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Can anyone stop Dundalk? Lilywhites swat Sligo aside on landmark evening

Stephen Kenny’s side have now gone 21 league games unbeaten at home.

Towell scored in either half at Oriel Park.
Towell scored in either half at Oriel Park.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Dundalk 3
Sligo Rovers 0

ON THE NIGHT Stephen Kenny presided over his 100th game in charge of Dundalk, it was one of the virtual ever presents of his tenure that sealed a comfortable victory over Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.

Having featured in 86 of Kenny’s century of matches in charge, Richie Towell scored in both halves to ensure Dundalk have now taken maximum points from five games at the start of the SSE Airtricity League campaign.

It was fitting on what was a landmark evening in many respects. As well as Kenny’s personal record, the Lilywhites have now equalled a club Premier Division record for matches unbeaten in the league. They now haven’t lost in 21.

Dundalk never looked like falling short against Sligo on the Carrick Road. With four former Bit O’Red stars in their line-up, Dundalk set about Sligo with real intent.

The returning Darren Meenan looked to relish the renewal of his partnership with Sean Gannon down their right. Jake Dykes and Danny Ledwith were to be in for a rough night.

One of those ex-Sligo men was David McMillan, who came into this game with three goals in two. It took him only 17 minutes to add to his tally and pull away as the early pacesetter in the race for the league’s top goalscorer accolade.

Daryl Horgan, another old Sligo favourite, picked out his run and McMillan curled a sublime effort past Coulter and into the top corner. Any worries over the striker’s ability to replace Patrick Hoban as the Louth club’s goalscorer in chief are quickly being forgotten.

Dane Massey with Morten Nielsen Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Just eight minutes later, the lead was doubled. Dane Massey’s cross from the left was headed away by Stephen Folan but only as far as Towell, who stroked home past Coulter from the edge of the box.

The Dane Morten Nielsen led Sligo’s attack but in truth they created little and inventiveness is clearly lacking amidst Owen Heary’s plethora of close season recruits. Only a few lax moments from Brian Gartland and Gary Rogers threatened to let Sligo nick a goal here.

As it was, Dundalk maintained their clean sheet for the campaign five games in. They’ve yet to ship a goal. Richie Towell, that ever so trusty lieutenant of Stephen Kenny’s, tied the game up six minutes from time.

After good work from McMillan and the superb Ronan Finn, the former Shamrock Rovers man crossed for Towell to tap home unchallenged from three yards out.

Kenny had singled Towell out for special praise in his programme notes for this game saying the midfielder has “overall raised the standard at the club.” On a landmark night for his manager, Towell’s influence was as evident as ever.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn, Darren Meenan (John Mountney, 80), Daryl Horgan (Jake Kelly, 88), David McMillan (Kurtis Byrne, 87).

SLIGO ROVERS: Ryan Coulter, Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Stephen Folan, Danny Ledwith (Dinny Corcoran, 75), Steven Beattie, David Cawley, Eoin Wearen, Raffaele Cretaro (Kevin Devaney, 61), Jake Dykes, Morten Nielsen.

Man-of-the-match: Richie Towell

Referee: Graham Kelly

There were as many red cards as there were goals in Galway tonight as Longford struck late

About the author:

Barry Landy

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