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Date Time League Season
18 February 2022 7:45 pm Premier Division 2022

Match Report

Opening night draw for Derry and Dundalk

Dundalk and Derry served up an opening game to remember as the men from Foyleside came back twice from behind to secure a draw in a fiery game in Oriel Park.

Dundalk took the lead twice by debutants Stephen Bradley and Mark Connolly only for Joe Thompson and Jamie McGonigle to find the net for the away side to secure a point.

Both sides had early sights on the goal with both keepers while tested showing composure to clear the present danger. This was by all accounts a more frantic opening game of the season than most. The game was simmering and then burst into life when Sam Bone forced Brian Maher into an excellent low save to tip the ball around his near post.

The match fuse was well and truly lit when a melee broke out between both sides following an attempted overhead kick by Steven Bradley which saw Derry’s Danny Lafferty have his arms raised immediately to his face and went down under contact with both sides incensed by the incident. The result was four players cautioned some more bewildered than others.

The home fans were on their feet not long after as the Lilywhites took the lead, debutante Stephen Bradley cuts inside onto his left down as he bore down on the right-wing as his low effort flew past Maher to open Dundalk’s league account.

Bone was once again on hand to try his luck from range, the fans thought it had hit the back of the net but the side netting was to deny the Lilywhite defender a debut goal. Derry was to draw level at the end of the half as a cross from the right by Jamie McGonigle was met at the back post by the unmarked Joe Thompson who sent it flying into the back of the net with Paul Doyle trying to get back in vain.

The second half started a lot calmer than its former as the home side grew in stature as the game progressed. Patrick Hoban looked as if he has taken his side back into the lead but for the post to deny him. Dundalk was to regain the lead with Robbie Benson's pinpoint corner meeting Mark Connolly. The towering header by the Clones native flew past Maher to restore the Lilywhites lead, but the celebrations were short-lived.

James Akintunde with Derry's next attack skipped down the left with ease and squared it for the onrushing McGonigle who headed the ball home diving low at the near post.

Neither side could muster up a crescendo worthy of the contest to seal the win with Jamie McGonigle striking the post late on. Dundalk will feel a defensive lapse cost them this contest, Derry will have questions of their own to answer. 

  • 90'

    FULL TIME: Dundalk and Derry served up an opening game to remember as the men from Foyleside came back twice from behind to secure a draw in a fiery game in Oriel Park. Dundalk took the lead twice by debutants Stephen Bradley and Mark Connolly only for Joe Thompson and Jamie McGonigle to find the net for the away side to secure a point.

  • 90'

    Three added minutes as a drone has stopped play at present.

  • 88'

    Stephen Bradley is the man of the match

  • 84'

    I don't know how that stayed out by Jamie McGonigle strike cannons off the cross bar and out.

  • 78'

    And it's level again! Jamie McGonigle dives low to latch onto an Akintunde cross to make it honours even once more.

  • 73'

    16th career goal that for Connolly, the last of which was as recently as December when he netted the second for Dunfermline in a 3-3 draw at home to Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship.

  • 73'

    And Dundalk retake the lead! Mark Connolly on his competitive debut rises highest from a Daniel Kelly corner to head it in.

  • 68'

    So close for Dundalk! Hoban gathers the ball and his effort strikes the upright, it nearly falls to Sloggett but he can't get a shot away. Dundalk starting to grow here

  • 66'

    Another talking point here: The already booked Joe Thomson with a block to deny Daniel Kelly breaking and the home side is not pleased

  • 66'

    The wind is taken a serious toll on his half as neither side can get to grips with the weather. However, Dundalk is more settled and attacking with venom.

  • 61'

    Two changes for Derry City as Patrick McEleney and James Akintunde come on in place of Ciaron Harkin and Daniel Lafferty

  • 59'

    Double substitute for Dundalk as Daniel Kelly comes on for Paul Doyle and Greg Sloggett for Joe Adams.

  • 56'

    Robbie Benson broke free of the Derry defence and the ball just seemed to drag under his feet and he couldn\'t get his effort away.

  • 55'

    A high ball into the area saw McGonigle head towards goal but his effort goes tamely over the bar, the wind is hanging the ball in the air a little too much to get any sort of pace on it.

  • 51'

    A much calmer start to this second half, both sides trying to find their feet but Derry City look the more potent in attack.

  • 46'

    Not back into action 30 seconds and Maher has to tip the ball down and save it on the second attempt from an Adams long-range effort.

  • 46'

    We are back underway at Oriel Park, the snow has started to pelt down here.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME: Dundalk took the lead thanks to a stunning effort from Stephen Bradley before an equaliser from Joe Thompson. Four yellow cards, a melee and a long-range shooting practice are just some of the highlights in what has been quite the half from Dundalk.

  • 45'

    One added minute here. This has been quite the half to say the least.

  • 39'

    Andy Boyle felt he was pushed by McGonigle who broke clear on the right before squaring to Thomson for a tap-in with Doyle unable to get back.

  • 39'

    And Derry are level! As simple as you can be a cross from the right is met at the back post unmarked is Joe Thompson who sends it flying into the back of the net. Game on here.

  • 35'

    From every angle in Oriel that looked in! Sam Bone breaks free once again and his powerful effort, his third of the night rattles the back of the net but the wrong side of it. The crowd was on their feet but only for the split second.

  • 31'

    And Dundalk takes the lead, Bradley cuts inside onto his left down the right-wing and hits a low hard effort that flies past Maher and into the back of the net.

