Dundalk v Derry City

Derry finish fourth after win in Dundalk

Derry City clinched three points and by virtue of results elsewhere has meant they leapfrogged into the coveted fourth place in the final league standings, as they defeated Dundalk at Oriel Park.

Ciaron Harkin and Jamie McGonigle scored minutes apart on each side of the break to secure their first win in North Louth since 2013.

Dundalk started the game in earnest as both sides had chances to put the game in their favour. A fantastic break down the right saw Raivis Jurkovskis cross into the area that initially met Patrick Hoban, his thundering effort cannoned off the defender with the second ball falling to Sean Murray, whose effort went over the bar.

The Candystripes responded in kind as Joe Thompsons free-kick whipped towards the Dundalk goal at pace saw the low effort cleared by Cameron Dummigan.

Dundalk had another sight on goal with Patrick Hoban breaking free of the Derry defence, just as he was about to pull the trigger he succumbed to a heavy challenge. Hoban was once again the mastermind for another Lilywhite attack as he laid the ball to Darragh Leahy with David McMillan going just wide.

Dundalk did open with a goal of real class just after the half-hour mark as Sean Murray broke from the right into the middle of the Derry half and unleashed an unstoppable effort past Gartside. If the Dundalk goal was good, City's equaliser was even better.

Right on the stroke of 45 minutes, Ciaron Harkin hit a speculative effort from 40 yards that left the Dundalk defence flat-footed, taking the slightest of deflections that misstepped Cherrie the ball snuck past the Dundalk keeper at his near post.

Derry took an early lead after the interval courtesy of Jamie McGonigle. He collected the ball on the edge of the area evading Leahy to hit a low curling effort past Cherrie.

The North Louth men thought they had it back on level terms as Sam Stanton's cross was met by McMillan with his shot blocked and the ball falling to the feet of Sean Murray.

The crowd were already cheering only for a last-second clearance off the line.

Dundalk continued to press forward for a leveller late on with Sean Murray and Daniel Cleary going close but they both failed to make Gartside work as Derry's defence held firm.

The Lilywhites notorious for grabbing late goals couldn't muster one in this contest as, despite opportunities, they couldn't make them count as Patrick Hoban's diving header flashed just wide at full time.

With a season starting with an Italian coach from Apecchio that had much change and turmoil, it ended tonight with a man from Tallaght coming to save Dundalk’s season. A new dawn is upon the club, its fans are now full of hope and expectation.

But for Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney with others in the squad, it could be like Filippo Giovagnoli before them: "Tempo di salutarsi"

Dundalk v Longford Town

Hoban and Murray keep Dundalk in Euro hunt

Dundalk's quest for a top-four finish took a significant step closer as second-half goals from Patrick Hoban and Sean Murray gave them a comfortable 2-0 victory over Longford Town.

This win means they will go into the final day of the season with the coveted fourth spot in the league still in their sights.

As things stand Derry, Bohemians and Dundalk are all on 48 points in what will be a dramatic end to this season. There is so much that has yet to be decided in this box office season.

Longford's defensive set-up meant that for a long time they frustrated the hosts. It was only a matter of when as opposed to if when the men from Oriel would score.

The opening half was a rather irritating affair as the Lilywhites, despite having plenty of possession and creating several chances; didn't make a breakthrough.

The visitors nearly caused a shock as Rob Manley’s header was cleared off the line from a corner in the early period of the game.

From then on it was one-way traffic towards the Carrick Road end.

Dundalk began to attack in waves against a resolute Longford defence with Patrick Hoban getting the ball on the edge of the area and hitting an inch-perfect shot that forced Steacy down to save. The home side continued to press with Michael Duffy balancing the ball on his head before taking it down to strike a low effort that Steacy could only parry.

While the chances went begging in the first, they were converted with a flourish in the second.

After the interval, Dundalk continued their surmounting pressure on The Town and it paid off almost immediately. Michael Duffy whipped an early cross into the box and Hoban rose highest to nod the ball past Lee Steacy and got the home fans on their feet at last.

They didn't have to wait long to be up again as Sean Murray added a second moments later. In what was an excellent attack the ball found its way to Will Patching as he slipped it to Murray who rifled his effort off the post to put the game in full Oriel control.

