Dundalk have one hand on the Premier League title after opening up a six-point lead at the top of the table against battling Limerick FC at the Markets Field last night.
Michael Duffy’s 12th goal of the season secured the points for the visitors, who have beaten the Blues four times home and away in the league this season, scoring 16 goals in the process and conceding none.
Lilywhites boss Stephen Kenny wanted a response from his side after their defeat to Shamrock Rovers in mid-week and he certainly got that in the latter part of the second half against a Limerick outfit who probably deserved something from this game.
Duffy threatened for the visitors early on but his strike was saved by Tommy Holland, who held a Dan Cleary header from a Jamie McGrath corner under his bar with Dundalk pressing inside the opening five minutes.
At the other end, Will Fitzgerald shot straight at Gary Rogers from just outside the area after combining with Connor Ellis and Karl O’Sullivan, who tested Rogers moments later, Ellis again the provider 20 minutes into the half.
Dundalk were enjoying the lion’s share of possession at this point with Limerick threatening sporadically on the break.
The league leaders almost made the breakthrough on the half hour. Michael Duffy fired his free kick into the wall and Dean Jarvis saw his low effort from the rebound saved by Holland before Dylan Connolly nodded just wide.
However, Rogers had to save a glancing header from Cian Coleman approaching half-time. Dundalk’s response was almost immediate, Patrick Hoban seeing his 44th minute powerful diving header brilliantly saved by Holland.
Rogers again kept his goal intact immediately after the break; Karl O’Sullivan fed Ellis but his shot was saved by the Dundalk net-minder who got a slight touch on the 25-yard drive.
Limerick, their belief growing, saw a cross hacked cleared from inside the six-yard box and Garland had to clear at the expense of a corner with Tommy Barrett’s side piling the pressure on.
Dundalk had a penalty appeal waved aside in the 53rd minute after Hoban went down inside the area and Duffy had his shot blocked down.
The visitors threatened again minutes later after Barry Mcguire upended Chris Shields just outside the box but Duffy’s free kick cleared the crossbar. Limerick broke again, going close through Fitzgerald.
Duffy netted low and hard from inside the box nine minutes from time after a Hoban effort was deflected into his path on an evening when Dundalk fans were also cheering Sligo’s late winner against Cork City at Turner’s Cross.
Second-from bottom Limerick again meet the Lilywhites at the Markets Field next weekend in the FAI Cup.
Holland, O’Sullivan, Murphy, Kennedy, Tracy, Brouder, Maguire, Duggan, Coleman, Tracy, Fitzgerald (Dennehy 79), Ellis (Morrissey 75).
Rogers, Gannon, Cleary, Gartland, Connolly (Murray 46), Jarvis, Duffy, Benson (McEleney 77) McGrath (Mountney 67), Shields, Hoban