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Dublin: 14 °C Saturday 30 May, 2020

Dundalk's lucky strike in the 90th minute keeps the champions on top

Against his former club St Patrick’s Athletic, Sean Hoare scored the only goal at Oriel Park.

Sean Hoare celebrates scoring a goal with Daniel Kelly Sean Hoare is congratulated by Daniel Kelly after scoring the winner for Dundalk. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Dundalk 1
St Patrick’s Athletic 0

Keith Wallace reports from Oriel Park

SEAN HOARE’S FORTUITOUS 90th-minute goal kept Dundalk at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division as they struck another late winner to down a stubborn St Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park.

The Saints had kept it tight on the road this season — conceding more than once in just one of their eight previous trips — and they offered up little to the league’s top scorers in a drab first half.

Harry Kenny’s side were well organised and it was their top marksman, Mikey Drennan, who threatened twice in the opening quarter-hour. Those moments were a warning to Dundalk, and the reigning champions responded with a well-struck Sean Murray free-kick that brought a smart stop out of Brendan Clarke.

However, if the first period was poor, the second half provided even less entertainment. Clarke was never seriously tested again as Pat’s looked set to collect a point. That was until they were undone at the death as a clearance cannoned off Hoare and into the net.

Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth had again kept his starting side fresh, with four changes from Monday’s last-gasp victory at home to Bohemians. Brian Gartland, John Mountney, Murray and Dean Jarvis all came in, as Daniel Cleary, Daniel Kelly, Jordan Flores and Dane Massey dropped out.

The visitors had a familiar look, with the same selection that narrowly defeated Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park on Tuesday night, which had ended a four-game winless run.

Gary Shaw with Brian Gartland and Chris Shields Gary Shaw of St Patrick's Athletic under pressure from Brian Gartland and Chris Shields. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Dundalk made the early running but it was the Saints who were the first to go close on 12 minutes when Simon Madden’s right-wing cross was headed over by Drennan from 10 yards.

Past the quarter-hour, Dundalk were slow to pick up Drennan at the back post, but he could not take advantage as he directed his header straight at Gary Rogers after connecting with a deep Rhys McCabe free-kick.

On 26 minutes, Dundalk earned a free-kick 25-yards out, and Murray hit a strike that Clarke got down well to push away.

Murray had another go from distance seven minutes before the interval but Clarke caught comfortably. Patrick McEleney then danced his way to the Pat’s box, but the shot was weak and again easy for the Saints’ goalkeeper.

Perth introduced Flores at the break, but Dundalk continued to struggle to cut open a solid defence. Michael Duffy’s shot on the hour-mark took a wicked deflection off McCabe and swerved away from goal.

At the other end, Drennan’s shot from close range was well blocked, but that was a rare foray forward for Pat’s in the second half.

On 71 minutes, Georgie Kelly was thrown in by the home side in the hope that he would repeat his goalscoring cameo from Monday evening.

Michael Duffy and Ciaran Kelly Dundalk's Michael Duffy is challenged by Ciaran Kelly. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

That failed to do the trick. However, on 79 minutes, the ball fell kindly to Patrick Hoban on the 18-yard line, only for Kevin Toner to get a brave block in and deflect it over the bar.

Dundalk had not failed to score at Oriel Park since Bray Wanderers visited in February 2018, and they finally found a breakthrough right on the stroke of 90 when an attempted clearance struck Hoare and ended up in the net, as the Lilywhites remained at the summit despite Shamrock Rovers’ win at home to Cork City.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dean Jarvis, Chris Shields, Sean Murray (Jordan Flores, HT), John Mountney (Georgie Kelly, 71), Patrick McEleney (Daniel Kelly, 88), Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Dave Webster, Ciaran Kelly, Kevin Toner, Simon Madden, Darragh Markey, Jamie Lennon, Rhys McCabe, Ian Bermingham, Gary Shaw (Jake Walker, 85), Mikey Drennan.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Gavan Casey is joined by Ryan Bailey and Andy Dunne to look ahead to Saturday’s Pro14 final, look at whether Joey Carbery’s move has paid off and Jack Conan talks about how his body is holding up.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Keith Wallace

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