FOOTBALL

McEleney magic makes it three wins on the trot for Dundalk FC

Dundalk FC 1-0 Limerick

Gavin McLaughlin at Oriel Park

Reporter:

Gavin McLaughlin at Oriel Park

Email:

gavin@dundalkdemocrat.ie

McEleney magic makes it three wins on the trot for Dundalk FC

Patrick McEleney celebrates his goal against Limerick. Picture: Ciaran Culligan

Patrick McEleney’s wonder goal was enough to secure Dundalk a hard fought win against newly promoted Limerick at Oriel Park.

McEleney opened his account for the season with a sublime free-kick against Sligo six nights earlier but he topped that with an even better finish here in the 32nd minute.

The Limerick defence would have felt comfortable when he cut in from the right but the 24-year-old unleashed a stunning left-footed effort that had Freddy Hall grasping for thin air in the Blues goal.

The hosts had an early chance inside the opening two minutes but Robbie Benson headed wide from a good position.

The ball zipped around the new artificial surface, making for a lively start, and Stephen Kenny - the Limerick winger - almost beat Gabriel Sava with a dipping drive that just cleared the crossbar.

The high tempo opening continued and Paddy Barrett’s beautiful reverse pass found McEleney who drove towards goal but his effort was well blocked by Robbie Williams.

Michael Duffy saw a drive deflected just wide of the upright on the half hour mark as Dundalk showed signs of making the breakthrough.

And they did that two minutes later when McEleney brought the house down with his sensational strike.

He came close to a second in the 37th minute when he curled another left-footed effort at goal but this time his free kick went wide of the mark.

The second half opened in similar fashion to the first with McEleney and Kilduff almost combining to devastating effect.

At the other end, Dean Clarke tried to catch Sava out at the near post with a clever attempt from the left but the ‘keeper dealt with it well.

Benson almost made it 2-0 when he burst forward only to see his guided left-footed effort drift agonisingly wide of Hall’s post from 20 yards.

Limerick remained very much in the game but they struggled to make any real clear-cut openings.

Rodrigo Tosi was given room to meet a cross from substitute Ian Turner but the Brazilian couldn’t place his header either side of Sava.

The home supporters became anxious as the game drifted towards the final 10 minutes and Limerick 'keeper Hall headed wide right at the death but Dundalk saw it out to extend their winning start to three games.

DUNDALK FC: Sava; Gannon, Gartland, Barrett, Vemmelund; Clifford, Benson; McGrath (Mountney 66), McEleney, Duffy (Shields 81); Kilduff (Stewart 74).

LIMERICK: Hall; Kelly, Williams, Whitehead, Robson; Duggan, Lynch, O’Conor (Coughlan 77); Kenny (Turner 61), Tosi, Clarke (Ogbene 82).

REFEREE: Rob Harvey.

ATTENDANCE: 3,286.