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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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Dundalk's sexy football too much for prudish Students

Stephen Kenny’s side have now scored 19 goals in their last four outings at Oriel Park.

Dundalk's Andy Boyle congratulates goalscorer Brian Gartland.
Dundalk's Andy Boyle congratulates goalscorer Brian Gartland.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk 5-2 UCD

BEFORE EVERY MATCH at Oriel Park these days, and often during them, the announcer likes to refer to Dundalk’s ground as ‘the home of sexy football’.

The way Stephen Kenny’s side have been playing of late, with 19 goals in their last four home league outings, you can hardly argue with that description. Whatever floats your boat.

Despite falling behind to a brilliant Chris Mulhall free kick inside three minutes, Dundalk scored four first replies and one more in the second half to record a 5-2 win that sent them five points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League.

Patrick Hoban, Kurtis Byrne, Daryl Horgan and Brian Gartland each got on the score sheet at Oriel, an indicator if one was needed about the depth and breadth of Dundalk’s goalscoring capabilities.

Peter Cherrie is beaten in the third minute by a UCD strike Dundalk goalkeeper Peter Cherrie is beaten in the third minute by a UCD strike. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

While close season acquisitions like Daryl Horgan have garnered much attention and rightly so, Darren Meenan’s corner kick deliveries made two of the Lilywhites four first half efforts. Here, the UCD alumni caught the eye and not for the first time in a hugely impressive opening third to the season.

With Dundalk looking for a sixth league win on the bounce, caution was urged ahead of this one. UCD took all three points on both of their last two visits to Oriel, in 2012 and 2013. Three minutes in, it seemed their hold on the Louth side hadn’t loosened. Chris Mulhall curled an exquisite right footed free kick past Peter Cherrie to rock the 2,162 crowd in attendance.

Five minutes later however, the game was level. Meenan found Byrne who nodded into the path of Hoban. The striker bravely beat Conor O’Donnell to the ball, heading in and hurting himself in the process. It then took the league leaders until after the half hour to take the lead, but when they did it was fully merited and almost inevitable. Meenan’s corner wasn’t dealt with by O’Donnell and Byrne appeared to get the final touch to steer the ball over the line from close range.

Before the break, Daryl Horgan added his fifth of the campaign and another Meenan corner was powerfully headed in by Brian Gartland for 4-1. Not for the first time, setplays were going uncontested by a young UCD team simply unable to cope with the power and speed of the country’s form side.

There was to be one consolation for the Students, coming in the most unusual fashion. When Andy Boyle was adjudged to have fouled Barry McCabe in the penalty area late on, referee Jim McKell pointed to the spot and awarded Boyle a yellow card. However, Boyle had already been cautioned early in the second half. No red card was brandished and the match carried on regardless, after Robbie Benson converted, with Dundalk’s 11 full compliment.

At the death, John Mountney was fouled by Ian Ryan and Pat Hoban scored from the spot himself to seal the win.

Sexy football, almost certainly, but winning football this definitely is. Kenny and his charges have fans in one half of Louth all hot under the collar with talk of a first title in 19 years.

DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Chris Shields, Daryl Horgan, Patrick Hoban, Kurtis Byrne (John Mountney, 88), Dane Massey (Mark Rossiter, 72), Richie Towell (Ruaidhri Higgins 71), Darren Meenan.

Substitutes: Mark Griffin, David McMillan, Simon Kelly, Gabriel Sava.

UCD: Conor O’Donnell, Gareth Mathews, Mark Langtry, Ian Ryan, Michael Barker, Barry McCabe, Robbie Benson, Gary Burke, Cillian Morrison (Thomas O’Halloran, 74), Samir Belhout (Dwayne Wilson, 88), Chris Mulhall.

Substitutes: Niall Corbett, Tomas Boyle, Robbie Creevy, Michael Scott.

Referee: Jim McKell.

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