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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019

Hoban double inspires Dundalk comeback as Lilywhites sink Saints in Inchicore

A brace from Pat Hoban and another from Chris Shields saw Dundalk come from behind to beat St Pat’s.

Pat Hoban celebrates drawing the side's level on Friday night in Inchicore.
Pat Hoban celebrates drawing the side's level on Friday night in Inchicore.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 1

Dundalk 3

Aaron Gallagher reports from Richmond Park

DUNDALK CAME FROM behind to record their tenth consecutive Premier Division victory on Friday night, beating St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 in Inchicore thanks to a second-half brace from Pat Hoban and another from Chris Shields.

The Lilywhites are gearing up for another campaign in European competition on Thursday as they take on Levadia Tallinn of Estonia, and now head into their Europa League opening round fixture buoyed by a hard-fought victory which extends their lead at the top of the table.

Stephen Kenny’s side went into half-time a goal down, but rallied brilliantly after the interval to extend their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League to four points — as a result making it 30 points from a possible 30 since the middle of May.

St Pat’s, meanwhile, continued their own run of form. Friday’s loss made it seven defeats in a row for the Dublin club, with the Saints’ hopes of bringing European football back to Richmond Park suffering another blow.

Liam Buckley’s men had hoped to bring their disappointing losing streak to an end against the league leaders and got off to the best possible start after 25 minutes when striker Jake Keegan headed his side into the lead.

Killian Brennan with Jamie McGrath Killian Brennan tackles Jamie McGrath. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dundalk had threatened throughout the opening half an hour via Michael Duffy and Dylan Connolly on opposite flanks with fast-paced counter-attacks on the break, but suffered an almighty sucker punch to go behind.

Keegan was left completely unmarked in the middle of the box and happily steered a pointpoint header beyond the fingertips of Gary Rogers from a Killian Brennan corner to make it 1-0 — the American’s sixth league goal of the season so far.

St Pat’s went into the break bolstered by their one goal advantage knowing they were 45 minutes from potentially ending the Lilywhites’ impressive win record, while also closing the distance between themselves and the top four.

It did not take long for Kenny’s side to level, however. Hoban notched his 20th Premier Division goal with a well-taken low effort which crawled with pinpoint precision into Brendan Clarke’s bottom corner to make it 1-1 after 51 minutes.

Clarke was making his first appearance since rejoining his boyhood club for a third stint from Limerick, but the goalkeeper was forced to pick the ball out of his net for a second time just seven minutes after Hoban’s equaliser.

Winger Duffy went on a meandering run before offloading possession wide on the right flank to Chris Shields.

Stephen Kenny Stephen Kenny's side now have a four point lead at the top of the table. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The midfielder took one touch, and then another inside, before composing himself to shoot. Shields released a low effort which rifled into the bottom corner to bring his side ahead, sending the travelling Lilywhites supporters into a wave of celebration in the away end.

Buckley’s side pushed for an equaliser in the final half an hour but couldn’t manage to penetrate a disciplined Lilywhites back four controlled and led by the defensive partnership of Brian Gartland and Daniel Cleary, who kept chances to a minimum.

Midfielder Jamie Lennon’s snapshot from the edge of the box represented the closest opportunity for the hosts to try and nick a point, but his powerful strike flew straight into the arms of Gary Rodgers.

A stoppage-time free-kick from the left boot of Killian Brennan right at the death looked all but certain to curl into the top corner to equalise, but his brilliantly curled effort was matched by an outstanding save from Rogers between the sticks.

Flooding men forward in search of a late leveller, St Pat’s suffered the final blow in the last minute of injury time as Robbie Benson romped forward with oceans of space in front of him with no defenders in sight.

The midfielder selflessly passed sideways to Hoban inside the box, with the striker slotting into an empty net to make it 3-1, recording his 21st league goal of the season after 24 games.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Jamie Lennon, Killian Brennan, Ryan Brennan; Dean Clarke (Darragh Markey 81), Conan Byrne (Thomas Byrne 78), Jake Keegan

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Hoare (Sean Gannon 79), Daniel Cleary, Brian Gartland, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Michael Duffy (Krisztián Adorján 76), Robbie Benson; Jamie McGrath, Dylan Connolly (Dean Jarvis 86), Patrick Hoban

Referee: Neil Doyle

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Aaron Gallagher

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