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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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'If we look after ourselves, at the end of the season we think we could have silverware'

Dundalk captain Brian Gartland reflects on his side’s victory over Cork City at Turner’s Cross last night.

“I WAS EVEN getting less abuse,” quipped Dundalk captain Brian Gartland after a game that epitomised the contrasting current fortunes of two clubs who spent the previous five years jousting for supremacy in Irish football.

Just over a year ago at Turner’s Cross, Gearoid Morrissey scored the only goal of the corresponding fixture as Cork City returned to the top of the Premier Division table at Dundalk’s expense. The sold-out game was attended by 6,672 spectators.

Graham Cummins tussles with Brian Gartland off the ball Dundalk's Brian Gartland is challenged by Graham Cummins of Cork City. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In front of a 3,334 crowd at the same venue last night, Dundalk defied a missed penalty and a red card to record a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory that kept them at the summit, while simultaneously ensuring that City remain in eighth place.

After Dean Jarvis gave the visitors a ninth-minute lead, Pat Hoban squandered a chance to score from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark. The Lilywhites’ advantage was eventually doubled in the fifth minute of the second half by John Mountney, who was given his marching orders with 11 minutes remaining after being shown a second yellow card.

“After we missed the penalty, they [Cork City] were galvanised for a little spell and we needed to keep it together,” Gartland told The42. “It was more to do with our concentration, where people just switched off and our passing went a little astray. But once we got through that spell, we regrouped at half-time and we were on the ball after that.

“They were missing a few key players for the way they play — [Gearoid] Morrissey, [Garry] Buckley and some others — and they have a few young lads as well, so they’re probably missing a bit of experience. At times they put it up to us but we know we can be a lot better as well. To come down here and get three points with a clean sheet is great. You’ve got to be happy with that.”

Dundalk’s sixth consecutive win in meetings with Cork City extends their current unbeaten run to seven matches. But most importantly for the champions, it keeps them ahead of challengers Shamrock Rovers by virtue of their superior goal difference.

Dundalk play host to Bohemians on Monday night, while Rovers — who were 1-0 winners at UCD last night — will travel to play a Finn Harps side whose four-match unbeaten streak has lifted them off the foot of the table. 

John Mountney celebrates scoring John Mountney celebrates after scoring for Dundalk against Cork City. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We’re delighted, it’s been a good run for us. We’ve had great results,” said Gartland, a winner of four Premier Division medals since his move to Dundalk from Portadown in 2013.

“Once we do our own business, we can’t ask for any more. If we look after ourselves, at the end of the season we think we could have silverware. If not, you don’t deserve it. We’re back in the mix, we’re going well, but it’s still all in the balance and there’s a long way to go.”

As for Cork City, they suffered their first defeat since interim manager John Cotter took the reins following John Caulfield’s departure last month. Dwindling attendances are a product of an abject season that has delivered just five wins from 17 games for the 2017 double winners.

“Every club has its ups and downs so you’d like to see their fans stick by them to see them through a period like this,” Gartland said of the Leesiders. “It’s disappointing because it’s a great stadium, a great pitch and it’s a massive club.

“They’ve pushed us over the years for leagues and cups, and they won a few themselves. You need rivalries like that in the league because competitiveness like that draws interest. I hope their support picks up a bit again.”

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Paul Dollery

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