Gaynor goal finally settles Oriel nerves


SOCCER/SETANTA CUP/Dundalk 1 Glentoran 1:ROSS GAYNOR’S 80th-minute strike was enough to ensure Dundalk’s passage into the semi-finals of the Setanta Cup at the expense of Irish League side Glentoran.

The left winger raced on to a Mark Quigley pass to cooly slot the ball past Elliott Morris to send what had been up to then a nervous Oriel Park crowd into raptures.

Glentoran, ever-present in the Setanta Cup since its formation in 2005, were making their first competitive appearance at the Louth venue, but crowd congestion outside the ground meant the kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes.

The late start seemed to affect both teams with Dundalk in particular wasteful in possession during a low-key opening. The first chance of the half pretty much summed up the opening 20 minutes, Dundalk centre-back Shane Guthrie heading well off target from a Daniel Kearns corner.

From then on Dundalk injected some pace into proceedings with Mark Quigley and Kearns becoming more influential.

The Glens had a perfect opportunity to draw level in the 53rd minute when referee Richie Winter harshly adjudged Shane Guthrie to have handled in the penalty area, but Andrew Waterworth blasted his penalty high and over the bar.

They got another chance from the spot six minutes later when Peter Cherrie hauled Matty Burrows down after the goalkeeper failed to deal with a Daryl Fordyce pile-driver. Burrows dusted himself down to duly level the tie.

With the tension, and the temperature rising, the tie exploded into life. Dundalk almost restored their aggregate lead in the 62nd minute when Colin Hawkins headed against the face of the crossbar before home striker Jason Byrne had a penalty appeal waved away by Winter.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when Johnny Taylor picked up a second yellow card but, just when it looked like extra-time was on the cards, Gaynor had the final say when he put the finishing touch to a wonderful move involving Quigley and Keith Ward.

DUNDALK: Cherrie, Madden, Hawkins, Guthrie, N Murphy; Kearns, Bolger (Maher 65), Ward, Quigley; Gaynor, Byrne.

GLENTORAN: Morris, McGovern, Ward, Taylor, Hill; Clarke, Fordyce (Nixon 83), Callacher, Gardiner; Waterworth, Burrows.

Referee: Richie Winter (Dublin).

Dundalk win 2-1 on aggregate