Dundalk get back on track

Dundalk 6 Limerick 2: Champions Dundalk failed to let the distraction of this week’s Champions League draw affect them as they brushed aside Limerick FC at Oriel Park last night.

Dundalk get back on track

Much of the talk around the Co Louth club this week centred on their pairing with BATE Borisov next month with the club only finalising travel plans for the first leg on July 15th earlier in the day.

Of more pressing concern to Stephen Kenny was getting back to winning ways on home soil after seeing their 25-match unbeaten run at Oriel Park, dating back to the defeat to Limerick in September 2013, come to an end against Bohemians three weeks ago.

An early strike from captain Stephen O’Donnell, who was making his first league start since the title-deciding game against Cork City last October, and two goals apiece from Brian Gartland and David McMillan ensured they did just that. A late own goal was the icing on the cake as the champions did their goal difference the world of good.

While they were the positives, Kenny will be disappointed with the manner in which they gave up two soft goals in the closing stages but another three points ensures the second half of their season has got off to the best possible start.

The Lilywhites had a dream opening when the returning O’Donnell played a neat one-two with Daryl Horgan before rifling high to the net past his namesake Conor O’Donnell after four minutes.

The league leaders were slightly complacent after that but still managed to double their advantage on the half hour mark when Gartland headed home a Darren Meenan corner.

After missing three great openings inside two minutes after that, Ronan Finn then turned provider for Dundalk’s third in the 35th minute when he set McMillan away with a great pass from halfway and the striker made no mistake by slotting past O’Donnell for his first goal in nine matches.

The same pairing helped Dundalk make it four in the 54th minute when McMillan crashed his seventh league goal of the season to the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Four minutes later though Limerick got the most unlikely of goals back when Sean Harding’s overhit free from 40 yards was allowed creep into the net by Gary Rogers.

Gartland finished another Meenan corner on 64 mintues to make it 5-1 but once again Limerick responded six minutes later when Shane Duggan slotted under Rogers.

Dundalk would have the last say though as substitute Tony Whitehead turned Jake Kelly’s cross into his own net a minute from time to complete the rout.

Dundalk:

Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Meenan, O’Donnell (Shields 60), Towell, Horgan (Kelly 81); Finn; McMillan (Mountney 69).

Limerick FC:

O’Donnell; Harding (Whitehead 86), Price, Williams, Tracy; Hughes (Mann 62), Duggan, O’Conor, Purcell, Rainsford (Faherty 62); Clarke.

Referee:

R Rogers (Dublin).

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