Two goals from striker Mark Griffin gave Ian Foster's Dundalk side a deserved victory against UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Friday night. Indeed Griffin could have had a hat-trick had his first half header which looked over the line being given.
The visitors started the better with Daniel Kearns in particular proven to be influential. In the 17th minute Kearns cut in from the left and curled a right footed shot which was well saved by Ger Barron in the home goal. A minute later Kearn's excellent cross was somehow missed by the head of Mark Quigley.
In the 33rd minute Dundalk's Michael Hector made his way into the UCD area. His brilliant pass picked out Mark Griffin. Griffin advanced on goal but his shot was well saved by Barron.
UCD did play some decent football at times. However they only had one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. Samir Belhout's effort was straight at Peter Cherrie in the 37th minute.
However the first half's main talking point occurred on 42 minutes. Ross Gaynor passed to Simon Madden. Madden's perfect cross picked out Mark Griffin. Griffin's header was tipped onto the post by Barron but bounced down. The Dundalk players claimed it was a goal but referee Anthony Buttimer didn't and let play go on. Once again we saw an example of why goal line technology should be introduced.
UCD started the second half much better. In the 48th minute Ciaran Nangle's shot was cleared off the line by Nathan Murphy. In the 58th minute UCD number 10 Dean Marshall hit a fine shot from outside the area that was parried by Peter Cherrie. Samir Belhout missed the home team's best chance in the 61st minute. He broke away from Hawkins and Hector but his low shot hit the post.
However Dundalk took the lead against the run of play in the 72nd minute. Ross Gaynor broke down the left. Gaynor got way from Sean Harding. Gaynor's precise cross picked out the ever dangerous Mark Griffin. Griffin couldn't miss from 6 yards and finished low into the net.
Chances were few and far between after Griffin's goal. Paul Corry did have one shot off target for the students in the 89th minute. Dundalk wrapped it up in the 93rd minute. They were awarded a free kick. Keith Ward took it. The ball hit the post but Mark Griffin was first to react and put the ball into the empty net. Apart from the first 15 minutes of the second half Dundalk were the better team and fully deserved the three points.
UCD: Ger Barron; Sean Harding, David O' Connor (Thomas Boyle 73), Michael Leahy(c), Ciaran Nangle; Dean Marshall, Paul Corry, Paul O'Conor, Sean Russell (Robbie Benson, 61), Darren Meenan; Samir Belhout (Stephen Doyle 77).
Subs Not Used: Mark McGinley (gk), Daniel Ledwith, James Kavanagh, Danny Fallon.
Bookings: Meenan (45), Leahy (90).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden (c), Colin Hawkins, Michael Hector, Nathan Murphy; Daniel Kearns, Dean Bennett (Keith Ward 62), Greg Bolger, Ross Gaynor; Mark Quigley, Mark Griffin.
Subs Not Used: Paul Murphy, Shane Guthrie, Johnny Breen, Chris Kerr, Philip Duffy.
Booked: Kearns (45), Madden (50).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Mark Griffin (Dundalk).