Dundalk U19s opened their Northern Division season with a convincing win against Letterkenny Rovers at Oriel Park on Saturday.
Two excellent first-half goals from Craig Doherty and George Poynton set Martin Connolly’s side on their way before substitute Padraig McGowan and another from Doherty completed the rout in the second-half.
A quiet opening saw few chances created from either side. Conor McDonald was unlucky on a couple of occasions not to slip a team-mate in when in possession on the edge of the box and right-back Scott Craven also saw an effort go well wide.
Dundalk took the lead in the 15th minute with a beautifully worked move. Kevin Nolan and Ciaran O’Connor combined to set Craven away on the right. His cross caused havoc in the Rovers six-yard box and it was hammered home by Craig Doherty from close range.
That settled Dundalk down and they should have doubled their advantage five minutes later. O’Connor cut the ball back from the left but the incoming Poynton blazed over from 12-yards.
Connolly’s team continued to press but their next chance didn’t arrive until the 35th minute when O’Connor raced in behind the Rovers defence but the striker could only drag his shot wide of the upright.
McDonald was then denied in the 37th minute as Jason Quinn pulled off a wonderful save from point blank range after being set up by Craig Pentony.
Dundalk’s pressure eventually told and goal number two arrived in the 41st minute.
Craig Doherty’s cross from the left was inch perfect and Poynton thundered in to guide a fantastic header across Quinn and into the top corner.
The young Lilywhites looked comfortable throughout the second-half and McDonald was denied again by Quinn after O’Connor put him through with another neat pass.
Letterkenny were second best throughout and it was no surprise when Dundalk added a third goal in the 75th minute when substitute Padraig McGowan tapped home after good work on the byline by Conor McDonald.
The icing was eventually put on the cake in the final minute when Doherty added a second late on.
Dundalk U19: Ryan Davis; Scott Craven (Caolan Reilly 77), Paul Finnegan (Vladev Essev 77), Manny Kaguako, Manifide Montawdo; Craig Pentony (Padraig McGowan 67), George Poynton, Kevin Nolan, Craig Doherty; Conor McDonald, Ciaran O’Connor. Unused subs: Dylan O’Hanlon, Frank Osadebe,.
Letterkenny Rovers: Jason Quinn; Kiaran Doherty, Liam Blayney, Shane Porter, Noah Mailey; Michael Mullen, Kevin McGrath, Ryan McCluskey (Kevin O’Donnell 81), Cormac Callaghan (Brendan Toye 58); Marty Vance (Jake Blake 45+1), Jason Doherty. Unused subs: Tristan Ferris, David Tyrell, Aaron Scanlon.
Referee: Matthew Farrell.