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The goals keep coming for Dundalk as they swat Sligo aside

Stephen Kenny’s men severely dented the Bit O’Red’s title ambitions with a comfortable win.

Patrick Hoban of Dundalk celebrates scoring his side's third goal.
Patrick Hoban of Dundalk celebrates scoring his side's third goal.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dundalk 3-0 Sligo Rovers

WITH RECENT FOUR and seven goal thumpings of Cork City and Drogheda United at Oriel Park fresh in the mind, Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough will not have relished a visit to the league leaders. Add several injuries and experience in defence severely lacking and Dundalk were always favourites to win. What surprised many, however, is the ease with which they disposed of Sligo.

Against a potent and in-form attacking side in Dundalk, Baraclough’s side were blown away. Daryl Horgan’s first half goal set Stephen Kenny’s side on their way to a third league win on the trot and one that keeps them at the league’s summit for another week.

With Jeff Henderson occupying an unfamiliar right back role and the centre half pairing of Evan McMillan and Kalen Spillane playing together for only the second time, Ardee native Ross Gaynor was the only member of the back four occupying a common position even if his conversion to full back has only been a relatively recent one.

Dundalk sensed uncertainly and after seven goals in midweek, relished the opportunity to exploit Sligo weakness. Horgan and Sligo stopper Gary Rogers looked to be having a personal duel as twice the winger was denied by excellent saves.

That changed 23 minutes in, when the 21-year-old was allowed to drive at the Rovers’ defence and fire home from 20 yards out. While tonight’s visitors were expected to offer more resistance than Drogheda did in midweek, Dundalk could have scored several more in a first half they dominated.

Sligo made an attacking change at the break, replacing Danny Ledwith with Eric Odhiambo, but that substitution was given no time to impact on the game. Two minutes after the restart, Kurtis Byrne cut inside the penalty area and curled a shot past Rogers to double Dundalk’s lead.

The former Drogheda United was not experiencing much more luck than his old side did in midweek but he was able to pull off two expert saves to deny first Byrne and then Horgan. But he could do nothing for Dundalk’s third however. After somehow pushing Byrne’s effort onto the post, Pat Hoban was on hand to tap home his seventh of the campaign.

For Sligo, this is a first league defeat in nine and dents their hopes of entering the title race anytime soon. Dundalk have the momentum and surely the league’s very best team at this moment.

Dane Massey with Aaron Greene Dane Massey of Dundalk with Aaron Greene of Sligo. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Daryl Horgan (Ruaidhri Higgins, 69), Richie Towell, Darren Meenan, Kurtis Byrne (Mark Griffin, 88), Patrick Hoban (David McMillan, 80).

Substitutes: Gabriel Sava, Keith Ward, Ruaidhri Higgins, Mark Griffin, David McMillan, Mark Rossiter, Simon Kelly.

Sligo Rovers:  Gary Rogers, Danny Ledwith (Eric Odhiambo, 46), Evan McMillan (Seamus Conneely, 72), Jeff Henderson, Ross Gaynor, Kalen Spillane, John Russell, Aaron Greene (Sean Maguire, 83), Danny North, David Cawley, Paul O’Conor.

Substitutes: Richard Brush, Sean Maguire, Eric Odhiambo, Jordan Loftus, Regan Donelon, Seamus Conneely.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

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