Hoban on target as Lilywhites get off the mark

Padraig Whelan at Or

Reporter:

Padraig Whelan at Or

The 200 or so hardy souls who spurned a night in front of the fire in favour of the friendly showdown between Dundalk and Wexford Youths at Oriel Park last at Tuesday night were treated to the home side’s opening win of 2014.

The 200 or so hardy souls who spurned a night in front of the fire in favour of the friendly showdown between Dundalk and Wexford Youths at Oriel Park last at Tuesday night were treated to the home side’s opening win of 2014.

The game also gave their fans a glimpse of Canadian trialist Graham Fisher - a man who formerly had a trial with Real Madrid and was signed by Budesliga side Schalke - who started in behind the central striker in a 4-3-3 formation.

It was the man on the left side of the attacking trident, David McMillan, who proved a danger to the Wexford backline early on but he passed up a trio of chances inside the opening 20 minutes, twice cutting in to fire low with efforts that Graham Doyle thwarted while he also headed a Kurtis Byrne cross wide of the mark.

Patrick Hoban was next to go close for Dundalk as he drilled a low strike from another enticing Byrne delivery inches wide of the mark.

After 28 minutes, the opener arrived. McMillan fed Hoban inside the box and, ever the predatory instinct, he immediately looked for goal. With all angles covered, he unselfishly laid back to the edge of the box where Sean Gannon was lurking and he coolly stroked the ball tidily into the corner.

Two minutes later the Lilywhites doubled that advantage as the provider turned predator when Hoban got his first goal of the calendar year. The ball fell kindly to him from a knock down inside the area and the Galway native was never going to miss from close range.

One of the major reasons given for acquiring Ruaidhri Higgins was his ability to pick a pass and based on this evidence, he will fulfil every bit of those expectations as he sprayed passes over the field, long and short, at will from his position in front of the back four.

Gannon and Daryl Horgan, when he entered from the bench in the second half, also showed what shrewd signings they could prove to be over the course of the season.

The introduction of a glut of second half substitutes took something of the sting out of the contest for both sides with a last gasp block from Killian Cantwell preventing Marc Griffin before he cleared off the line to deny John Mountney.

By close of play, there were certainly plenty of positives to be taken away from the game for The Town. Another 90 minutes under their belts at this time is always key.

DUNDALK: Gabriel Sava; Mark Rossiter (Dane Massey 59), Simon Kelly (Andy Boyle 59), Chris Shields, Sean Gannon Ruaidhri Higgins, John Mountney, Graham Fisher (Richie Towell H/T); Kurtis Byrne (Daryl Horgan 59), Patrick Hoban (Marc Griffin 59), David McMillan.