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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

Hat-trick hero McGrath gets Dundalk back to winning ways

The reigning champions picked up a 4-0 victory over Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.

Dundalk goalscorer Jamie McGrath (file photo).
Dundalk goalscorer Jamie McGrath (file photo).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Dundalk 4
Sligo Rovers 0

Caoimhin Reilly reports from Oriel Park

BY THEIR OWN high standards, performances in recent weeks have fallen below what Stephen Kenny expects from his Dundalk side.

And, while the first half of tonight’s Premier Division clash with Sligo Rovers was of a similarly disappointing ilk, their showing after the break was back to its intense and energetic best.

Jamie McGrath’s hat-trick — his first goals for the club — and a Niclas Vemmelund header ultimately proved the difference, but on the balance of play the Lilywhites were by far the superior of the sides.

Chris Shields was one of three changes made by Stephen Kenny to the team defeated by Shamrock Rovers last time out and it was rangy midfielder who gave Dundalk much of their attacking platform, turning possession over countless times throughout.

But, while they were dominant, the Lilywhites created little with David McMillan’s snapshot on 18 minutes the only accurate effort on either target during the opening half.

That said, the hosts felt aggrieved when a penalty wasn’t awarded after Michael Duffy’s cross appeared to clip the left arm of Sligo full-back Regan Donelon in the lead up to the break.

However, Kenny must have got into his players at the break as they emerged a different outfit on the resumption of play with Patrick McEleney and McGrath a lot livelier in attack.

McGrath had an effort cleared off the line by Micheál Schlingermann moments before the Dundalk winger put his side ahead — drilling a McEleney pass through the Sligo keeper’s legs to raise the roof off Oriel Park.

And the Athboy native sealed the win for the Lilywhites on 72 minutes when his wicked drive along the surface ran underneath Schlingermann’s laboured dive and into the net.

The champions would make it three as Vemmelund got his second 90th minute goal in seven days before McGrath won and converted a penalty to round off both his night –with a hat-trick — and Dundalk’s in general.

DUNDALK: Rogers, Vemmelund, Barrett, Hoare, Massey (c), Shields, Benson (Stewart 88), Duffy, McEleney (O’Donnell 84), McGrath, McMillan (Kilduff 79).

SLIGO ROVERS: Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Callan-McFadden, Leahy, Donelon, Russell (c) (Stevens 78), Boylan, Martin (Place 85), Cretaro, Sadlier, Ayunga (Roddan 59)

Referee: Graham Kelly

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About the author:

Caoimhín Reilly

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