Dundalk’s lead dented after frenetic derby

Gap at top of division cut to four points after O’Neill equaliser

Drogheda’s Gary O’Neill with Andy Boyle of Dundalk at United Park last night. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Drogheda’s Gary O’Neill with Andy Boyle of Dundalk at United Park last night. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho



Dundalk saw their lead at the top of the league cut to just four points, following this keenly contested all-Louth clash tonight.

With the first two derbies of the season having produced one resounding win for each side, it was hard to know what to expect from this third instalment. What transpired was a tight, frenetic encounter.

Mick Daly’s back-post shot was parried by Dundalk keeper Peter Cherrie after just 30 seconds, but the Lilywhites quickly got in their stride and had an even better opening on six minutes. Darren Meenan rounded Drogheda goalkeeper Micheál Schlingermann, but was forced too wide, and his cross-cum-shot was saved.

Meenan caused Drogheda problems as he drifted from one wing to another, and it was his corner that produced the game’s opening goal on 19 minutes, when an unmarked Pat Hoban almost burst the net with a diving header.

It was no more than Dundalk deserved, but their joy was short-lived. Less than a minute later, Gary O’Neill was allowed too much room as he spun and shot from the edge of the box, and the ball flew high into the net.

Drogheda opened the second half brightly, but chances were at a premium after that. About the best came to Meenan with 14 minutes left, but Schlingermann produced a reaction save.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Schlingermann, Grimes, McNally, McGuigan, Doyle, Brady, Holohan, Walshe, Daly (McGlynn 80), Brennan, O’Neill (O’Brien 90+2).
DUNDALK: Cherrie, Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey, Meenan, Shields, Towell, Horgan (Mountney 90+2), Hoban (McMillan 85), Byrne (McDermott 71).
Referee: Neil Doyle.

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