Longford had Lee Steacy to thank to keep the score-line to just two as pulled off several fine saves to deny Duffy and Andy Boyle but in the end, Vinny Perth's men secured their first win of the season over their Midland rivals.

The same side that results were left to be rued earlier on this year. 

Dundalk v Waterford

Kelly goal hands Dundalk much needed win

Daniel Kelly’s goal just on the stroke of half-time may prove to be the most priceless of efforts in Dundalk's quest to avoid this seasons Promotion/Relegation playoff.

Despite being under pressure for long periods in the second half, the hosts held out for an all-important 1-0 victory over Waterford at Oriel Park.

Results on the night also went the Lilywhites way away from County Louth ground as Vinny Perth will have to thank the experienced Peter Cherrie for some crucial saves as well as his all-important goal-scorer.

Sensing the importance of the occasion at hand, Dundalk took the game to the Blues, as Patrick Hoban’s early cross into the area fell to Sean Murray with his mis-hit shot falling to the feet of Daniel Kelly; however, his effort went over the bar.

Waterford’s best chance of the half came when Griffin and Junior worked well down the left to steal possession with Junior firing across the face of the goal that saw his effort go wide.

The Lilywhites continued to press as Michael Duffy started to show his teeth. He cut inside and with a high curling effort fly that just went inches wide of the post. Waterford almost gifted Dundalk the lead as Fergusons poor header back to his keeper saw Murray alert to the opportunity but to dismay, his hooked effort just went wide.

Kelly had another sight on goal as Duffy was again the architect of the attack saw his effort blaze over.

He didn’t have to wait long to make amends.

Just on the stroke of the interval, Murray struck a fantastic long-range pass to Kelly's path as he got in behind the compact Waterford defence to slot a fine finish under Martin as he advanced to the edge of the area, in terms of the importance of goals, this once could be regarded as priceless.

The second half quickly became the Dundalk front line versus Paul Martin as the Waterford keeper was instrumental in the Lilywhites not extending their lead.

He was on hand to deny Hoban saving excellently with his feet to deny the Dundalk striker from an initial Will Patching pass. Martin pulled off a fantastic double save to deny Sean Murray from range and then Pat Hoban on the quick follow-up.

Waterford best chance to pull level came when the blues ripped the home side defences apart with some clever passing and Junior got in behind the Dundalk defence. He looked odds on to score but Cherrie did brilliantly to deny him.

Despite repeated advances forward, Waterford could not make the pressure count but Dundalk was full credit and worthy of the victory. Kelly could be the unlikely hero of the season.

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

Dundalk grab vital win over Rovers

A performance that was both persevering and tireless Dundalk have left a mark on the second half of their season as they claimed an important victory over Shamrock Rovers.

A solitary goal by Sean Murray midway through the first half was the pivotal moment that showed that taking the one chance presented is what is the key to winning games such as this. Shamrock Rovers while impressive in possession squandered chances aplenty but were denied a certain goal courtesy of a fantastic save by Peter Cherrie.

This was a game that was tense from the off, with both sides not letting an inch to spare on Oriel Park.

Shamrock Rovers almost grabbed an early opener as Richie Towell latched onto Ronan Greene's pass but it flashed wide of the mark. The clubs continued to carve out chances but the home support went into raptures thanks to a fantastic team goal from Murray.

Michael Duffy and Pat Hoban linked up on the left hand and Hoban with the clever of passes found Murray who as cool as you like slotted it past Mannus to open the scoring. The away side continued to press and Dundalk pinned back threw bodies on the line to deny Richie Towell on two occasions to equalise.

The key turning point in the game came when Dylan Watts right on the stroke of halftime was denied by Cherrie as the veteran shot-stopper tipped the ball around the post with a fantastic save.

The second half while high in tension was low on clear chances, Rory Gaffney collected the ball on the edge of the area however it went high over the bar. Dundalk in rare attacks the home side broke quickly with Murray, Stanton and Dummingan linking up but Dummigan's cross was put over for a corner. As the game reached its end Sami Ben Amar found himself on the edge of the area with Mannus at his mercy but his effort went high over the bar.

