Dundalk ‘reserves’ march on to last eight

Goals in either half from Ronan Murray and Georgie Kelly saw Dundalk overcome Finn Harps at Oriel Park last night to book their place in the FAI Cup quarter-finals.

Dundalk ‘reserves’ march on to last eight

By James Rogers

[team1]Dundalk[/team1][score1]2[/score1][team2]Finn Harps[/team2][score2]0[/score2][/score]

Goals in either half from Ronan Murray and Georgie Kelly saw Dundalk overcome Finn Harps at Oriel Park last night to book their place in the FAI Cup quarter-finals.

Stephen Kenny made seven changes to his side from their 2-0 win away to Sligo Rovers in midweek, and with one eye on Tuesday’s league match at home to Shamrock Rovers.

Nevertheless, his much-changed side proved too strong for a Finn Harps team who had manager Ollie Horgan sent off for dissent just before the hour mark.

The visitors gave a good account of themselves overall with the first big chance falling their way in the ninth minute when Ciaran Coll beat Gabriel Sava with a free kick — only to see the ball flash just wide.

The Donegal side had a let-off of their own three minutes later when a thunderbolt of a shot from 25 yards from John Mountney cannoned off the underside of the crossbar. Mountney was fouled chasing the rebound with Murray’s resultant free then having to be pushed over by Ciaran Gallagher.

The Harps goalkeeper was called into action again on 16 minutes when Gallagher saved from Kelly.

Dundalk’s pressure finally told when they were awarded a penalty after Dane Massey was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Jacob Borg. Murray then blasted to the bottom-right-hand corner to give the home side a deserved lead in the 24th minute.

To their credit, Ollie Horgan’s side didn’t roll over after that and almost levelled matters on 36 minutes when Mark TImlin got in behind the Louth side’s defence only to see his effort pushed over by Gabriel Sava.

Sean Gannon then went close to the goal of the season four minutes before the break: Wide on the right, he met Sean Hoare’s free kick on the volley only to see it loop over Gallagher and onto the roof of the net.

Niall Logue did go close to an equaliser with a header from a Coll free kick shortly after the restart, but any hopes they had of a turnaround were ended when Dundalk doubled their advantage on 52 minutes.

Dean Jarvis released Murray on the right, with his first-time cross being met by the head of Kelly, who nodded past Gallagher for his first Lilywhites goal.

The night then went from bad to worse for the visitors when they had their manager sent off by referee Paul McLaughlin seven minutes later.

It was largely one-way traffic after that, with Dylan Connolly going closest to a third with two late efforts, the first of which he pulled wide and the second of which he fired straight at Gallagher.

Dundalk: Sava; Gannon (Folan 89), Cleary, Hoare, Massey; Mountney, Jarvis; Connolly, McEleney (Duffy 76), Murray, Kelly (Hoban 85). Subs not used: Rogers, Shields, McGrath, Benson.

Finn Harps: Gallagher; Kavanagh (Devers 78), Borg, Cowan, Logue, Coll; Coyle, Harkin, McBride (Place 65), Timlin; Boyle (Sobowale 65). Subs not used: Burke, Friel, O’Flynn, McCourt.

Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).

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