A new era for Dundalk FC started with a 1-0 defeat to title chasers St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday evening. Played in some wonderful sunshine, the Saints dominated possession throughout the match and Sean O’Connor got the winner 12 minutes after half-time with a brilliant shot into the net after some skilful football by his team- mates.
It was indeed the visitors who began the brighter having the majority of the possession early on with Chris Forrester, Ryan Coombes and Sean O’Connor all shooting wide within the first 10 minutes. Dundalk, having been under pressure for the opening 15 managed the best chance through John Mountney who had a shot well saved by Barry Murphy in the visitors goal. O’Connor then got his first effort on target when he got a good shot away but was saved by Peter Cherrie.
Cherrie then did well to deny the impressive Ger O’Brien who had a cross/shot clawed out from under his own crossbar by the Scotsman. The Lilywhites then had their best chance of the half when a good ball from Lorcan Shannon was well controlled by Gary Shanahan just inside the box but the advancing Murphy forced him to try the delicate lob which just clipped the bar and went over.
O’Connor, Chris Forrester and Jake Carroll then had efforts block within seconds of each other with 5 minutes to go before half-time before Carroll saw his long range shot go well wide of Cherrie’s right hand post. The Saints then should have taken the lead just before the break when Cherrie made a mess of a relatively easy ball into the box and pushed it against his own defender Eoghan Osbourne but the ball went just wide of the left hand post.
Somehow it was scoreless at the break however, the Inchicore side will feel they should have been at least one goal in front.
They almost did open the scoring within minutes of the restart when Ger O’Brien had their most clear cut chance of the match forcing Cherrie into a good save from 10 yards after good work from both Fagan and Forrester to create the chance. In the 50th minute Fagan then failed to connect with an O’Connor corner kick.
On 57 minutes though, the Inchicore outfit did take the lead. Forrester, with quick feet in midfield, created space and played in O’Connor who fired brilliantly over Cherrie and into the top of the net. A deserved lead for the visitors and they went about protecting it by retaining possession of the ball brilliantly.
Fagan then volleyed wide from 8 yards before Griffin saw a shot go well wide at the other end for the hosts. The Lilywhites then had a great chance to equalise when Stephen McDonnell played in the perfect cross for Shanahan to head but his effort was well saved by Saints ‘keeper Murphy. From the resulting corner, Griffin shot well over from 8 yards after a good ball from Shannon.
That was as good as it got for the Lilywhites as St. Pat’s hung on to claim a narrow 1-0 victory and keep their fading title hopes alive on a fine summer’s evening in County Louth.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Stephen McDonnell, Derek Foran, Paul Whelan (Chris Reilly 89), Eoghan Osbourne; Lorcan Shannon, John Mountney, Conor McDonald (Michael Rafter 52), Mark O’Brien (Garreth Brady 67); Gary Shanahan, Mark Griffin. Unused substitutes: Nathan Murphy, Paul Walsh, William Woods, Philip McCabe.
Booked: Shanahan (19).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Barry Murphy; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Pat Flynn, Ian Bermingham; Chris Forrester (Jake Kelly 88), Ryan Coombes (Greg Bolger 85), James Chambers, Jake Carroll, Sean O’Connor; Christy Fagan (Vinny Faherty 77). Unused substitutes: Brendan Clarke, Aidan Price, Eoin Hyland, Anthony Flood.
Booked: Flynn (2), J Kelly (90+1)
Referee: Paul Tuite. Attendance: 1,000 (estimate) Extratime.ie man of the match: Sean O’Connor (St Patrick's Ath) - Best player on the park throughout the match, ultimately the match winner.