Niall Newberry reports from Oriel Park
Dundalk broke a 50-year club record on Sunday evening as they recorded their 11th straight Premier Division win with a 2-0 defeat of Bohemians at Oriel Park.
Goals from Sean Hoare and Patrick Hoban saw the Lilywhites collect all three points as they returned to the top of the table and broke their record for consecutive league wins, which was set during the Alan Fox-managed era in 1968.
The Lilywhites, rather surprisingly, made just one change from Thursday night's scoreless draw with AEK Larnaca in Europa League qualifying as Dean Jarvis replaced Dane Massey at left-back.
Bohs, on the other hand, made two changes from their 6-0 demolition of Bray Wanderers in the league last week with Ian Morris and Oscar Brennan replacing Rob Cornwall and Keith Ward.
Playing with a five-man midfield, Keith Long’s side understandably came to Oriel in search of what would have been an excellent point in their bid to edge further away from the relegation places.
That said, it was the visitors that created the game’s first chance when Daniel Kelly – who wasn’t named on the original team sheet – turned Brian Gartland inside out before forcing a decent save from Gary Rogers.
Stephen Kenny’s side never really got going but had chances of their own, the first of which came through Michael Duffy, who beat the challenge of a couple of Bohs defenders before shooting over the bar.
Hoban was next to try his luck after being played through by Robbie Benson but the Dundalk forward planted his effort well over the top after twisting and turning the Bohs defence.
The hosts took what was hardly a deserved lead just past the half-hour mark when Duffy’s corner from the left was excellently headed home by Sean Hoare, whose only other goal for the club came against the same opposition back in May.
Bohs almost drew level when some slack defending from Dundalk – an uncharacteristic feature of the evening – allowed the troublesome Kelly to have another pop at goal, again forcing a good save from Rogers.
Dundalk continued to look somewhat lacklustre following the restart but were awarded a penalty by referee Robert Hennessy when Duffy’s incisive pass from the left played in Dean Jarvis, who was unquestionably fouled by Dan Casey.
Hoban stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and made no mistake, sending Shane Supple the wrong way to score what was his 23rd goal of the season in all competitions.
The SSE Airtricity League’s top scorer and player of the month used his strength to fend off the challenge of a couple of Bohs defenders, finding himself through on goal but Supple was equal to the shot.
Supple had to be on hand again when Benson’s audacious attempt from distance had the Bohs goalkeeper scrambling before pushing the ball away from danger.
The visitors hit the post late on through substitute Keith Ward before Dundalk sub Georgie Kelly was denied a goal on his league debut by the outstretched leg of Supple as the Lilywhites moved back to the summit with a game in hand.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Karolis Chvedukas 75); Dylan Connolly (Patrick McEleney 59), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 85).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Dane Massey, John Mountney, Ronan Murray.
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Andy Lyons, Ian Morris, Dan Casey, Darragh Leahy; Keith Buckley, Daniel Kelly, JJ Lunney (Keith Ward 59), Oscar Brennan (Daniel Byrne 56), Kevin Devaney; Dinny Corcoran (Daniel Grant 75).
Subs not used: Sean Bohan, Patrick Kirk, Paddy Kavanagh, Eoghan Stokes.
Booked: Darragh Leahy (14), Ian Morris (44).
Referee: Robert Hennessy.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Chris Shields (Dundalk).