Dundalk FC's Dane Massey goes down under the challenge of Mark Coyle of Finn Harps for the penalty which saw the Lilywhites take the lead in tonight's FAI Cup match. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup round two
Dundalk FC 2-0 Finn Harps
Dundalk FC advanced to the quarter-finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup for the eighth season on the trot courtesy of a 2-0 win over Finn Harps at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Stephen Kenny's men were the dominant outfit in a largely one-sided affair, yet only Ronan Murray's 24th-minute penalty stood between the sides at the break.
However, Georgie Kelly's first goal for Dundalk ensured a more comfortable victory in front of 1,823.
On reflection, Harps 'boss Ollie Horgan will leave disappointed by the manner of his team's earliest concession. As home skipper Dane Massey broke into the area, he was unceremoniously booted by Harps' Mark Coyle, who seemed oblivious to the incoming Dundalk defender.
It was a clear-cut decision, but Horgan still saw it fit to challenge the referee, Paul McLaughlin, at half-time and early in the second half over his officiating, resulting in his banishment to the stands, a move which had patrons in the main stand ironically cheering.
That, 1-0, was how things stood at the break, although there were chances at both ends to alter the scoreline. Most of the openings fell at the Carrick Road end of the ground, where John Mountney (2) and Seán Gannon went close for Dundalk. The former, with his first attempt, crashed a shot off the 'bar as the hosts sought a breakthrough.
But, on the breakaway, the Donegal side posed a threat and it took a tip-over stop from Gabriel Sava to deny Mark Timlin after a rare error from Daniel Cleary.
Mountney was one of seven changes from Monday's win over Sligo Rovers and he made an impact, as too did Kelly at centre-forward. Kelly had already netted four times against the side from his native county in UCD colours this campaign and added to that tally with a headed finish from Murray's deep cross in the early stages of the second half.
Dylan Connolly twice ought to have added a third for the winners in the closing stages, but it mattered little as Dundalk enter Monday's draw.
Dundalk FC: Gabriel Sava; Seán Gannon (Stephen Folan 89), Daniel Cleary, Seán Hoare, Dane Massey; John Mountney, Dean Jarvis; Dylan Connolly, Patrick McEleney (Michael Duffy 76), Ronan Murray; Georgie Kelly (Patrick Hoban 84)
Subs not used: Gary Rogers (gk), Chris Shields, Robbie Benson, Jamie McGrath
Finn Harps: Ciarán Gallagher; John Kavanagh (Jesse Devers 78), Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Niall Logue, Ciarán Coll; Mark Coyle, Gareth Harkin, Tommy McBride (Mikey Place 65), Mark Timlin; Nathan Boyle (Oluwatunmise Sobowale 65)
Subs not used: Peter Burke (gk), Aidan Friel, John O'Flynn, Paddy McCourt
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)
Attendance: 1,823 (official)