FLASHBACK FRIDAY #2 | March 27th 2009


Stephen Kenny takes his Dundalk FC side to Richmond Park tomorrow night to face St Patrick’s Athletic and this week’s Flashback Friday looks back at the meeting between the clubs in Inchicore on March 27th 2009.

Back in the Premier Division for the first time since 2002, Dundalk FC, under the guidance of Sean Connor, made the trip to Dublin in fine spirits following a 3–0 derby win over Drogheda United seven days earlier.

However, goals from Mark Leech and Dundalk native, Kyle Moran, gave Jeff Kenna’s Pat’s a well earned victory, condemning Connor’s side to their third defeat in the opening our games.

Below is a selection of pictures from the late Mick Slevin’s archives, as well as my match report from the game.

St Patrick’s Athletic 2–0 Dundalk FC

WHILE it may have taken Dundalk seven long years to return to the League of Ireland Premier Division, it has only taken 360 minutes of football to show that the fight to stay in the top tier is going to be tough, extremely tough.

A failure to learn on the harsh lessons dished out by Galway United and Bohemians in recent weeks came back to haunt Dundalk at Richmond Park as they were outfought and, at times, brutally outplayed by a rejuvenated St Patrick’s Athletic.

Inchicore is not the Lilywhites’ happiest hunting ground. Coming into this clash with Jeff Kenna’s side, the omens weren’t good. It is 21 years since Dundalk last won at Richmond Park, when local heroes Barry Kehoe and Dessie Gorman were among the scorers in a 3–0 FAI Cup semi-final victory en route to the famous double win of that year.

Heady days indeed and on the evidence of the latest performance from Sean Connor’s men it could be some time before they return to Oriel Park.

To be beaten by last season’s runners-up is no disgrace. After all, Dundalk are newly promoted and possess a brand new team. However, the manner in which they fell to that defeat is what left many of the travelling support seething and will have set some alarm bells ringing.

In defence, individual errors and a chronic inability to deal with routine balls into the penalty area have cost Dundalk nine points from the opening 12 available to them thus far.

L-R: Dave Rogers, Chris Turner and Darren Mansaram in action for Dundalk FC

At the other end of the field it doesn’t make much better reading. Failure to test the opposition goalkeeper in games against Bohemians, Galway and Pat’s is a major concern.

For most of the second-half in Richmond Park, Dundalk controlled possession without ever threatening to damage the home side.

It is a damning indictment on the performances of players with the experience of Darren Mansaram, George O’Callaghan, Declan O’Brien and Harpal Singh that it was left to 19-year-old Michael Daly, playing in only his fourth League of Ireland match, to again come the closest to scoring for Dundalk.

The former Manchester City trainee has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks with Mickey Collins unavailable and he has performed admirably.

He powered past Alan Cawley in the 69th minute to curl a deft right foot effort away from Gary Rogers’ dive. With the Dundalk fans behind the goal ready to erupt in joy Daly’s effort just wouldn’t dip the required yard and kissed the top of the crossbar.

The chance came with the scoreline 1–0 in favour of the home side. Pat’s held the upper hand from the 37th minute when Chris Turner was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul on the lively Mark Quigley, despite the Pat’s hitman clearly handling the ball.

L-R: Michael Daly curls an effort just wide of the post

From Cawley’s delivery, the marking from Thomas Heary and Liam Burns was slack and Leech beat the seemingly flat-footed Chris Bennion with a downward header.

It was just rewards for the home side who gradually took control after a bright opening spell from Dundalk.

Darren Mansaram was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty 12 minutes before the opening goal when he eased past Jason Gavin only to go down under pressure from the centre-back; referee Thomas Connolly waved play-on.

Kenna’s side exploited the space in behind Shaun Kelly on the right side of Dundalk’s defence and Dave Rogers was relieved early on to see his clearance from a wicked Darragh Ryan cross fly over his own crossbar.

Kelly was replaced by Simon Kelly five minutes into the restart as Dundalk reverted to 4–4–2 which enabled them to establish a foothold in the game without creating any openings.

When an opportunity to deliver from a corner arose, George O’Callaghan, who drifted aimlessly through the second-half, wasted nearly every set-piece afforded to him, much to the obvious displeasure of the Dundalk bench.

L-R: Declan ‘Fabio’ O’Brien and George OCallaghan

The visitors paid dearly for their failure to create any clear cut chances when Dundalk native Kyle Moran wrapped the game up in the 77th minute.

Again, slack defending from a set-piece cost Dundalk and Moran, a substitute for broken leg victim Leech, had time to hook the ball past Bennion from Cawley’s corner.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Gary Rogers, Damien Lynch, Jason Gavin, David Partridge, Enda Stevens (Jamie Harris 89), Ryan Guy, Gary Dempsey (Stuart Byrne 87), Darragh Ryan, Alan Cawley, Mark Leech (Kyle Moran 56), Mark Quigley.

DUNDALK FC: Chris Bennion, Shaun Kelly (Simon Kelly 51), Dave Rogers, Liam Burns, Thomas Heary (Tiarnan Mulvenna 90+4), Chris Turner, Darren Mansaram, Declan O’Brien (Michael McGinlay 75), Harpal Singh, Michael Daly, George O’Callaghan.

REFEREE: Tomas Connolly.

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