  • 27'

    For a bit of background: The melee broke out after an attempted overhead by Steven Bradley. Danny Lafferty with his arms raised to his face straight away goes down.

  • 23'

    Bradley also joins the book.

  • 22'

    Dundalk's Mark Connolly also joins them!

  • 22'

    Harkin also gets booked

  • 22'

    McGonigle gets a yellow card as part of the pushing and shoving.

  • 22'

    A bit of a melee here as an overhead kick from Robbie Benson seemed to have struck a Derry player and after some pushing and shoving the referee calms things down.

  • 21'

    WHAT A SAVE! Sam Bone with a terrific long-range effort that Maher does brilliantly to tip it around the post

  • 20'

    The game has calmed down slightly in the last few minutes but there is no inch being left behind here, a lot of the debutants for both sides have been impressive.

  • 15'

    A poor pass back is met by Nathan Sheppard with McGonigle bearing down on the ball. Both sides really going at it tonight with waves of attack at either end. This game is being played at quite a frantic pace.

  • 9'

    Nathan Sheppard is forced to a low smart save as Brandon Kavanagh bore down on the Dundalk goal, the resulting corner amounts to nothing.

  • 6'

    A low hard effort from Sam Bone sees Maher just tip it around the post, the resulting corner sees Adams at the back post hit a goalbound shot that is well saved by the Derry keeper.

  • 4'

    The first chance for the away side as Jamie McGonigle low effort beats Sheppard in the Dundalk goal who was out of position for the attempt and its cleared off the line by Mark Connolly.

  • A standing ovation from the home stand as Dundalk makes it onto the pitch. The place is full of smoke now just before kick off. Stephen O'Donnell paces in front of the main stand. The Skip is home.

  • A standing ovation from the home stand as Dundalk makes it onto the pitch. The place is full of smoke now just before kick off. Stephen O'Donnell paces in front of the main stand. The Skip is home.

  • It's a first game in adult football tonight for Nathan Shepperd and Lewis Macari while two fellow newcomers are a little more experienced - game 324 for Mark Connolly and 380 for Robbie Benson

  • 21 years ago today Dundalk were 3-2 winners at Oriel Park with Martin Reilly scoring the winner two minutes from time. That was his second of the game with his 24th-minute strike following on from John Flanagan’s 18th-minute opener.

  • For Dundalk: It’s a seventh competitive start in Steven Bradley’s career tonight. His last competitive game was at Celtic Park a month and a day ago when he came on with 15 minutes to go for Drey Wright as Hibs lost 2-0 to Celtic via goals from Maeda and Juranovic.

  • News from Oriel: No Michael Duffy for Derry with Patrick McEleney on the bench Cameron Dummigan and Will Patching start against the club they left at the end of last season

  • Good Evening from a cold and snowy Oriel Park. Ciaran Callan here reporting on the opening night of the league as a new look Dundalk on and off the pitch take on a Derry City in revolution.

Dundalk

1Nathan Sheppard Goalkeeper
2Lewis Macari 25 Defender
4Andy Boyle Defender
5Mark Connolly Defender 73'
22'
6Sam Bone Defender
8Robbie Benson Midfielder
9Patrick Hoban Forward
16Steven Bradley Midfielder 31'
23'
19Daniel Williams 17 Midfielder
20Joe Adams 10 Midfielder
21Paul Doyle 7 Midfielder
3Brian Gartland Defender
7Daniel Kelly 21 Midfielder
10Greg Sloggett 20 Midfielder
11John Martin Forward
14Peter Cherrie Goalkeeper
17Keith Ward 19 Midfielder
25Mark Hanratty 2 Midfielder
28Ryan O’Kane Forward
29David McMillan Forward

Derry City

26Brian Maher Goalkeeper
3Ciaran Coll Defender
4Ciaron Harkin 10 Midfielder 22'
8Joe Thomson Midfielder 39'
9Jamie McGonigle Forward 22'
14Will Patching Midfielder
20Brandon Kavanagh Midfielder
17Cameron McJannet Defender
23Cameron Dummigan Midfielder
6Eoin Toal Defender
24Danny Lafferty 11 Defender
1Nathan Gartside Goalkeeper
10Patrick McEleney 4 Midfielder
11James Akintunde 24 Forward
16Shane McEleney Defender
21Gerard Storey Midfielder
29Jack Malone Midfielder
33Caoimhin Porter Midfielder
34Orrin McLaughlin Defender
38Liam Mullan Midfielder

Past Meetings

(Series 36)
1 - 2
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Derry City

(Series 24)
1 - 0
Premier Division
The Brandywell

Derry City v Dundalk

(Series 18)
2 - 1
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Derry City

(Series 6)
1 - 1
Premier Division
The Brandywell

Derry City v Dundalk

(Series 10)
1 - 2
Premier Division
The Brandywell

Derry City v Dundalk

(Series 1)
1 - 0
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Derry City

Ground

Casey's Field (Oriel Park)
Carrickmacross Road, Dundalk No. 3 Urban, The Municipal District of Dundalk, County Louth, Leinster, A91 RC44, Ireland

Ciaran Callan is a part-time sports journalist based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. He has more than 10 year’s experience working with media companies including both extensive radio broadcasting experience along with print and digital media reporting for the SSE Airtricity League as well digital media work with the national sports company eirSport. He joined FinalWhistle in February 2021 as is their main correspondent for Dundalk Football Club.