DFC | Kenny takes plenty of positives out of comfortable win over Thomastown United

Leinster Senior Cup quarter-final | Dundalk FC 6–0 Thomastown

Shane Grimes is congratulated by Carlton Ubaezuono after scoring Dundalk FC’s second goal against Thomastown United. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny described Monday night’s Leinster Senior Cup quarter-final win over Thomastown United as a ‘useful workout’ for members of his squad.

The Lilywhites booked their place in the semi-finals of the competition by hitting six goals without reply past the Kilkenny outfit who beat Shamrock Rovers in the previous round.

Ciaran Kilduff helped himself to four of the goals and speaking to Dundalk Sport afterwards, Kenny said the striker’s finishing was one of the big pluses to take from the game.

Sean Gannon and Keith Dalton played a major part in Dundalk FC’s fourth goal. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN
“Ciaran is away home with the match ball,” smiled Kenny. “His daughter is two today so he said he was taking it home.
“Our kitman Noel is worried he’ll have none left as Jamie McGrath took one home with him at the weekend aswell. He was saying to Ciaran that he thought you needed to score six in the Leinster Senior Cup to take the ball home!”

Kilduff made the breakthrough in the 11th minute before Shane Grimes rounded off a well-worked move with a low drive that beat Paul Dunne shortly after.

Ciaran Kilduff is congratulated by Jack O’Keefe after scoring his fourth goal of the game. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

The goal was met with warm applause, the local full-back banking 60 minutes on his first appearance picking up a serious hamstring injury last October.

On the opposite side, Sean Gannon played the whole game and was instrumental in Dundalk’s fourth goal, which came when he combined well with Keith Dalton who provided the assist for Tommy Stewart to find the net. That was after Kilduff has made it 3–0 by stabbing home from close range.

Kenny opted for a youthful centre-back pairing and local debutants Gavin Smith and Emmet Hughes acquitted themselves really well, earning words of praise from their manager afterwards.

Teenager Gavin Smith impressed against Thomastown United. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN
“The two young local centre-backs were terrific,” said Kenny. “Their passing and distribution from the back four was excellent. Emmet is a very stylish player, I like him, and they both did very well. They showed good character.”

Four-nil up at the break, Kenny also introduced youngsters Jack O’Keefe, Eric Whelan and Jake O’Connor in the second-half with O’Keefe denied a debut goal on three separate occasions.

Kilduff completed his hat-trick in the 70th minute and he put the cap on a comfortable win when he tapped home the sixth in the dying stages of the game.

DUNDALK FC: Gabriel Sava; Sean Gannon, Gavin Smith, Emmet Hughes, Shane Grimes (Jake O’Connor 60); Conor Clifford, Stephen O’Donnell (Jack O’Keefe 60); Keith Dalton, Thomas Stewart, Carlton Ubaezuono (Eric Whelan 72); Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Ben Kelly (GK), Cian Flynn, James Woods.

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