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Hat-trick hero Towell keeps Dundalk top of the pile

The champions remain at the summit ahead of Friday’s hugely important trip to Cork.

Richie Towell celebrates the second of his three goals.
Richie Towell celebrates the second of his three goals.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk 3

Galway United 0

RICHIE TOWELL’S 13-MINUTE second-half hat-trick proved the difference as Dundalk maintained their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a 3-0 win over Galway United.

The timely victory comes just before Stephen Kenny’s champions travel to Turner’s Cross on Friday to face last season’s runners-up, and this year’s nearest challengers to date, Cork City.

After a dour and uneventful 45 minutes, it took a Towell double early after the restart to lift the Oriel Park faithful and give Dundalk the platform to go on and comfortably see off Galway, who are still looking for their first points on the road this term.

The very best chance of the first-half came just two minutes before the interval. After a sweeping Dundalk move that saw them move the ball from left to right, Sean Gannon sent in a superb cross for Darren Meenan at the back-post. but his header was straight at Tribesman keeper Ger Hanley.

It seemed as if a testing 90 minutes against Shamrock Rovers on Friday evening was catching up with Dundalk, as they lacked lustre.

However, just two minutes into the second half they pressed ahead. David McMillan was adjudged to have been fouled by Kevin Garcia and Towell sent the spot kick low to Hanley’s right.

Then — like a flash — it was two. Gannon burst down the right and pulled it back for Towell, who did well to shape his body and wrap his foot around the shot to double the home side’s lead.

Galway offered little going forward. Jake Keegan saw a second-half long-range effort fly just over stand-in Dundalk goalkeeper Gabriel Sava’s goal.

But the night was all about Towell. He curled in a beauty on 61 minutes to wrap up the win beyond any doubt. He was excellent on a night where perhaps others struggled with the quick turnaround of fixtures.

The midfielder — so coveted by Stephen Kenny when it looked like his League of Ireland days were numbered late last year — now tops the league’s scoring charts, with seven.

DUNDALK: Gabriel Sava, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (Paddy Barratt, 63), Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn (Stephen O’Donnell, 78), Darren Meenan, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan (John Mountney, 76).

GALWAY UNITED: Ger Hanley, Colm Horgan, Marc Ludden (Sam Oji, 56) Kevin Garcia, Stephen Walsh, David O’Leary (Alex Byrne, 68), Gary Shanahan, Enda Curran (Aintaine O’Laoi, 72), Padraic Cunningham, Ryan Connolly, Jake Keegan.

Man-of-the-match: Richie Towell.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

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About the author:

Barry Landy

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