Daryl Horgan’s goals put Dundalk six clear of the pack

St Patrick’s Athletic defender Kenny Browne sent off in first half

Daryl Horgan (far right)   celebrates scoring his and Dundalk’s first goal in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division game against St Patrick’s  Athletic at Richmond Park. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Daryl Horgan (far right) celebrates scoring his and Dundalk’s first goal in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division game against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Dundalk 2

Overall, it was another convincing display, rounded off with two fine goals by Daryl Horgan that actually delivered victory and three points that, thanks to the draw at Turner’s Cross, send then six clear at the top of the table.

The opening goal took a while to come but it had, as they say, been coming. Still, the manner of its arrival seemed pretty calamitous for the locals with Kenny Browne, already having a particularly challenging evening, attempting a rash pass under pressure and paying the price as John Mountney fed David McMillan who quickly moved the ball on for Horgan who applied a confident finishing touch.

Before the restart, the St Patrick’s defender was booked for a foul on Mountney committed as he desperately tried to limit the damage and that was to pave the way to further problems down the line with the centre back’s evening ended before the opening half hour was over thanks to a tug on Richie Towell that Neil Doyle reckoned was worth a second yellow card.

At that stage, against these opponents, the sense was that the locals were beaten despite the margin still only being one goal. They had, to be fair, had their moments through the opening exchanges with Christy Fagan’s return seeming to give them more of a threat up front.

When they were poor, though, they were really pretty awful with Dundalk repeatedly sweeping through the home side’s ranks from deep midfield positions after being gifted possession and but for a couple of poor finishes by McMillan, who still put in quite a shift, and one or two very fine saves by Brendan Clarke, it might have been a great deal worse at the interval.

As it was, the hosts weren’t spared for too long. Horgan was flying and having forced another good save from Clarke a couple of minutes earlier then cleared the bar with a his follow up shot, the winger got his second of the night with a neatly placed low drive to the bottom left corner after a wonderful build up.

Dundalk then coasted their way to the final whistle. Liam Buckley had been forced into sacrificing Chris Forrester in order to get a replacement central defender on but his bigger problem was that the players intended to provide support to Fagan were gradually sucked back as their opposition’s passing and movement left them struggling more than ever to cope now that they were shorthanded.

It left Fagan, back for the first time after a six week lay-off, looking hopelessly stranded and a long way from the sort of area in which he earlier posed some problems.

Sure enough, within a few minutes of the goal, Buckley moved to change things. And while Conan Byrne almost conjured up a goal out of nothing a little after that when he combined well with the more mobile Jamie McGrath, it’s hard to believe that the manager thought there was any serious prospect of salvaging a point.

As Dundalk continued to ease up, though, McGrath began to really make his mark, with the young striker persistently looking to get in amongst the visitors’ defenders and on one occasion making them look pretty foolish thanks to some fantastic footwork before teeing up Aaron Greene whose shot was well saved by Gary Rogers.

The save kept Kenny’s men on course for their first clean sheet away to St Patrick’s for the guts of 20 years. The win, though, keeps them firmly on course for a first ever successful title defence, a target that looks more attainable with every passing week.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; Chambers (Desmond, 65 mins), Hoare, Browne, Bermingham; Bolger, Brennan; Byrne, Greene, Forrester (McGuinness, 39 mins); Fagan (McGrath, 65 mins).

DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Barrett, Boyle, Massey; Towell, Shields; Mounteney, Finn (Poynton, 90 mins), Horgan (Kelly, 88 mins) ; McMillan (Byrne, 81 mins).

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).

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