Limerick rout keeps the double dream alive
IRISH DAILY MAIL FAI CUP
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,