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League champions Dundalk draw first blood as Finn stars in President's Cup win

The domestic season got under-way this afternoon.

Andy Boyle got his hands on more silverware.
Andy Boyle got his hands on more silverware.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Dundalk 2

St Patrick’s Athletic 1

THERE WASN’T QUITE the jubilant scenes of October but Dundalk began their title defence season on a winning note as they lifted the President’s Cup after edging out St Pat’s at Oriel Park.

Chris Forrester had given the visitors the lead shortly after the half-hour mark but Stephen Kenny’s side turned the game on its head with goals from Daryl Horgan and Richie Towell in as many minutes.

And despite a late rally from the FAI Cup winners, Dundalk held firm in their final run-out before the new SEE Airtricity League season begins next Friday.

Ronan Finn made his first competitive appearance for the Lilywhites after his move from Shamrock Rovers and the midfielder made an instant impression but saw his shot blocked before Chris Shields fired high and wide from the follow-up.

But, the opener came at the other end as Conan Byrne’s cross was slotted home by the in-rushing Forrester.

The Saints’ lead didn’t last long, however. Finn was the architect as he found Horgan on the right before the winger unleashed an unstoppable volley past Brendan Clarke.

Chris Shields and James Chambers It was a keenly contested game with the league opener just six days away Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Moments later, Towell was on the receiving end of another Finn centre to guide home from close range.

Pat’s had chances to level proceedings after the interval, most notably when James Chambers saw a curling effort go narrowly wide of the upright, but it was the hosts who triumphed in the season curtain-raiser.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Richie Towell; John Mountney (Jake Kelly 91′), Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan (Darren Meenan 82′); David McMillan (Kurtis Byrne 65′).

Subs not used: Shane Grimes, Paddy Barrett, Ciaran O’Connor, Gabriel Sava.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Sean Hoare, Jason McGuinness, Ian Bermingham; James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan (Ciaran Kilduff 73′); Conan Byrne (Lee Desmond 83′), Christy Fagan, Chris Forrester (Darragh Markey 83′).

Subs not used: Kenny Browne, Sam Verdon, Aaron Greene, Conor O’Malley.

Referee: Tomas Connolly.

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Ryan Bailey

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