The scenes at the end of the game show the passion and endeavour of this Dundalk side are there for all to see but it won't change that Rovers will be champions come seasons end, this only prolongs the inevitable. 

Dundalk v Bohemian FC

Dundalk double-up against Bohs

Dundalk’s recent upturn in good fortunes continued tonight as Sam Stanton’s wonder-strike and another fantastic effort from Patrick Hoban gave the Lilywhites their third win on the bounce as Keith Long’s side suffered their second league defeat in a row.

This was an exciting game that was end-to-end for much of the tie, before Stanton's wonder goal gave Dundalk the perfect ending to the first half and Hoban led by example with another captains goal in the second period.

Tyreke Wilson restored some parity to the game with a well-taken effort but Dundalk stood firm for the three points.

The opening exchanges showed the intent that each team was in search of the vital three points on offer. The first shot on goal fell to Dundalk with former Bohs player Darragh Leahy letting one fly from the edge of the area but it just went wide. Georgie Kelly looking threatening against his old employer testing Peter Cherrie in aerial duos but the Dundalk keeper always meeting his match.

The best of the chances for both sides before the opening goal saw Sean Murray's header cannon off the post leaving Talbot for dead and for the away side Keith Buckley took the ball off Greg Sloggett and raced forward but his long-range effort was well saved by Cherrie.

The opening goal came just on the stroke of half-time as Stanton received the ball in the area at an extremely tight angle he struck a fantastic effort that flew past Tablot who had no chance.

The second half did not let up in terms of excitement and incident as both sides had goals to celebrate as the tie came to a tense conclusion.

It seemed Dundalk were in pole position for the points as from a corner, Hoban got the ball on the edge of the area and he hits a fantastic curling effort past Talbot to put Dundalk two goals to the good. Bohemians continued to move forward and test the Dundalk defence and Tyreke Wilson struck a well-placed effort that beat Cherrie at this near post.

Both clubs had chances to add another with Dundalk having to rely on some excellent goalkeeping and some stellar defending from Andy Boyle to thwart Georgie Kelly at every turn. The hosts had an opportunity to add a third when Pat Hoban's first time effort just whistled past the post.

Bohemians, despite getting a second wind could not make the ample possession count, as the Lilywhites showed grit and determination to see this out. 

Dundalk v Sligo Rovers

Murray brace difference for Dundalk

A Sean Murray brace of goals proved to be the difference as Dundalk claimed the vital three points on offer after an enticing affair at Oriel Park.

In a game that had been entertaining from the off, Sean Murray got Dundalk off the perfect start however that joy was short-lived as Johnny Kenny quickly equalised for Sligo, Dundalk got back in front with a second Murray goal before John Mahon’s own goal in the second half ensured that the men from Oriel Park claimed the spoils.

Patrick Hoban put the icing on the cake with a fourth goal in added time.

Both sides pressed for an early opener but it was Dundalk who were the side to get off the mark as Sean Murray opened his scoring account for the night on the 11th minute. Sami Ben Amar hit a pinpoint cross that was met the onrushing Sean Murray and he slotted it past McGinty.

The lead was short-lived however as Johnny Kenny struck back for the visitors, the ball was sent into the young striker and he broke free of the defence and held off Jurkovskis in doing so as he slotted it past Cherrie.

Dundalk got themselves back in front five minutes later after a cross from Jurkovskis was only half-cleared and the ball fell to Sean Murray on the penalty spot and he hit a well-placed shot past McGinty.

Dundalk added a third as defender John Mahon scored an own goal under pressure from striker Patrick Hoban. Michael Duffy did excellently to keep the ball in play and his drilled ball across the box saw Mahon turn it into his own net. He tried to make up for that mistake as Mahon hit a well-placed effort that tested Peter Cherrie's gloves from 25 yards out but the keeper was assured all evening and saved with ease

While both sides continued to press with second-half substitute Seamus Keogh hitting a low effort to once again put Peter Cherrie to work he saved well. Hoban and Greg Sloggett had efforts late on in the game to put the game beyond doubt but both just went over. Hoban did get his goal right on the stroke of full time as he latched onto a Michael Duffy pass and he curled a great effort past McGinty.

