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Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021
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Dundalk power to Premier Divison summit after four-goal win over UCD

Stephen Kenny’s side continue to go from strength to strength with their third win in seven days.

Dundalk's Patrick Hoban celebrates with David McMillan and Richie Towell
Dundalk's Patrick Hoban celebrates with David McMillan and Richie Towell
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

UCD 1

Dundalk 4

DUNDALK WELL AND truly punched above their weight last season as they finished second, but after a winter of strong recruitment, Stephen Kenny’s charges have strengthened their title credentials and with this, their third win in seven days, they’ve moved to the summit of the SEE Airtricity League in emphatic fashion.

Kenny’s men were forced to come from a goal behind, but from the moment Patrick Hoban restored parity shortly before the interval, the Lilywhites assumed complete control of proceedings and were rampant in attack.

Two goals in as many minutes after the break from Stephen O’Donnell and a Mark Langtry own goal swung the game firmly in their favour before Hoban added his second late on, after Hugh Douglas was sent off for a foul on the striker.

The visitors, unsurprisingly, made just one alteration to the side that comprehensively swept Derry City aside earlier in the week – the injured Brian Gartland dropping out for Mark Rossiter – and it showed as they began assertively.

Both wings were proving to be productive avenues – with Daryl Horgan on the left and Kurtis Byrne on the right – in the opening exchanges but Horgan, in particular, gave O’Donnell catching practice with a succession of aimless crosses.

Byrne was the first to truly test the UCD ‘keeper but his free-kick from 30 yards lacked the necessary power. For all their early possession and fluency, the Lilywhites were pegged back against the run of play.

O’Donnell’s kick-out made its way to Creevy in midfield and after turning his man deftly, he played a neat one-two with Cillian Morrison, before picking out the unmarked Burke with a perfectly weighted ball in behind the white shirts. Burke needed no second invitation to neatly control and slot composedly past Peter Cherrie.

The goal did little to alter the pattern of the game but meant Dundalk upped the intensity and urgency in attack. Chris Shield’s searching ball from deep found Hoban and having done all the hard work but rounding O’Donnell, the striker’s effort was tame, allowing Douglas to scramble back and hack away.

The pressure eventually told three minutes before the interval. Initially, Byrne saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Mark Langtry at the back post but when Douglas failed to clear, Horgan picked out Hoban to head home his fourth of the campaign.

Kurtis Byrne and Daryl Horgan Dundalk's Kurtis Byrne and Daryl Horgan. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Half-time provided Aaron Callaghan with the opportunity to reassemble his troops but the fifteen-minute interlude was their only repose from a rampant opposition. Horgan continued to run rings around Gareth Matthews and his marauding run created the opening for Hoban once again but Tomas Boyle threw himself in the way to thwart the striker.

UCD were unable to stem the flow as they found themselves camped inside their own box with Morrison outnumbered and outmuscled as the lone striker. The inevitable arrived shortly before the hour mark. Sean Gannon’s diagonall ball from right-back was knocked down by Hoban for the advancing O’Donnell to fire home.

Their lead was doubled minutes later as they struck the killer blow. Horgan once again provided the outlet on the right and confusion in the Students area resulted in Douglas smashing his clearance against the luckless Langtry and tantinalisly past O’Donnell.

Towell and Hoban both went close to adding to the already healthy advantage before UCD’s misery was compounded with ten minutes remaining as Douglas saw red for hauling Hoban down when he had only O’Donnell to beat.

Substitute David McMillan proceeded to rub salt in his former employer’s wounds as he teed up Hoban in the final stages to sweep home his second and send Dundalk to the summit.

UCD: Conor O’Donnell; Gareth Matthews, Tomas Boyle, Hugh Douglas, Mark Langtry; Chris Mulhall (Thomas O’Halloran, 79), Robbie Creevy, Robert Benson (c), Gary Burke (Dwayne Wilson, 70); Samir Belhout; Cillian Morrison (James Kavanagh, 81).
Substitutes: Mark McGinley, Michael Barker, Colin Crowe, Michael Scott.
DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie; Sean Gannon, Andy Boyle, Mark Rossiter, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Stephen O’Donnell (c) (Ruaidhri Higgins, 68), Richie Towell, Kurtis Byrne (David McMillan, 83); Daryl Horgan (Darren Meenan, 79), Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes: Gabriel Sava, John Mountney, Simon Kelly, Mark Griffin.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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