Geraldines' Conor Rafferty and Adrian Rafferty of Dundalk Gaels. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Dundalk Gaels 0-8 Geraldines 1-10
Geraldines secured their first league victory of the campaign at the Ramparts on Tuesday night as Dundalk Gaels' miserable five-game winless run continued.
The Haggardstown outfit led the contest from start-to-finish, opening the scoring with a fine goal from Glen Trainor.
Trailing 1-8 to five-points at half-time, having had the strong breeze at their backs, Gaels faced a mammoth task to get back into the match and while they played somewhat better; the result was never in any doubt.
They face Dreadnots in Clogherhead next which, on the current form of both sides, is a hugely daunting prospect. Undoubtedly, having failed to win since defeating St. Bride's in round one, granted they have drawn twice, Malachy O'Rourke's side look supremely low on confidence, especially when compared to the swagger they had at this stage 12 months ago, ahead of their run to the latter stages of both the league and championship.
In contrast, and surprisingly so having let a considerable lead slip in Cooley on Saturday night to sink to the foot of the table, the Gers were impressive in building a match-winning lead.
Trainor was uncompromising in rampaging through on goal and picking out the bottom corner after just two-minutes, and while Gaels closed the gap to the minimum with four of the opening six-points through Éanna McArdle (free), Gerard McSorley and one each for the Murray twins, Seán and Óisín, their play swiftly became erratic as Conor Rafferty came to the fore in the visitors' attack.
The former Cooley Kickhams man raised the white flag thrice while Michael Rogers registered in between as Wayne Callan's side went to the break in complete control.
And, for the entirety of the second-half, even if they failed to submit as many men to attack, they retained that sense of superiority, turning over the Gaels' laboured moves forward with ease.
Only five-points were scored; three for Gaels, two from McArdle and one for Anthony McSorley, and two for Gers, through Paddy Geoghegan (free) and Trainor. Though, the contest could have finished considerably closer had Gaels converted some of their plentiful opportunities. McSorley, who replaced the injured Seán McCann, may well have struck a goal had he lowered the trajectory of his shot, while they hit a half dozen wides in the last 20 minutes.
Suddenly, the relegation battle has expanded and Gaels, on this evidence, are certainly one of those trying to resist its pull. Gers, meanwhile, are off the mark and buoyant ahead of Sunday's trip to St. Patrick's.
Dundalk Gaels: Joe O'Donoghue; David McComish, Jamie Faulkner, Conor Morgan; Óisín Murray (0-1), Barry Watters, Adrian Rafferty; Seán McCann, James Stewart; Eamonn Kenny, Jason Clarke, Seán Murray (0-1); Éanna McArdle (0-3, frees), Gerard McSorley (0-2), Chris Sweeney
Subs: Niall Hearty for Rafferty, Emmet Masterson for Kenny, Anthony McSorley (0-1) for McCann, Jordan Keating for Sweeney, Errol Boyle for McArdle
Geraldines: Seán McEneaney; James Corrigan, Jack Traynor, Dan Corcoran; Killian Dempsey, James Craven (0-1), Gareth Neacy; Paddy Hoey, Matthew Corcoran; Seán Thornton, Glen Trainor (1-1), Shaun Callan (0-1); Conor Rafferty (0-4, three frees), Michael Rogers (0-1), Paddy Geoghegan (0-2, one free)
Subs: Josh Arrowsmith for Rafferty, Shane Rogers for Geoghegan, Kevin Pepper for Dempsey, Ronan Green for Arrowsmith, Andrew Lynch for Michael Rogers
Referee: Noel Hand (Hunterstown Rovers)