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Date Time League Season
17 June 2022 7:45 pm Premier Division 2022

Match Report

Benson scores winner for Dundalk

With barely ten minutes remaining in the game, Robbie Benson scored the match winning goal for Dundalk, cutting the gap at the top to five points over Shamrock Rovers.

Both teams tested their respective defences, but Lewis Macari was the architect of Rovers' demise, as Benson supplied the finishing touch to give Dundalk the victory at Oriel Park.

A game with little give and take was broken with just ten minutes to go as Robbie Benson scored the vital goal for Dundalk to close the gap at the top to five points against Shamrock Rovers. Both sides asked questions of their respective defences however Lewis Macari the architect of Rovers destruction as Benson applied the finish to give Dundalk the win. 

The game was taken to Dundalk by the visitors after a brilliant ball from Gaffney found Danny Mandriou, who had two chances but his spectacular overhead kick flew over Sheppard's post. Richie Towell also attempted an overhead kick but it went over the bar after another excellent cross from Gary O'Neill.

Darragh Leahy met a Stephen Bradley free-kick at the back post for Dundalk, but it went wide. Then Rory  Gaffney had two chances in short succession on the Dundalk goal, the second of which saw the hoops striker fire a shot from the edge of the box that was comfortably saved by Sheppard in the Dundalk goal. With a flying header that went across the face of the Rovers goal, Mark Connolly came close for the home side, but no one could make the crucial connection.

The second half had only just begun when Gaffney had an early chance to score, beating Mark Connolly and hitting the side netting as Richie Towell waited to pounce. As Dundalk seized control of the game, the away side put in some solid defending. Paul Doyle had a snapshot on the edge of the box that went over the bar before Daniel Kelly put in a great cross that was pushed away for a corner following some initial link-up play between Hoban and Benson.

Dundalk continued to test the away side's defence, as a great break from the Oriel men saw Steven Bradley find Paul Doyle on the outside of the box again, but he sent his effort over the bar.

The goal and the deadlock came in the 80th minute as a sensational move by Hoban to hold up Sam Bone's ball with his chest before laying off to Macari on the right. His cross is inch-perfect for the inrushing Benson to score his 12th career goal against Shamrock Rovers. 

Dundalk's sixth win in a row, and with a game in hand, a title race appears to be on the cards. There seem to be parallels to the Lilywhites' 1995 title triumph – Dundalk supporters may dare to dream at this juncture.

  • 90'

    FULL TIME: With barely ten minutes remaining in the game, Robbie Benson scored the match-winning goal for Dundalk, cutting the gap at the top to five points over Shamrock Rovers. Both teams tested their respective defences, but Lewis Macari was the architect of Rovers' demise, as Benson supplied the finishing touch to give Dundalk the victory at Oriel Park.

  • 90'

    Four added minutes here.

  • 88'

    Paul Doyle is the man of the match.

  • 85'

    Joe Adams and John Martin on for Bradley and Hoban

  • 82'

    Ronan Finn is off, his second foul and Paul Doyle had no option but to send the Rovers captain off.

  • 80'

    That's Benson's first league goal at Oriel Park for Dundalk since scoring in the 3-2 victory over Shamrock Rovers here in September 2019 which secured the title for the Lilywhites.

  • 80'

    WHAT A GOAL! Patient play from Dundalk and Macari with the best delivery of the night and Robbie Benson ghosts in to score his third goal of the season!

  • 75'

    Paul Doyle leaves to a standing ovation. He has been the best midfielder on show tonight. Sam Bone on in his place

  • 75'

    3,409 in Oriel Park tonight

  • 73'

    Another breaking run from Dundalk and Macari and Leahy look to have crosses sent into the Rovers area but to no avail. There is one big moment in this.

  • 70'

    A superb break from Dundalk with Steven Bradley finding Paul Doyle on the edge of the area but he fires over the bar

  • 69'

    Doyle fouls Mandriou and gets a yellow card - this one was warranted

  • 65'

    Not exactly what for bur Patrick Hoban is booked.

  • 64'

    The first change of the night as Chris McCann comes in for Dylan Watts as Rovers look to get change things up here.

  • 62'

    Daniel Kelly with a fantastic cross that is put away for a corner after some initial link-up play between Hoban and Benson, the second corner is cleared by Shamrock Rovers.

  • 57'

    Good defending from Rovers but Dundalk are pressing a little more in his half, Paul Doyle has a snap shot on the edge of the area but it goes over the bar.

  • 54'

    Daniel Kelly with some intelligent play taking on the Rovers defence and his pass to Hoban was cut out and Rovers broke with Mandriou but it's blocked by Macari. This game is starting to open up here.

  • 50'

    Robbie Benson latches onto a pass from Lewis Macari and his shot from the edge of the area is deflected for a corner. The ball fell to the back post to Andy Boyle but Mannus read the danger and saved it very well.

  • 49'

    Darragh Leahy gets a yellow card for a foul on Dylan Watts.

  • 46'

    Early doors chance for the Shamrock Rovers forward as he beats Mark Connolly and strikes the side netting with Richie Towell waiting in the wings.

  • 46'

    We are back underway and Shamrock Rovers restart the game.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME: nothing between the sides but it has been a pendulum swinging in terms of chances and possession. Dundalk has had the better of the opportunities but Rovers have asked a lot of questions of the Dundalk defence. This is a chess game that is starting to take shape but who will make the all-important checkmate? The next 45 minutes will tell.

