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05 Jul 2022

Euphoria at Oriel as Robbie Benson goal sees Dundalk defeat Shamrock Rovers

Euphoria at Oriel as Robbie Benson goal sees Dundalk defeat Shamrock Rovers

Robbie Benson of Dundalk, second from left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Shamrock Rovers. (Pic: Sportsfile)

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Dundalk 1-0 Shamrock Rovers

Dundalk FC have heaped more pressure on Shamrock Rovers at the top of the SSE Airtricity League table after an incredible 1-0 win over The Hoops at Oriel Park.

Stephen O’Donnell, who was serving a suspension, witnessed his team win a fifth match on the bounce as they closed the gap at the top to five points, all while having a game in hand. Robbie Benson scored the decisive goal on 80 minutes to give Dundalk the three points.

They also had the game’s first attempt through Patrick Hoban, whose header went wide after he had gotten on the end of a set-piece delivery from the left by Steven Bradley.

At the other end, Rory Gaffney saw an effort go off target following a good Rovers break, while Richie Towell volleyed over the top after good work on the right by Gary O’Neill.

Both sides were cancelling each other out, but the hosts went close on 20 minutes after another dangerous Bradley free-kick was directed wide by the head of Darragh Leahy.

Rovers frontman Gaffney was causing problems for Dundalk and he had two chances in quick succession – first firing wide after a pushing Andy Boyle off the ball, before another attempt was then deflected into the arms of Nathan Shepperd by Lewis Macari.

The second half was barely a minute old when Gaffney caused more issue for The Lilywhites, this time getting the better of Mark Connolly before hitting the side-netting.

Benson then tried his luck from outside the box, however his shot was deflected wide – cue a goalmouth scramble from the resulting corner, but to no avail for Dundalk.

Throughout the night, Greg Sloggett and Paul Doyle were excellent in midfield, and the latter saw a long-range attempt dip just over the crossbar on 58 minutes, while only seconds later, he again fired over after a Benson corner had eventually fallen to him.

Unbeaten at home this season, Dundalk were looking the more likely to break the deadlock, and Sloggett unleashed a shot from outside the box which sailed just over.

Indeed, Oriel erupted ten minutes from time when a pinpoint delivery from right-back Macari was excellently finished into the top of the netting by the inrushing Benson.

Ex-Dundalk favourite and current Rovers captain Finn was soon after that given his marching orders for a second yellow card following a disgraceful challenge on Leahy. And, Dundalk withstood over four minutes of stoppage-time to claim a priceless win.

Dundalk FC: Nathan Shepperd; Lewis Macari, Mark Connolly, Andy Boyle, Darragh Leahy; Greg Sloggett, Paul Doyle (Sam Bone 76); Steven Bradley (Joe Adams 85), Robbie Benson, Daniel Kelly; Patrick Hoban (John Martin 85)

Subs not used: Peter Cherrie (gk), Mayowa Animasahun, Mark Hanratty, Ryan O’Kane, David McMillan

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Ronan Finn, Gary O’Neill, Richie Towell, Sean Kavanagh; Dylan Watts (Chris McCann 65), Rory Gaffney (Aaron Greene 82), Danny Mandroiu

Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Sean Gannon, Barry Cotter, Justin Ferizaj, Andy Lyons, Neil Farrugia, Aidomo Emakhu

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

Attendance: 3,409

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