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Darren Meenan got the winner for Dundalk (file photo).
Darren Meenan got the winner for Dundalk (file photo).

Meenan strikes late to help Dundalk return to the top of the table

The Lilywhites got over their cup final hangover by earning a 2-1 victory away to Limerick tonight.
May 16th 2014, 10:13 PM 2,154 2

Limerick 1
Dundalk 2

DUNDALK DEFEATED LIMERICK by two goals to one on Shannonside to well and truly bury their Setanta Sports Cup final woes.

Darren Meenan struck the winner with fifteen minutes to go after Shane Tracy equalised for Limerick. Brian Gartland had scored the opener.

Shane Tracy had the first real effort of the game in the early stages. A clever ball from Robbie Williams into Rory Gaffney was then chested towards Tracy, whose shot stung the palms of Peter Cherrie.

Brian Gartland put Dundalk ahead after fifteen minutes when Dane Massey headed across goal from a Richie Towell free kick. Gartland was left with the easiest of tasks from close range.

Richie Towell put Barry Ryan to work just shy of the half hour mark. Good interplay between Towell and Horgan on the edge of the box resulted in a curling from the former. Ryan showed all his experience to tip over the bar.

The Lillywhites would be made pay for not capitalising while on top though. Danny Galbraith’s clever footwork inside the box was enough to draw a foul and referee Neil Doyle duly obliged by pointing to the spot. Shane Tracy, who has both saved and missed a penalty this season, scored this time.

Limerick went on the front foot for the remainder of the half – the best chance falling for Jason Hughes whose effort from distance forced Cherrie to push over the bar.

Patrick Hoban had his first real chance of the night ten minutes into the second half. Darren Meenan’s venomous corner found the head of the Loughrea native – he rose highest and got his effort on target. Barry Ryan was equal to it though.

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Brian Gartland celebrates scoring a goal. Dundalk defender Brian Gartland was on target. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The game should have swung in Dundalks’s favour moments later after Shaun Kelly handled in the area. Richie Towell stepped up to take it, but once again Barry Ryan was to deny Stephen Kenny’s men with a terrific save.

Ryan completed his hat trick of saves soon after, before adding a fourth to his impressive tally – Chris Shields’ header back into the danger zone found Darren Meenan, who turned and tested the veteran, but to no avail. Ryan was then on hand to deny Patrick Hoban what would have been a sensational goal as he acrobatically bicycle kicked inside the box.

The string of Ryan saves didn’t end there – Hoban’s headed effort from Meenan’s cross looked to be creeping inside the post, but the Ennis native got down to deny him.

Dundalk would not be denied their lead goal though – David McMillan had too much space on the left and produced a wonderful cross to the back post, where Darren Meenan was waiting, unmarked, to tap home.

Limerick: Ryan; Kelly, Whitehead, Folan, Williams; Duggan (McManus 78), Agyemang, Hughes; Tracy (McGrath, 65) , Gaffney, Galbraith (Rainsford, 89). Subs not used: Cusack, Nzuzi, Leahy, Hanlon.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Meenan, Shields, Towell, Horgan; Byrne (Higgins, 87), Hoban. Subs not Used: Sava, Kelly, Rossiter, Ward, Griffin.

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

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Andrew Cunneen

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