Limerick 0 Dundalk 3: New Limerick FC boss Neil McDonald watched his side slip to defeat to Dundalk – and finish the game with 10 men after keeper Brendan Clarke was ref carded – at the Markets Field last night.
Two goals from David McMillan and a late strike Sean Gannon secured the points for the defending champions at the Garryowen venue. It all went quickly wrong on a night to forget for the for the home team.
Disaster struck for the home side in the 18th minute after Clarke was sent off for handling Michael Duffy’s cross outside the box, with midfielder Lee J Lynch making way for substitute net-minder Freddy Hall.
Up to that point, the visitors had dominated with Duffy sending a free over the bar and Patrick McEleney narrowly out following a neat lay off from Robbie Benson 15 minutes in.
Dundalk finally opened the scoring in the half hour after McMillian slotted home from the spot following a foul on McEleney by Paul O’Connor inside the area.
Eight minutes later, Hall was picking the ball out of the back of the net again, McMillan powerfully heading home after Duffy broke free down the wing and delivered the perfect centre.
James McGrath was next to threaten, and Duffy was narrowly out with a goal of the month contender courtesy of a volley from a clever pass from McEleney.
Limerick finished the half without having a shot on target, and it was Dundalk that got out of the blocks faster after the break, McEleney again threatening outside the box, but Chris Mulhall won a free kick at the other end.
Shane Duggan’s delivery, however, was well held by Gary Rogers while Dundalk got the rub of the green after Chiedozie was adjudged to have pushed a Dundalk player into Mulhall who was sent sprawling.
Stephen Kenny’s side were back on the offensive soon after, with Hall doing well to get his gloves on a Dane Massey cross at the second attempt and McMillan being denied a hat-trick after his header came back off the bar.
Benson should have pulled the trigger earlier after a promising move but delayed and Limerick cleared, while Obgene was denied by a fine challenge from Massey after waltzing past two defenders, Ogbene winning a corner moments later.
Bastien Hery whipped in the flag kick to the near post, but the Dundalk defence was alert to Robbie William’s arrival, while Hall pulled off a brilliant save to keep the deficit at two and then denied Duffy.
The back-pedalling Hall saved from Niclas Vemmelund mid-way through the half, but Dundalk, for all their possession, almost conceded with Mulhall unlucky to see the ball bounce awkwardly inside the area.
Gannon sealed the win late on with an excellent finish on a frustrating night for new Limerick FC manager McDonald.
Clarke, Cotter (Turner 78), Robson, Williams, Duggan, Hery, Lynch (Hall 18), Mulhall (Tosi 70) Clarke, Ogbene, Clarke
Rogers, Barrett, Hoare, Massey, Benson (Benson 60) Vemmelund (Gannon 68). Duffy, McEleny, McGrath, Shields, McMillan (Kilduff 85)
P McLaughlin (Monaghan)
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