In the context of things not much has changed for Dundalk in terms of position in the table but for Vinny Perth, its confidence-boosting back to back wins could provide much-needed momentum. Their biggest win to date this season, you feel this is the end of the false dawns.

Dundalk v Finn Harps

Dundalk prevail after extra-time in Cup replay

Dundalk secured passage to the FAI Cup Semi-Final thanks to an extra-time win over Finn Harps at an action-packed quarter-final replay at Oriel Park.

Sean Boyd got Finn Harps off to the perfect start with a goal after five minutes before Sean Murray got the home side level late in the first half.

The Lilywhites who were down to the bare bones used their experience to take command of the tie with goals in extra time from Pat Hoban and a goal to remember from Michael Duffy.

Harps took the game to the visitors and got their just rewards as they silenced the large Oriel Park crowd as Ryan Rainey's clever through ball saw Sean Boyd beat the attention of two Dundalk players to rifle his effort past Cherrie to put Harps in the lead.

The away side sensing Dundalk’s hesitancy continued to press high and Barry McNamee had the best opportunity to add a second as his long-range effort was well saved by Cherrie on the second attempt. Babatunde Owolabi also had a chance to add his name to the scoresheet as he beat Mayowa Animasahun for the ball but opted to take his shot on his right and in doing so sailed his effort over the bar.

Finn Harps would live to rue those missed chances as Dundalk dragged themselves back into the tie thanks to Sean Murray. Pat Hoban's bicycle kick into the six-yard box which looked almost certain to be cleared by the Finn Harps defence found its way to Sean Murray, who toe-poked it past Ger Doherty to equalise.

The second half saw both sides trade blows but that vital knock out blow never came, the closest either side came was when Peter Cherrie was excellent to deny both Boyd and Babatunde Owolabi from close range, the first effort was pushed onto the bar and the follow up was a fine low save.

The game went to extra time and Dundalk were awarded a penalty in the early stages as Sami Ben Amar went down under a challenge from Dave Webster in the area and Ben Connolly pointed to the spot. Patrick Hoban from the penalty spot placed it past Doherty with power and direction.

Right on the stroke of half-time in extra-time, it was checkmate Dundalk as Duffy struck a sensational free-kick that Doherty had no chance of saving to book Dundalk into their seventh semi-final place in a row. 

Dundalk v St. Mochtas

Hoban hat-trick fuels Dundalk Cup advance

A quick-fire hat trick by Patrick Hoban ensured Dundalk had a safe passage to the quarter-final of the FAI Cup against non-league side St. Mochtas FC.

Dundalk didn’t have it easy however as Mochta's gave them quite the scare in the first half as a spirited effort gave them their just rewards as Gareth McCaffery had cancelled out Sami Ben Amar’s first goal in a Dundalk shirt.

Han Jeong Woo got a fifth as the Lilywhites quest for a seventh cup final appearance is intact. For the Oriel Park outfit, the FAI Cup is the final show in town when it comes to a chance to get silverware, something that both Vinny Perth and his players are well aware of.

Looking to avoid a cup upset from the start, Dundalk took the game to the visitors and began brilliantly as Patrick Hoban’s corner was met by Sami Ben Amar who headed it past Adam Kmet with ease.

They, however, failed to keep the momentum going and allowed St. Mochtas back into the contest and a defensive slip from Sonni Nattestad allowed Gareth McCaffery to capitalise as he slotted it past debutante keeper Cameron Yates to equalise. Despite that setback, both sides had chances to take the lead but neither side failed to do so.

It would be a different narrative in the second half as Dundalk put the match to bed in ten minutes.

Patrick Hoban leading the line got the first of his three goals in ten minutes as Ben Amar was harshly taken down in the area and the referee had no option but to point to the spot. Hoban sent Kmet the wrong way to put the home side back in the lead and he put the game beyond doubt some 60 seconds later. In the next phase of attack, he evaded his marker and struck a low curling effort past Kmet before adding a third goal eight minutes later as he latched onto a Sean Murray through ball and with one clever touch Dundalk's number nine slotted the ball past the St. Mochtas netminder.

