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Waterford swatted aside as Dundalk coast to eighth-straight league win

The champions ran out 3-0 winners at Oriel Park.

Daniel Kelly celebrates his goal.
Daniel Kelly celebrates his goal.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Dundalk 3

Waterford 0

Keith Wallace reports from Oriel Park 

DUNDALK COASTED TO an eighth SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win on the spin as they saw off struggling Waterford 3-0 at Oriel Park on Monday evening, maintaining their eight-point lead at the summit.

The defending champions got off to a flyer when Kenny Browne put through his own net inside two minutes, after Seán Gannon’s cross had caused trouble for the visiting defence.

Patrick Hoban thought he had made it 2-0 in the tenth minute but his close-range finish was ruled out for offside, before Dundalk’s number 9 was later denied by a good block from goalkeeper Matt Connor.

Hoban turned creator for the home side’s second past the midway point of the opening period when his delivery from the left was knocked in at the near post by the lively Daniel Kelly.

In a rare threat, Waterford struck the woodwork through JJ Lunney on the half-hour, with Dundalk relieved to see the rising strike bounce out after hitting the underside of the crossbar.

However, the hosts were utterly dominant and they killed the game off on 66 minutes when Michael Duffy’s cross was punched by Connor into the path of Jamie McGrath, who found the empty net.

Just 72 hours after their valuable victory at Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth freshened up his line-up with four changes.

McGrath’s impressive cameo appearance in Tallaght earned him a start as he came in for Seán Murray. Kelly replaced John Mountney, who was not in the matchday 18, while Daniel Cleary and Dean Jarvis returned from suspension in place of Brian Gartland and Dane Massey.

Waterford, meanwhile, made three changes to Friday’s injury-time defeat by Bohemians at the RSC, as they looked for just a third away win of the season.

Georgie Poynton came back in following a ban, and the former Lilywhite was joined in the starting XI by Browne and Kevin Lynch. Rory Feely, wearing no2, led the line.

Alan Reynolds’ men got off to the worst possible start as they fell behind in the second minute. They failed to deal with a Gannon cross and after a mix-up between Connor and Browne, the ball went in off the centre-half.

Dundalk had the ball in the net again on 10 minutes when Patrick McEleney lifted a pass over the Waterford backline for Kelly who squared to Hoban to tap in, only for the league’s top goalscorer to be ruled offside.

Bastien Héry had a shot blocked for the visitors soon after, but it was all Dundalk. Centre-half Seán Hoare even provided an attacking threat, playing a low ball dangerously across the six-yard box where McEleney and Hoban somehow failed to find the necessary touch.

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On 22 minutes, Hoban did beat the offside trap after a delightful through-ball from McEleney. However, the striker was denied by Connor who came out quickly to make a smart block.

Two minutes later, it was 2-0. Hoban did brilliantly to create it with a strong forward run before delivering a left-wing cross which was fired in at the front post by Kelly.

Patrick Hoban and Damien Delaney Damien Delaney battles with Pat Hoban. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Out of nowhere, Waterford almost got back into the game on 31 minutes. Lynch’s cross caused trouble, with Dean Walsh and Feely involved in setting up Lunney, whose shot came back off the underside of the bar.

At half-time, Waterford changed tactics, with Cory Galvin introduced for Browne as Feely reverted to the centre of the defence.

However, that did little to help their cause. After Hoban struck narrowly wide from 20 yards, Dundalk put the result beyond any doubt in the 66th minute when Duffy’s cross was punched by Connor only as far as McGrath who finished with ease from 10 yards.

That allowed Perth to empty his bench as Robbie Benson and Murray got more valuable game-time. Shane Duggan almost grabbed a consolation for Waterford with a stunning 85th-minute strike which again rattled the underside of the bar, much to the midfielder’s frustration.

However, it was all about Dundalk, on a night when the league leaders moved another step closer to a fifth title in six years.

DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers, Seán Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Seán Hoare (Brian Gartland HT), Dean Jarvis, Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Robbie Benson 66′), Daniel Kelly, Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (Seán Murray 75′), Patrick Hoban (c).

WATERFORD FC: Matt Connor, Georgie Poynton, Kenny Browne (Cory Galvin HT), Damien Delaney (c), Kevin Lynch (John Martin 69′), JJ Lunney, Karolis Chvedukas, Shane Duggan, Bastien Héry, Dean Walsh (Dean O’Halloran 65′), Rory Feely.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

About the author:

Keith Wallace

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