Niall Newberry reports from Oriel Park
After drawing three of their opening four matches, Dundalk got their second win of the SSE Airtricity League season on Friday night with an emphatic 4-0 win over Waterford at Oriel Park.
Dundalk took a commanding two-goal lead going into the break through Patrick Hoban and Sean Murray before Daniel Kelly along with Cameron Dummigan completed the rout in the second period.
Already severely depleted coming into this match, Michael Duffy added to Dundalk’s recent injury woes having picked up a knock in training and he was replaced by Jordan Flores at left-wing.
With influential midfielder Chris Shields also set to miss the next few weeks at least, Daniel Cleary was named in the starting line-up with Sean Hoare slotting into an uncompromising central-midfield role.
Waterford made two changes from last week’s draw with Bohemians with Maxim Kouogun, Kevin Lynch and Aaron Drinan all coming in with George Poynton and Cory Galvin dropping to the bench.
Dundalk came out of the traps flying and created the game’s first big chance within the first minute when Sean Gannon floated in a beautiful cross that was flashed wide by the head of Jamie McGrath.
The hosts took the lead in somewhat controversial circumstances in the eighth minute when Murray whipped in a superb cross that was headed home by Hoban for his second goal of the new campaign.
Waterford manager Alan Reynolds was understandably incensed following that goal given the fact that were two footballs on the pitch when Murray sent in his cross but how and ever, the goal stood.
The Lilywhites had the ball in the net once again six minutes later but McGrath was adjudged to have handled just before his close-range finish following Brain Gartland’s knock-down from Flores’ corner.
Vinny Perth’s side were dominating and Murray nicked the ball from Bastien Hery before finding McGrath who then returned to the former Watford man who forced a good save from Hugo Keto.
Keto was on hand again when Daniel Kelly turned the experienced Damien Delaney inside out on the right-flank before forcing another decent save out of the Finland under-21 international goalkeeper.
It took more than half an hour for the visitors to create their first chance of the night when Zack Elbouzedi did well on the right before unleashing a low shot but Gary Rogers got down well to save.
Dundalk eventually doubled their advantage in the 36th minute when the outstanding Murray rifled a low shot beyond the despairing Keto after he was found by a cross from fellow new signing Flores.
Waterford had two good chances in quick succession to get themselves back into this match shortly before the half-time break but both Elbouzedi and Ismahil Akinade saw their efforts saved by Rogers.
There was still time for another Dundalk effort before the interval when Sean Hoare’s header from a corner was kept out by Keto, who denied the Lilywhites a killer third goal in first half stoppage-time.
New signing Murray is already proving to be an excellent acquisition for Dundalk and he floated in a corner from the right that was volleyed just over the bar by Hoban three minutes after the restart.
Waterford’s best chance of the night came soon after through Drinan who, under pressure, turned before firing a long-range shot which produced an excellent save out of Dundalk netminder Rogers.
The game was over as a contest on 57 minutes after some good midfield work by Hoare found McGrath, who’s through ball was met by Daniel Kelly, who fired home for his first goal for the club.
It naturally petered out following that third goal but Dundalk did come close to a fourth when Hoare – who did an excellent job in midfield – crashed an effort off the outside of post from close-range.
The fourth goal did come right on the stroke of the final minute of normal time when another new recruit Dummigan, who came off the bench, swept home to score his first goal in Dundalk colours.
It capped off a truly wonderful display from Perth’s side who travel to Derry City next week while it’s back to the drawing board for Waterford, who play host to St Patrick’s Athletic on the same night.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dane Massey; Sean Murray, Sean Hoare; Daniel Kelly (Joe McKee 80), Jamie McGrath, Jordan Flores (Cameron Dummigan 76); Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 85).
Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, Stephen Folan, Dylan Hand, Dean Jarvis.
Booked: Sean Hoare (44).
Waterford: Hugo Keto; Rory Feely, Maxim Kouogun, Damien Delaney, Kevin Lynch; Shane Duggan (Cory Galvin 63), Bastien Hery, JJ Lunney; Zack Elbouzedi, Aaron Drinan (Dean Walsh 73); Ismahil Akinade (Scott Twine 63).
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, George Poynton, Shane Griffin, John Martin.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Sean Murray (Dundalk).