Dundalk back in business to overpower battling Finn Harps

Champions Dundalk bounced back from last week’s first defeat of the season with an assured performance against Finn Harps in Ballybofey.

Dundalk back in business to overpower battling Finn Harps

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Finn Harps 0

Dundalk 4

Champions Dundalk bounced back from last week’s first defeat of the season with an assured performance against Finn Harps in Ballybofey.

First-half goals from Pat Hoban and Michael Duffy paved the way for victory and the Lilywhites go back level on points at the summit with Shamrock Rovers, who play Sligo on Saturday night. Duffy set up the opener on the left side of the box as he laid the ball off to Hoban who looked up and placed his shot beyond the stretching arm of a despairing Mark Anthony McGinley after three minutes.

Given Harps’ recent miserable record against Dundalk, there were grounds for concern in the home camp after conceding so early on.

But Harps responded positively and took the game to the visitors. Towering 22-year-old Austrian striker Alexander Kogler was nearly in only to be denied by the alert Greg Sloggett.

Harps went close to an equaliser with Mark Russell’s curling effort tipped away for a corner by Gary Rogers.

But Dundalk pounced on a counterattack on 37 minutes to double their tally.

Hoban played the ball out to Michael Duffy who ran into the box and picked out the supporting Daniel Kelly. The latter’s shot smacked his shot off the crossbar but Duffy was on hand to follow up and stab the ball into the net.

Dundalk put the game beyond Harps on 51 minutes. Dane Massey’s initial shot was blocked by McGinley but Hoban nipped in to tuck away the loose ball.

Harps kept battling and Sean Gannon had to clear a Kogler header off the line but Dundalk added a fourth on 81 minutes as Greg Sloggett nipped in to score from close range for what was ultimately a flattering scoreline.

FINN HARPS: McGinley: S. McEleney (Coyle, 45 mins), Sadiki, Todd; Webster, McNamee, R. Harkin (G, Harkin, 67 mins), Connolly, Russell; Kogler, O’Sullivan, (Cretaro, 76 mins).

DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Hoare, Massey; D. Kelly (Colovic, 70 mins), Smith, Shields, Sloggett, Duffy (P. McEleney, 75); Hoban, (G. Kelly, 78 mins).

Referee: R Harvey (Dublin)

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