Dundalk 5-0 Finn Harps
Reigning Premier Division champions Dundalk proved too strong for Finn Harps at Oriel Park on Friday night, although the visitors were put at a huge disadvantage following the 39th minute dismissal of defender Mark Russell for a second yellow card offence. Ollie Horgan’s side was already 1-0 down at that stage and after that it only ever going to be case of minimising the scale of the defeat to a side that made six personnel changes to that which started in the Europa Cup on Tuesday night.
The gulf in class is glaringly demonstrated by the 39 points that separates the two teams in the table that Dundalk leads while Harps are second from bottom. Horgan made four changes from the side that lost to Shamrock Rovers in the FAI last weekend. Jacob Borg came in for Colm Deasy and Keith Cowan replaced Joshua Smith in defence. Up front Nathan Boyle and Mikey Place came in for Raffaele Cretaro and Mark Timlin. The visitors started reasonably well and the closest Vinny Perth’s side came to a goal was a Patrick McEleney effort that grazed the crossbar on 29 minutes.
Dundalk took the lead on 36 minutes when Sean Murray setup Daniel Kelly who fired past a helpless Mark Anthony McGinley.
Mark Russell was sent off for a second yellow but Harps responded quite well to the setback with Harry Ascroft twice forcing corners.
The visitors had keeper Mark Anthony McGinley to thank for keeping them in the contest in the early stages of the second half. Dundalk went 2-0 up on 62 minutes when Burt native Georgie Kelly took advantage of a defensive slip to steer the ball past McGinley.
Patrick McEleney, quickly added a third and Jamie McGrath made it 4-0 on 75 minutes. Sam Todd cleared a Pat Hogan shot off the line and Harps were most fortunate on handful of more occasions not to go further behind.
McEleney rounded off the scoring with the fifth and final goal of the game. UCD’s hammering 10-1 by Bohemians at Dalymount Park. was some consolation to Ollie Horgan’s side. The Students
remain six points above the students, with Harps having a significantly superior goal difference.
Finn Harps - Mark Anthony McGinley; Jacob Borg, Daniel O’Reilly, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Mark Russell; Ruairi Harkin, Harry Ascroft (Raffaele Cretaro 78), Gareth Harkin; Mickey Place, Nathan Boyle. Subs: Joshua Smith for Place (45 mins), Tony McNamee for Harkin (66 mins). Raffaele Cretaro for Ascroft 78 mins. Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Colm Deasy, Liam Walsh, Shaun Doherty.
Dundalk - Rogers; Dummigan, Gartland, Hoare, Massey; D. Kelly, Murray, Shields, Duffy; McEleney, G. Kelly. Subs: McGrath for Duffy (64 mins), Hoban for G. Kelly (70 mins), Mountney for Shields (72 minus).
Ref: Graham Kelly (Dublin).