Stephen O’Donnell’s cross was turned in by Byrne but midfield runner O’Donnell was flagged for offside.
Eventually, the opener arrived. Shortly after the hour, Gartland met Byrne’s corner to nod home. On 74 minutes, the home side broke after a Derry free-kick came to nothing. Four on two, Byrne found Towell who struck unerringly past Ger Doherty.
In the last minute of normal time, David McMillan blasted the ball past Doherty from a tight angle to finish Derry off. The game had long been won.
DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Chris Shields, Stephen O’Donnell [C], Daryl Horgan, Patrick Hoban (David McMillan, 51), Kurtis Byrne (Darren Meenan, 75), Dane Massey, Richie Towell.
Substitutes: Ruaidhri Higgins, Mark Griffin, David McMillan, Simon Kelly, Mark Rossiter, Darren Meenan, Gabriel Sava.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty, Roddy Collins, Barry Molloy, Ryan McBride (Dean Jarvis, 43), Danny Ventre, Enda Curran, John Paul McGovern, Mark Stewart (Ryan Curran, 63) Mark Timlin (Michael Duffy, 46), Cliff Byrne [C], Aaron Barry.
Substitutes: Dean Jarvis, Shane McEleney, Patrick McEleney, Rory Paterson, Michael Duffy, Ryan Curran, Ciaran Gallagher.
REFEREE: Tomas Connolly