DFC | Duffy plays a starring role as Dundalk FC return to winning ways
SSE Airtricity League | Dundalk FC 2–0 Bohemians
Gavin McLaughlin reports from Oriel Park
Michael Duffy played a starring role as Dundalk FC returned to winning ways with a comfortable win over Bohemians at Oriel Park on Friday night.
The former Celtic winger had a big hand in both goals, supplying Patrick McEleney for the cross that led to David McMillan’s opener before settling a nervy Oriel Park crowd down with a 66th-minute cracker.
The result put the cap on something of a tempestuous week for the league champions which saw them beaten in controversial fashion by Bray Wanderers and manager Stephen Kenny enter into a war of words with his Cork City counterpart, John Caulfield.
That defeat to the Seagulls left Dundalk FC nine points adrift of Cork City before a ball was kicked, meaning that there was no room for slip-ups here.
Stephen O’Donnell made his first league start since the opening night of the season and after seeing them link up well in the EA Sports Cup win against UCD on Easter Monday, Kenny selected Dane Massey and Jamie McGrath to operate on the left flank.
As a result, Duffy played on the opposite side and he was involved in the breakthrough after just nine minutes.
It looked like the 22-year-old had put too much pace on a pass in front of McEleney but he managed to get a cross in and McMillan was there to guide a diving header past Supple from close range to bring his tally for the season to five in just four starts.
Dundalk FC’s two Derrymen almost combined to devastating effect again in the 16th minute but Supple did well to race from his line and smother a Duffy effort after a great through ball by McEleney.
The hosts pushed for a second and Lorcan Fitzgerald did just enough to stop Duffy from tucking away a rebound after Supple had shown good wrists to parry a Massey drive.
Bohs eventually took the sting out of the game but Dundalk FC were knocking on the door again on the half hour mark. Niclas Vemmelund’s superb ball down the right channel for McMillan ended in a corner with Sean Hoare seeing his header tipped behind by Supple.
The visitors created very little but they raised the anxiety levels slightly when Jamie Doyle got in behind Brian Gartland to guide a left-footed half-volley towards goal that Gary Rogers did well to deal with in the 34th minute.
It proved to be an isolated incident, however, as Dundalk FC finished the half on top with the busy Duffy getting up to meet a McEleney cross at the far post only to head wide.
McEleney then hooked an effort towards goal after being picked out by an audacious back heel by Lilywhites centre-back Sean Hoare after Bohs had failed to clear a corner.
Supple was called into action again just before the break, saving Duffy’s well-struck effort with the outside of his right foot.
The big goalkeeper was at his best again just 90 seconds after the restart, throwing himself to his right to beat away O’Donnell’s well-hit drive that was heading for the top corner.
Things became scrappy after that with the home crowd becoming anxious, especially when news filtered through that Cork City had taken the lead ahead against St Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore.
Duffy, however, settled the nerves in the 66th minute when he collected a pass inside from substitute Steven Kinsella and rifled home a daisy cutter from 25 yards that flew inside Supple’s near post.
Referee Paul McLaughlin waved away Dundalk FC’s appeals for a penalty when McMillan had his jersey clearly tugged by a Bohs defender in the 73rd minute.
And although Bohs had a Kaleem Simon goal disallowed in stoppage time, they never looked like retrieving the situation and now sit just two points above the drop zone.
Dundalk FC, on the other hand, remain in Cork’s slipstream.
DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Niclas Vemmelund, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Stephen O’Donnell (Conor Clifford 74); Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney (Thomas Stewart 86), Jamie McGrath (Steven Kinsella 65); David McMillan. Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), John Mountney, Paddy Barrett, Ciaran Kilduff.
BOHEMIANS: Shane Supple; Derek Pender, Rob Cornwall, Dan Byrne, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Paddy Kavanagh, Oscar Brennan, Ian Morris, Fuad Sule (Keith Ward 83), Kaleem Simon; Jamie Doyle (Dean Casey 69). Subs not used: Greg Murray (GK), Philip Gannon, Dylan Hayes, Steven Nolan, Jamie Hamilton.
REFEREE: Paul McLaughlin. ATTENDANCE: 2,848.