DFC | Dundalk FC stroll to victory against troubled Tribesmen

SSE Airtricity League | Dundalk FC 2–0 Galway United

Dundalk FC’s Robbie Benson in action against Galway United at Oriel Park. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

Three straight wins, 12 goals scored and none conceded, Dundalk’s return to action following the mid-season break has been flawless but there is still very much a feeling in these parts that Stephen Kenny’s team have more to offer.

After six and four-goal wins over Drogheda United and Finn Harps respectively, Galway United were the latest side to be swept aside by the Lilywhites in a fixture brought forward because of Dundalk’s upcoming Champions League commitments.

The Rosenborg scouting team will have learned very little from what they saw at Oriel Park last night with Dundalk controlling the game right from the start.

There is no doubt that the Norwegian kingpins will present a much stiffer examination than the one posed by the struggling visitors here.

Defeat to Bray Wanderers on Friday night left Galway rooted to the bottom of the table and they showed nothing last night to suggest that they will find an escape route.

They will say that their battles lie elsewhere and manager Shane Keegan’s team selection, which showed six changes to the side beaten 72 hours earlier, suggested that the Tribesmen’s focus was solely on what could be considered a proper relegation six-pointer with St Patrick’s Athletic this weekend.

Republic of Ireland internationals Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan paid a visit to their old stomping ground to take in the fixture and the former Dundalk heroes watched their old teammates make a positive start.

Horgan’s younger brother, Colm, hacked a David McMillan effort off the line early on with Chris Shields’ deflected follow-up just rolling the wrong side of Conor Winn’s upright.

The hosts continued to pin Galway back and the breakthrough inevitably arrived in the 16th minute when Dane Massey took advantage of some scandalous marking to plant a Michael Duffy corner past Winn.

The Tribesmen rarely ventured past the halfway line after that but despite being completely outplayed they restricted the champions to half chances for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes.

Robbie Benson dragged an effort wide of the upright while Sean Hoare just couldn’t divert a volley on target.

Paddy Barrett should have doubled the lead two minutes into the second-half but he headed a Duffy corner over the top from close range.

The pelting rain ensured that the ball pinged around at high speed and Winn had to race from his line to deny McMillan after an incisive through pass from Shields cut the visitors open in the 57th minute.

Galway showed little signs that they were stirring into life with a Kevin Devaney ball just evading Faherty with the striker in the clear.

Kenny’s side needed a second to put some breathing space between the teams and it finally arrived three minutes past the hour when McEleney fired home after a bout of pinball in the Galway box.

A raised flag against Massey denied Robbie Benson a place on the scoresheet but it mattered little as Dundalk cruised to a win that reduces Cork City’s lead to 15 points but, more importantly, moves the champions seven clear of Bray Wanderers, who they meet at The Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.

DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Paddy Barrett, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Michael Duffy (John Mountney 71), Patrick McEleney, Jamie McGrath (Thomas Stewart 84); David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 69). Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), Brian Gartland, Stephen O’Donnell, Conor Clifford.

GALWAY UNITED: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Stephen Folan, Lee Grace, Marc Ludden; Paul Sinnott, Alex Byrne; Gary Shanahan (Ronan Murray 71), Conor Melody (Aaron Conway 87), Kevin Devaney; Vinny Faherty (Owen McCormack 87). Subs not used: James Tierney (GK), Gary Kinneen, Aaron Conway, Padraic Cunningham, David Cawley.

REFEREE: Robert Harvey.

The SSE Airtricity League table. SOURCE: SOCCERWAY
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