Dundalk close the gap on the top two after fifth win in six

A Daniel Kelly goal early in the second half paved the way for third-placed Dundalk to chalk up their fifth win in six games and close the gap on both Derry City and Shamrock Rovers
Dundalk close the gap on the top two after fifth win in six

Dundalk head coach Stephen O'Donnell saw his side come out on top, 1-0. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 1 (Kelly 53) 

A Daniel Kelly goal early in the second half paved the way for third-placed Dundalk to chalk up their fifth win in six games and close the gap on both Derry City and Shamrock Rovers after their defeats against Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United respectively.

But Stephen O’Donnell’s men had to work hard against a resolute Harps side who have now picked up just three points from their last seven outings.

Dundalk enjoyed plenty of possession early but it was Harps who produced the first real chance of note when following a free from Regan Donelon the ball fell into the path of Jesse Devers in a dangerous position but he was unable to get the telling connection required.

Dundalk captain Pat Hoban fired just past the post on 19 minutes but Harps really should have taken the lead just afterwards when Eric McWoods whipped in a cross from the right and Yoyo Madhy came charging in but failed to get on the end of it inside the six yard box.

Harps had a real let off just after the half hour mark when a mix-up in defence presented Daniel Kelly with a great opportunity but he scooped his effort over the crossbar.

The visitors got what turned out to be the matchwinner in the 53rd minute after Harps failed to clear and Kelly’s well placed shot flew past McGinley despite Donolan’s best efforts on the line to prevent the ball going in.

Harps almost equalised in the 65th minute when Ryan Connolly let fly with a thundering strike that Nathan Shepperd did well to tip over.

But Dundalk held on for a big win that puts them firmly in the title race.

Finn Harps: McGinley; Boyle, Tourish, Slevin, Donolan; McWoods, Rainey, Connolly, Timlin (Mihaljevic 6, 61 mins); Mahdy, Devers (Rudden, 64 mins).

Dundalk: Shepperd; Macari, Bone, Boyle, Leahy; Doyle (Benson, 64 mins); Martin (Bradley, 71 mins), Sloggett, Ward, Kelly (Adams, 78 mins); Hoban (McMillan, 78 mins). 

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Dublin).

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