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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 26 September 2020

Champions! Hoban delivers dramatic 90th minute equaliser as Dundalk secure fourth title in five seasons

Patrick Hoban scored his 26th league goal of the season as the Lilywhites were crowned SSE Airtricity League champions.

Dundalk players celebrate their title win after full-time.
Dundalk players celebrate their title win after full-time.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk 1

St Patrick’s Athletic 1

Caoimhín Reilly reports from Oriel Park

PATRICK HOBAN BAGGED a stoppage time equaliser as Dundalk were finally confirmed as champions of Ireland at Oriel Park tonight.

The Lilywhites were already set for glory, despite trailing 1-0 to St. Patrick’s Athletic, courtesy of Cork City’s stalemate with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.

Conor Clifford had scored the only goal in the early stages of the second half to install the visitors with the lead, before Hoban registered his 28th of the season to send the place into overdrive.

Ronan Murray and John Mountney celebrate winning the league Dundalk's Ronan Murray and John Mountney celebrate. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Their fourth championship win in five seasons, manager Stephen Kenny has duly drawn level with Pat Fenlon on five title successes, whilst also moving himself to within one major trophy of Jim McLaughlin’s record as Dundalk manager – a tally (eight) he will hope to level in next month’s FAI Cup final.

Clifford was one of the Dubliner’s pre-season signings last year and, having departed at the end of the campaign, he returned to poke Pat’s in front on 52 minutes.

Dundalk had looked the likelier until that point with Robbie Benson and Patrick McEleney striking the goalframe prior to Dylan Connolly volleying just over at the end of a frustrating first half.

In what was also referee Robert Harvey’s first return to the Carrick Road since controversially awarding Rovers a last-minute penalty last month – which, after being converted, inflicted Dundalk’s first league defeat in four months – the whistler failed to endear himself to the Lilywhites once more.

Patrick McEleney with Jamie Lennon Patrick McEleney with Jamie Lennon at Oriel Park. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Hoban looked to have been blatantly pulled to the ground just past the hour, though, bizarrely, the whistler refused to point to the spot.

Thereafter, Dundalk launched attack after attack, though Pat’s seemingly came closest to finding the net when Ryan Brennan’s snapshot whistled by the upright.

Thus, it looked set to end in an away victory, but Hoban put pay to that notion with a sweet finish.

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Seán Gannon, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary (Georgie Kelly 88), Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (John Mountney 12); Dylan Connolly (Ronan Murray 67), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Mick Leahy, Kevin Toner, Ian Bermingham; Jamie Lennon, Lee Desmond; Conan Byrne (Neil Byrne 63), Conor Clifford (Killian Brennan 84), Ryan Brennan; Jake Keegan

Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin)

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Caoimhín Reilly

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