Dundalk advanced to the third round of the FAI Cup following a 1-0 victory over non-league St. Patrick’s CY at Oriel Park on Friday evening. John Mountney’s second half goal saw Dundalk through although it wasn’t all straightforward for the Premier Division
It was Dundalk who had the better of the opening stages as they pressed right from kick-off. Mark Griffin had a wonderful chance in the opening minute to score but his shot was hit straight at St. Pat’s goalkeeper Philip O’Connor. Ben McLaughlin tried his luck from
distance shortly after but O’Connor was equal to it. Stephen McDonnell, deployed as a left winger, played a good cross into the six yard area but Griffin could only divert the ball over the bar.
St. Patrick’s CY got brief a respite when they forged forward but a long range shot from Gary O’Connor was the best they could conjure up in their first attack. Griffin went close once more as his free-kick was saved by O’Connor. Michael Rafter then did well to play in McDonnell but his shot was blazed over from 20 yards.
Rafter himself then went close with a brilliant shot from 25 yards but O’Connor saved acrobatically. St. Patrick’s CY gradually got themselves into the game and almost went in front themselves. Alan Murphy made a darting run from defence and got himself into the
Dundalk area. He got by Eoghan Osborne and shot wide of Peter Cherrie’s right hand post.
With the ball confined to midfield for the remainder of the half with very little action, the sides went in scoreless at half-time.
Within seconds of the re-start, Dundalk almost broke the deadlock. After winning a free kick, Griffin teed up Rafter and his powerful shot was brilliantly saved by O’Connor who once again came to his sides rescue. But it wasn’t long though until the Lilywhites were in front.
A corner from the left wasn’t dealt with and the ball fell to John Mountney who shot home from 12 yards to give the home side the lead. Griffin then almost doubled the home side’s lead with a delightful chip but the ball went over the bar.
The visitors almost equalised when Murphy once again found space but, this time from distance, his shot hit Peter Cherrie’s crossbar with the ‘keeper beaten. McDonnell had another chance to grab Dundalk’s second goal but his shot was saved by O’Connor.
The game descended into scrappiness but on 80 minutes, Dundalk were given the opportunity to make the tie safe when Rafter was fouled in the box by Thomas Dunne and the referee pointed to the spot. Rafter took the spot kick but he blazed over the bar, a shocking miss which left the Lilywhites to endure a nervy ending.
The visitors came so close to grabbing the leveller minutes later when Glen O’Connor blasted over from 25 yards with a free-kick. Simon Dunne was dismissed by the referee before Rafter almost doubled the lead but it finished 1-0 and Dundalk deservedly go through to the third round draw.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Ben McLaughlin, Liam Burns (Robert Waters 46), Derek Foran, Eoghan Osborne; Paul Walsh, John Mountney, Chris Shields, Stephen McDonnell (Nathan Murphy 85); Michael Rafter, Mark Griffin (Shane O’Neill 68).
Unused substitutes: Ger Hanley (GK), Gary Shanahan, Bob McKenna, Peter Thomas.
St Patrick’s CY: Philip O’Connor; David Andrews, Thomas Nolan, Simon Dunne, Glen O’Connor; Dean Young, Carl O’Brien, Andy Doolin (Thomas Dunne 64), Gary O’Connor; Alan Murphy (Conor Riddick 64), Lee Roche.
Unused substitutes: Stephen Murphy (GK), Dean Kinsella, Graham Hanningan, Lee Weafer, Paul Healy.
Bookings: L Roche (26), Riddick (78), T Dunne (80), Young (90+1).
Sent off: S Dunne (88).
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Attendance: 300 (estimate).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Ben McLaughlin. Outstanding all evening.