Morgan Treacy/INPHO
front runners

Assured Dundalk back to winning ways after 'bump' in Cork

Ciaran Kilduff scored and assisted as the Louth men beat St Pat’s.

Dundalk 2

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

CIARAN KILDUFF AND Ronan Finn scored the second half goals to ensure that Dundalk extended their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League on their return to domestic action at Oriel Park.

Three weeks have passed since the champions went down to Cork City at Turners Cross, ending the first half of the season with a bump, but they soared clear at the top of the table once again after putting Liam Buckley’s side to the sword.

It was more of an absorbing deadlock than a bore stalemate by the time Kilduff scored the opener, but genuine chances to score were few and far between. That was surprising given that Dundalk are the division’s leading scorers and only they and Cork have scored more goals this season than the Inchicore outfit.

Referee Derek Tomney uses vanishing spray for the first time in the SSE Airtricity League Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

It hardly helped that six-goal David McMillan and five-goal Christy Fagan were on the benches for their respective sides. Both took to the field in the second half, but it was after Dundalk had edged in front and by that stage the game was won.

Before they struck, the home sides’ best chances were both efforts from distance. Patrick McEleney tested Brendan Clarke in the first half while Daryl Horgan should have done better when he found space and blazed over.

St Pat’s – who in Sean Hoare had a man relishing the physical battle with Ciaran Kilduff and Graham Kelly a creative and combative force in central midfield – were very much in the game in the first half, but like Dundalk, struggled to carve out chances to concern the opposition.

They came closest when Conan Byrne spotted Gary Rogers off his line from inside his own half. His shot had the goalkeeper worried and he recovered to tip over. But then the game sprang to life. Sam Verdon shot over for the visitors before Dundalk assumed command.

They looked much the likelier to hit the front when McEleney layed on Kilduff’s opener.

Ronan Finn celebrates scoring a goal Ronan Finn celebrates his goal. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

He made space for himself on the left hand side of the penalty area and he squared for the striker to stretch out a leg and poke in from close range against his former club. Nine minutes later, it was 2-0. Kilduff’s header struck the post and Finn was on hand to tap in on the line.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Shane Grimes, Stephen O’Donnell, Ronan Finn, John Mountney, Patrick McEleney (Robbie Benson, 78), Daryl Horgan (Darren Meenan, 90+2), Ciaran Kilduff (David McMillan, 81).

Subs Not Used: Gabriel Sava, Paddy Barratt, Michael O’Connor, Ciaran O’Connor.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien, Darren Dennehy, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne, Mark Timlin (Darragh Markey, 82), Graham Kelly (David Cawley, 74), Billy Dennehy, Sam Verdon, Jamie McGrath (Christy Fagan, 74).

Subs Not Used: Pat Jennings, Michael Barker, Rory Feely, Lee Desmond.

REFEREE: Derek Tomney

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