  • 43'

    What a chance! A corner sent it saw Mark Connolly flick a header at the near post but it needed just one more touch for a teammate but it evades everyone

  • 37'

    A brilliant double contribution there by Paul Doyle to prevent firstly Mandroiu and then Kavanagh from shooting in the Dundalk area.

  • 35'

    Shamrock Rovers growing in confidence, but the final touch is just letting them down but they are enjoying the lion's share of possession at the moment.

  • 30'

    Half an hour in and while Dundalk have had the two best chances, it's Shamrock Rovers who have asked more questions of the home side's defence. There is a break in play as Greg Sloggett is down with a head injury.

  • 25'

    Gaffney has two chances in quick succession, the second sees the striker hit an effort from the edge of the area that is well saved by Sheppard, the sting of the effort was taken out of it as it took a deflection from Paul Doyle.

  • 21'

    For a foul on Patrick Hoban, Ronan Finn goes into the book after the Dundalk striker clashed with three Rovers players

  • 19'

    CHANCE: Darragh Leahy at the back post meets a Stephen Bradley free-kick at the back post but it just goes wide.

  • 14'

    CHANCE: Another good cross from O'Neill falls to Richie Towell who tries the overhead but it sails over the bar.

  • 12'

    CHANCE: A fantastic ball from Gaffney finds Mandriou have two bites of the cherry but his spectacular overhead kick goes wide of Sheppard's post.

  • 11'

    An overzealous tackle on Darragh Leahy sees Towell get a stern word from referee Neil Doyle. The action has somewhat calmed down but most of the early running has been from the home side.

  • 7'

    Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny in Oriel Park tonight to watch his two former clubs in action.

  • 5'

    CHANCE: A fantastic free-kick sent in by Stephen Bradley is headed just wide by Patrick Hoban!

  • 2'

    Daniel Kelly breaks down the left and had the run and pace of Sean Hoare however his advance on the Shamrock Rovers goal was blocked out by Roberto Lopes.

  • 1'

    We are underway at Oriel Park, and Robbie Benson kicks Dundalk off.

  • Stephen O’Donnell has yet to record a victory over his former Arsenal teammate Stephen Bradley in their nine meetings to date. Both were youth players at Arsenal. O’Donnell will serve a one-match touchline ban this evening following his red card in the game away to Derry City on May 20th.

  • Team news from the Shamrock Rovers camp: Finn & Kavanagh will play at wing-back where as O'Neill & Towell will marshall in midfield. Mandroiu & Watts lead the attack.

  • Oriel Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Shamrock Rovers in recent years with just 4 wins from 22 in the last decade. Of the last six games at Oriel Park, Dundalk have won 4 – including both games here last season – drawn one (the 0-0 draw in March) and lost just once

  • Tonight is the 368th meeting between these sides and is the 210th in the league. Dundalk has won 118, drawn 85 and lost 164 of the overall matches against Rovers while in the league they have won 69, drawn 55 and lost 85 of the previous 209 league meetings.

  • Sean Hoare starts the 250th game of his career tonight against his old club. He is one of three ex-Dundalk title-winners in the Rovers starting 11 alongside Ronan Finn and Richie Towell. Sean Gannon is on the bench this evening.

  • There is one change for Dundalk from the side that beat St. Patricks Athletic before the break with Paul Doyle coming in for Joe Adams, who is amongst the subs.

  • Good evening from FinalWhistle HQ, Ciaran Callan here as Dundalk FC take on Shamrock Rovers in 1st vs. 2nd in a game that could see either a points gap turn from eight or five come evenings end. A hum dinger is in store at Oriel Park.

Dundalk

1Nathan Sheppard Goalkeeper
2Lewis Macari Defender
4Andy Boyle Defender
5Mark Connolly Defender
7Daniel Kelly Midfielder
8Robbie Benson Midfielder 80'
9Patrick Hoban 11 Forward 65'
10Greg Sloggett Midfielder
15Darragh Leahy Defender 49'
16Steven Bradley 20 Midfielder
21Paul Doyle 6 Midfielder 69'
14Peter Cherrie Goalkeeper
6Sam Bone 21 Defender
11John Martin 9 Forward
20Joe Adams 16 Midfielder
24Mayowa Animasahun Defender
25Mark Hanratty Midfielder
28Ryan O’Kane Forward
29David McMillan Forward

Shamrock Rovers

1Alan Mannus Goalkeeper
3Sean Hoare Defender
4Roberto Lopes Defender
5Lee Grace Defender
7Dylan Watts 26 Midfielder
8Ronan Finn Midfielder 21'
11Sean Kavanagh Defender
14Daniel Mandriou Midfielder
16Gary O’Neill Midfielder
17Richie Towell Midfielder
20Rory Gaffney 9 Forward
2Sean Gannon Defender
25Leon Pohls Goalkeeper
2Andy Lyons Defender
6Barry Cotter Defender
9Aaron Greene 20 Forward
21Justin Ferizaj Midfielder
23Neil Farrugia Midfielder
26Chris McCann 7 Midfielder
38Aidomo Emakhu Midfielder

Past Meetings

(Round 11)
1 - 0
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Round 6)
0 - 0
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 30)
1 - 0
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 19)
3 - 1
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Series 12)
2 - 1
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 3)
2 - 1
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(President's Cup)
1 - 1
President's Cup
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Final)
2 - 4
FAI Cup
Aviva Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Series 13)
0 - 4
Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 4)
3 - 2
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

Officials

RefereeAssistantsFourth Official
Neil DoyleChris Campbell
Darragh Keegan
Derek Tomney

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.