DFC | McGrath delivers an A-plus performance against Bit o’Red
Youngster sitting his final exams at NUI Maynooth
Hat-trick hero Jamie McGrath completed a stressful day with an A-plus performance in Dundalk’s win over Sligo Rovers on Friday night.
The 20-year-old took the match ball home after bagging his first goals for Stephen Kenny’s side, just hours after sitting one of his final exams at NUI in Maynooth!
“It’s been a long day,” he smiled afterwards. “I’m doing my college exams at the minute and I had an exam this morning so this is a good way to top it off. It’s a great feeling.
“There were a lot of match winners on the pitch tonight and we all worked our socks off for each other.
“Obviously, I got the goals and Nico Vemmelund as well but it was a team performance so we have to credit everyone.”
McGrath’s first goal for Dundalk arrived in the 53rd minute, the former St Patrick’s Athletic player combining well with Patrick McEleney before drilling the ball through the legs of Micheal Schlingermann.
“Fats was influential throughout the game tonight and he played a lovely ball on to my toe. Luckily enough I got in one-on-one and shot in for the first,” said McGrath.
His second was supplied by Michael Duffy, a thunderous half-volley that beat the Sligo goalkeeper with 11 minutes to go.
“The ball just sat up lovely for me and after scoring the first goal I was full of confidence and I just wanted to keep on shooting,” said the Athboy native.
“The more you shoot, the more you score,” he added. “It’s not something that I’ve been really doing lately and it’s something that I’m looking to add into my game.”
Vemmelund’s header looked like it had put the cap on Dundalk’s comfortable win but McGrath still had time to claim his first hat-trick, beating Schlingermann from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
“The hat-trick was in the back of my mind when we got the penalty,” he said. “Ciaran Kilduff is normally the man to put it away but he said ‘here you go, get you hat-trick’.”
The victory ended Dundalk’s run of two consecutive league defeats and also saw the Lilywhites make up some ground on league leaders Cork City, who remain 13 ahead of the reigning champions and 12 ahead of second-placed Bray Wanderers.
“It was important to bounce back because two losses are never ideal especially when you’re pushing at the higher end of the table,” said McGrath.
“We knew this performance was coming and hopefully it will lift us now,” he added.