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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

Dundalk return to top of the table with victory over Bohemians

The champions were ultimately comfortable 2-0 winners at Dalymount Park.

Sean Hoare celebrates his side's second goal.
Sean Hoare celebrates his side's second goal.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Bohemians 0

Dundalk 2

Gavin Cooney reports from Dalymount Park 

STUBBORNNESS BEING ONE of the Airtricity League’s virtues, it’s perhaps unsurprising that this clash remained impervious to the lunacy general across football this week. 

Instead, Dalymount Park saw the re-assertion of an established order as Dundalk were inspired by Micheal Duffy in a win that sees them return to the top of the table. 

Heard that one before? 

Duffy created both goals – and won a penalty that was saved minutes before conjuring the second – to send Dundalk top on goal difference, having picked up the same amount of points across the same number of games as Shamrock Rovers. 

Although Duffy was at the heart of the opening goal his assist was largely accidental, which spoke to the chaos he loosed on Bohs when the ball was at his feet. He wriggled inside Derek Pender on the edge of the box, and was finally stopped by a combination of Pender and James Finnerty.

Their challenges rebounded off the winger and fell kindly for Georgie Kelly in the penalty area, who controlled the ball with his back to goal before swivelling and shooting in one lethal, liquid movement. 

It was the first goal from open play Bohs have conceded all season, and they then seemed to be in a hurry to give away a second as loose passing from centre-back presented Georgie Kelly and Sean Gannon with a couple of scoring chances.

James Talbot is beaten by a shot from Georgie Kelly to concede a goal James Talbot is beaten by Georgie Kelly's opening goal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Neither were taken as Bohs gradually grew emboldened. Although Danny Mandroiu’s end product was frustratingly erratic, everything went through him. An intelligent shimmy drew a foul 20 yards from goal, and he whipped the resulting free-kick narrowly wide of Rogers’ post with the Jodi Stand ready to erupt. 

He forced a smart save from Gary Rogers in the final stages of the first half, sidefooting Darragh Leahy’s low cross goalward. 

Dundalk started the second half with intent.

Pender did well to divert a fizzed Duffy cross away from the loitering Georgie Kelly, while Talbot almost fumbled a Sean Murray cross. 

Bohs, in contrast, were largely lifeless until Keith Ward was introduced for Kevin Devaney on the hour mark. He made an immediate impact, and within ten minutes was at the heart of two quick-fire penalty shouts in quick succession, neither of which moved referee Ben Connolly. 

First, Ward floated a gorgeous cross-field pass to Grant, who skated into the penalty area before tumbling upon impact with Sean Hoare. A minute later, having dawdled in an offside position, he intelligently left a through-ball for Danny Mandroiu, who fell to the ground having been challenged by Sean Gannon. 

Keith Long’s next substitute had less of a desired impact. Backtracking, Luke Wade-Slater collided with Duffy, resulting in Connolly this time pointing to the spot. In the absence of Pat Hoban, Chris Shields stepped up…and had his penalty batted away by Talbot. 

Within three minutes, however, Dundalk had their second goal as Sean Hoare met a Duffy free-kick from the left wing to head past Talbot. 

It might have been far worse for Bohs from there but for their goalkeeper, who twice denied Daniel Kelly as Dundalk caught Bohs on the counter. 

For the hosts it is a second successive home defeat, once again marked with a decided lack of goalscoring opportunities. 

Bohs did echo events at the Amsterdam Arena with a half-time rendition of ‘Three Little Birds’, this one led on the pitch by Natty Wailer of the Wailers. 

There was no such late drama, but nor was there the desired turnaround. 

Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender (Andy Lyons 51′), Aaron Barry, James Finnerty, Darragh Leahy; Conor Levingston, Keith Buckley; Danny Grant (Luke Wade-Slater 72′), Danny Mandroiu, Kevin Devaney (Keith Ward 60′); Dinny Corcoran 

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dean Jarvis; Chris Shields, Sean Murray (John Mountney 72′) Patrick McEleney; Daniel Kelly Cameron Dummigan 88′), Georgie Kelly (Jordan Flores 83′), Michael Duffy 

Referee: Ben Connolly 


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Gavin Cooney

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