Lim­er­ick rout keeps the dou­ble dream alive




On a night where he didn’t score or as­sist him­self, it was McEleney who made Dun­dalk tick. De­ployed in a deeper mid­field role he pulled the strings for Stephen Kenny’s side on the night. His abil­ity to ghost past play­ers and de­sire to al­ways pass for­ward had Lim­er­ick on the back­foot on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions and those around him thrived off it. Dane Massey was also su­perb raid­ing down the left flank, chip­ping in with two as­sists.


With John Mount­ney back on the score­sheet and both he and Pa­trick McEleney com­ing through 310 min­utes of action this week, just how big an in­flu­ence could the pair of them have in the busi­ness end of the sea­son in the weeks ahead. The pair will be fresh while oth­ers are tir­ing and if they can build on their per­for­mance in Lim­er­ick could have a big role to play in help­ing Dun­dalk to sil­ver­ware on two fronts be­tween now and the start of Novem­ber.


PW Dun­dalk 30 23 Cork City 30 21 Sham­rock Rov 30 14 Water­ford 30 14 St. Pat’s Ath 30 12 Derry City 30 12 Bo­hemi­ans 30 10 Sligo Rovers 30 10 Lim­er­ick 30 6 Bray Wand 30 4 D 4 4 7 5 4 3 7 5 6 3 L F A 3 72 15 5 58 21 9 47 24 11 40 37 14 38 41 15 43 56 13 37 37 15 32 40 18 22 58 23 19 79

Pts 73 67 49 47 40 39 37 35 24 15 DUN­DALK’S dou­ble dream lives on.

Lim­er­ick was the des­ti­na­tion for Stephen Kenny’s side for the sec­ond week run­ning but un­like in the league en­counter a week ear­lier, the Shan­non­sid­ers were un­able to con­tain the league lead­ers.

While seven days ear­lier it took a mo­ment of magic from Michael Duffy to give Dun­dalk the break­through at the Mar­kets Field, on this oc­ca­sion Tommy Bar­rett’s men saw their goal breached in­side five min­utes.

It was al­ways go­ing to be a long road back from there and it was one that proved much too dif­fi­cult as the visi­tors cruised into their sixth semi-fi­nal in seven sea­sons with some ease.

Pat Hoban’s dou­ble and a third of the sea­son for John Mount­ney had the Li­ly­whites 3-0 to the good at half-time but it re­ally wouldn’t have flat­tered the visi­tors had their lead been dou­ble that.

The home side did im­prove slightly on the restart but a Ge­orgie Kelly strike en­sured there would be no mirac­u­lous turn­around.

Kenny made four changes for the game and each had a telling con­tri­bu­tion to the out­come. Mount­ney chipped in with his goal while Mur­ray teed up the opener. Both were lively through­out. Two other as­sists came from Dane Massey who proved a huge threat for the en­tire 90 min­utes af­ter com­ing in for Dean Jarvis.

Then there was Pa­trick McEleney. Tri­aled in a deeper cen­tral mid­field role with Chris Shields not risked due to be­ing one yel­low card away from sus­pen­sion, the Derry man had a ma­jor in­flu­ence on the game. He will face tougher tests than this but his abil­ity to ghost be­tween the lines and spray the ball around was some­thing that Lim­er­ick sim­ply couldn’t deal with.

Per­haps the only crit­i­cism of the side could be that they didn’t win by a greater mar­gin but in the cup it’s all about get­ting through and Dun­dalk are now just 90 min­utes from the Aviva Sta­dium once again.

With no in­juries or book­ings picked up, this was the ideal game ahead of a fort­night’s break be­fore the crunch meet­ing with Cork City in Turner’s Cross on Septem­ber 21st. Kenny and his as­sis­tant Vinny Perth now have am­ple time to pre­pare for that game, which will come at the start of an­other busy pe­riod with Derry City visi­tors to Oriel Park four days later and the FAI Cup semi-fi­nal the week­end af­ter that.

In the knowl­edge of how dif­fi­cult things were the pre­vi­ous week, Dun­dalk started with a strong side and showed their in­tent right from the off by tak­ing the lead af­ter just five min­utes. Duffy slipped Mur­ray in on the left and he squared for Hoban to tap home.

Dun­dalk then had two great chances to make it 2-0 but both Hoban and Duffy failed to find the tar­get with their re­spec­tive head­ers.

The sec­ond did ar­rive on 21 min­utes with Massey’s deep cross from the left was headed goal­ward by Hoban. Goal­keeper Hol­land man­aged to claw it away but not be­fore it scram­bled over the line.

Mur­ray was then de­nied what would have been his fourth FAI Cup goal of the sea­son when he had an ef­fort pushed away by Hol­land on 28 min­utes with Brian Gart­land’s header from the re­sul­tant cor­ner blocked by Cian Cole­man.

The third fi­nally ar­rived on 36 min­utes. Massey showed great per­sis­tence to win the ball back on the left and as he closed in on goal he squared un­selfishly for Mount­ney to tap home.

The one way traf­fic re­sumed af­ter that with Duffy de­nied by Hol­land be­fore Hoban missed an ab­so­lute sit­ter to com­plete his hat-trick on 43 min­utes when the re­bound dropped to him af­ter Hol­land had de­nied Mur­ray with his feet but with the goal at his mercy the striker could only fire ag­o­nis­ingly wide.

Hoban would have an­other chance on the stroke of half-time but this time Hol­land de­nied him.

The pres­sure con­tin­ued on the restart with Gart­land head­ing over from Duffy’s cor­ner af­ter Massey’s free kick had come off the wall.

Dun­dalk then al­most scored one of the great counter-at­tack­ing goals of the sea­son when a long throw from Gary Rogers re­leased Duffy on the left. His cross to Hoban was slightly over­hit but the striker man­aged to re­trieve it be­fore pulling back to Mur­ray only for the Mayo na­tive to blaze over.

Lim­er­ick then came up with their first shot of note in the game on 63 min­utes when Karl O’Sul­li­van cut in from the right onto his left foot only to fire straight at Rogers. A minute later Cole­man had the ball in the net from a cor­ner but ref­eree Derek Tom­ney ruled it out for a push on Rogers in the buildup.

The fourth goal fi­nally ar­rived on 71 min­utes with Gart­land break­ing for­ward from half­way be­fore lay­ing off to Kelly on his right with the out­side of his right boot. The young striker then made no mis­take by drilling across Hol­land to the bot­tom left hand cor­ner.

Lim­er­ick ap­plied a bit more pres­sure af­ter that with Rogers pulling off su­perb stops from Col­man Kennedy and Barry Maguire to pre­serve his side’s 26th clean sheet of the sea­son.

Even when Lim­er­ick fi­nally did beat the Dun­dalk keeper, a de­flected ef­fort off Gart­land was off the post five min­utes from the end.

It was job done for Dun­dalk. The last four awaits. The dou­ble dream is still on.

Daniel Cleary rises above Cian Cole­man to win a header for Dun­dalk.

Ge­orgie Kelly cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the fourth, and fi­nal, goal.

Shane Tracy tries to out­wit John Mount­ney,

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