SSE Airtricity Premier Division
Dundalk 1 Longford 0
Daryl Horgan’s early strike ensured champions Dundalk got their title defence off to a winning start against newly promoted Longford Town at Oriel Park last night.
The winger’s 16th minute strike was a rare moment of quality in a game that had a pre-season feel about it for long periods as both sides looked to be still finding their groove.
After a tentative opening John Mountney played a superb ball down the right to release new signing Ronan Finn, with the former Shamrock Rovers man squaring across the six-yard box for Horgan to sweep home ahead of Pat Sullivan.
A goal down to the champions away from home early on, things went from bad to worse for Tony Cousins’ side just before the half hour mark when goalkeeper Paul Hunt had to be replaced by Paul Skinner after failing to recover from a collision with Mountney.
Still, the First Division champions frustrated the hosts for long periods with Skinner coming to his side’s rescue seven minutes after the restart when blocked a point blank effort from David McMillan that looped wide.
Dundalk captain Andy Boyle then crashed a header against the bar from on 58 minutes before Brian Gartland had an effort cleared off the line by Kevin O’Connor 14 minutes later.
Stephen Kenny’s side continued to push for a second goal but Skinner pulled off a fine save to deny Horgan 10 minutes from the end before producing an even better stop to deny Richie Towell from 10 yards out moments later.
Those missed chances almost came back to haunt the Louth men as Gary Rogers was required to come to their rescue twice late on, firstly denying David O’Sullivan with his legs before pushing a Gary Shaw effort onto the crossbar two minutes into stoppage time.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Mountney, Shields, Towell, Horgan; Finn (Barrett 91), McMillan (Byrne 78). Subs not used: Grimes, Kelly, O’Connor, Poynton, Sava.
LONGFORD TOWN: Hunt (Skinner 29); Sullivan, Flynn, Tyrell, Powell; Salmon; Shannon (O’Sullivan 61), O’Connor, Rice, Deady (Ben Mohamed 74); Shaw. Subs not used: Morris, Simon, Rossiter, Gorman.
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).
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