Seán Hoare (Dundalk) and Vinny Faherty of Galway in action tonight (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Dundalk 2-0 Galway United
Dundalk cut Cork's lead at the summit of the Premier Division table to 15 points with a facile 2-0 victory over league strugglers Galway United at Oriel Park tonight
It took the minimum effort from the hosts to secure the victory in the end as Galway looked to be trialing a containment effort from a very early stage.
The main down sight from Stephen Kenny's point of view will be his team's inability to finish the game off earlier with Dane Massey's 15th minute goal all that separated the sides for almost an hour of a game which was effectively a one-horse race.
Patrick McEleney's seventh goal of the season saw Dundalk deservedly double their advantage 18 minutes into the second-half. It was all their play merited to say the least as the Lilywhites comfortably negotiated the final period to secure a third consecutive three-points.
Kenny had asked for an improved atmosphere around the ground before kick-off. His principal reasoning being the amount of goals his side have gotten in recent weeks and Massey enhanced their tally to 11 majors in three games. The left-back was afforded the freedom of the six-yard box to attack Michael Duffy's corner-kick and nod powerfully past the static Conor Winn.
Thereafter, the game settled into somewhat of a lull with Dundalk in complete control. Robbie Benson, who shot wide shortly after the opener, and McEleney dictated proceedings against a Galway side who showed next to no attacking intent.
Duffy was lively, as was Jamie McGrath, but there was a lack of end product in the final-third. Seán Hoare had a half-chance to extend the lead in the lead up to the break. However, his acrobatic attempt from Chris Shields' front post flick on sailed off target.
At the end of a pretty damp opening 45 minutes, the Lilywhites led 1-0 having totally dominated affairs. On the other hand, Galway never tested Gary Rogers once...
Shane Keegan's men showed a brief glimmer of life early in the second-period, however, it didn't take them long to settle back into their ultra-defensive mindset as Dundalk took control once more.
Paddy Barrett missed a glorious chance from a close-range header and McMillan ought to have doubled the lead subsequently, having drawn a decent save from Winn, before McEleney capitalised on poor defending from Alex Byrne to shoot low past the custodian, making it 2-0 and game over despite 27 minutes still to be played.
The final half-hour or so was fairly uneventful with Galway continuing their policy of containment despite trailing, and eventually losing, by a two-goal margin.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Seán Gannon, Paddy Barrett, Chris Shields, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Michael Duffy (John Mountney 71), Patrick McEleney, Jamie McGrath (Thomas Stewart 84); David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 69).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Brian Gartland, Stephen O'Donnell, Conor Clifford
Galway United: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Lee Grace, Stephen Folan, Marc Ludden; Alex Byrne, Paul Sinnott; Gary Shanahan (Ronan Murray 71), Conor Melody (Aaron Conway 87), Kevin Devaney; Vinny Faherty (Owen McCormack 87)
Subs not used: James Tierney (gk), Gary Kinneen, Padraic Cunningham, David Cawley
Booked: Shanahan (36),
Referee: Robert Harvey