With the pressure value well and truly released Dundalk continued to press and got their fifth of the night as Han Jeong Woo netted his second career goal for the Lilywhites by picking up a loose ball inside the area to slot it into an empty net.

Dundalk will have tougher games in his competition but banana skins like this are always a threat to derail the season. This can be considered a confidence-boosting win in what has been a bruising few weeks for the Oriel Park men. 

Dundalk v Drogheda United

Doyle delivers for Drogheda against Dundalk

A Mark Doyle brace has ended Drogheda United’s four-game league losing streak and in turn, has sent Dundalk into crisis mode as the Derby Day spoils went to the visitors in a tense game in Oriel Park.

Despite ample possession and chances a plenty, it was Drogheda who struck twice to punish Dundalk for lack of cutting edge in the final third.

This result now sees Dundalk placed in the ninth position in the league, a foreign concept by all at the beginning of the season. Vinny Perth now has a massive task on his hands if he is to rejuvenate this side for the latter end of this season.

The best of the early chances fell to the hosts as they looked to sweep away the Drogs. Some clever link-up play with Stanton and Patching saw Patching try to catch Odumosu off guard with a shot but it goes wide of his near post, from a corner Hoban towered over his marker and headed goalwards only for it to just go over the bar.

Drogheda were always threatening in attack as Jordan Adeyemo latched onto a cross from the right and hit a low effort, it wasn't a hard shot but somehow Abibi spilt the attempt and it just went wide of the post.

Drogheda got their break, as a fantastic breaking ball from the away side after a mislaid pass saw Doyle beat Andy Boyle on the edge of the area and he cut inside to curl it past Abibi.

The visitors capitalised on a lacklustre second half start by Dundalk as Drogheda extended their lead to two when a deep cross into the area was met by Doyle at the back post and he headed it past Abibi with ease, within a minute the goal parity was reduced to one.

Michael Duffy took the game by the scruff of the neck and hit a low hard effort at the near post to open Dundalk’s account. The Lilywhites continued to press forward and like the first half had the chance to equalise only for Drogheda to hold firm. The best chance came right as the clock struck 90 minutes after some intense pressure Patrick Hoban's cross was met by Sean Murray but his header flew over the bar.

This side low on confidence was simply outdone by hard work tonight with Drogheda full credit for their victory.

Dundalk v St. Patrick’s Athletic

Pat’s ‘four’ce win over Dundalk

A brace of goals from Matty Smith and strikes from Nahum Melvin-Lambert and Chris Forrester gave St. Patricks Athletic an important three points on the road, as they hit Dundalk for four and they took full advantage of a side distracted by their European ambitions in Oriel Park.

This now sees the two clubs seventeen points apart and despite games in hand this has to be a worrying result for Vinny Perth’s men as they were completely outplayed in the second half by a resurgent and ruthless Saints.

The first half was an evenly matched contest with both sides breaking with intent in an open passing game. The first goal fell to the visitors as a corner is sent into the Dundalk area saw them fail to clear their lines and after Jason McClelland and John Mountney both have shots on goal, Abibi could only parry Mountney's second effort and Nahum Melvin-Lambert was on hand to tap it home.

Dundalk responded the better and showed their real worth with a goal of real class as a fantastic breaking run from Patrick McEleney who with the outside of his boot fed the ball to Michael Duffy whose shot beat Vitezslav Jaros and Hoban was on hand to tap it in. Matty Smith put the Saints back in the lead as Ben McCormack's initial shot was blocked and the ball fell kindly to Smith who made no mistake.

While the first half was a tight affair the second was in stark contrast and saw the visitors take the game to the hosts and execute it with ruthlessness. Stephen O'Donnell's men took full charge of the tie and got their just rewards when they were awarded a penalty after Billy King was fouled in the area by an advancing Alessio Abibi.

Forrester despatched the penalty with ease sending the Dundalk keeper the wrong way. Matty Smith got his second of the game as Sam Stanton's cross-field pass was intercepted by his fellow Scotsman and he found himself one on one with Abibi and calmly slotted the ball past him to put the game beyond doubt.

This result leaves St. Pats still in the hunt albeit with a game more played of league leaders Shamrock Rovers, for Dundalk despite European performances it's domestic matters that may need more attention if they want more of the same next season.