Dundalk FC's Patrick Hoban hooks an effort towards goal amid the challenge of Derek Prendergast of Drogheda United during tonight's Jim Malone Cup affair at Oriel Park. (Pic: Sportsfile)
Dundalk FC 2-0 Drogheda United
Dundalk FC were presented with the Jim Malone Perpetual Trophy for the fifth time running on Thursday night, thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over local rivals Drogheda United at Oriel Park.
The annual pre-season encounter, contested between two of Louth’s finest, was won by The Lilywhites courtesy of second half goals from two substitutes – Jordan Flores and Georgie Kelly.
After missing all three of Dundalk’s pre-season friendlies thus far, goalkeeper Aaron McCarey returned to the fold, but Scottish trialist Cammy Smith was notable by his absence from the squad.
Lido Lotefa, who is reportedly set to join Bray Wanderers on a loan deal, was named on the bench.
The home supporters finally got a chance to look at Ross Treacy, who recently joined Drogheda following two seasons without ever making an appearance as Dundalk’s third-choice goalkeeper, but his evening lasted just over five minutes after he landed awkwardly following a Dundalk attack.
He was replaced by another ex-Lilywhite, David Odumosu, who gathered safely from Darragh Leahy following a lovely whipped cross from Seán Gannon, that had evaded the entire Drogheda back four.
Odumosu, who played with the Dundalk U19s last season, was on hand to save once again, this time from Patrick Hoban’s close-range effort after Seán Murray had sent a free-kick into the danger area.
The hosts had the better of what was a drab opening 45 minutes, with Dane Massey heading well over with the goal at his mercy from Murray’s corner, before doing the exact same moments later.
Dundalk went close again just before the interval when Gannon’s pass broke kindly for Greg Sloggett, whose close-range attempt was, again, excellently saved by the young Drogheda ‘keeper.
Odumosu’s resistance was finally broken seconds after the restart, when Flores – one of five players introduced at half-time by manager Vinny Perth – diverted his looping header home following what was a neat exchange on the right flank between Daniel Kelly and Gannon.
Flores went reasonably close to grabbing his and Dundalk’s second of the night not long after that, when, from Massey’s cross, he dragged a long-range effort just wide, with Odumosu at full stretch.
The ever-impressive Gannon did exceptionally well, taking the ball past a couple of Drogheda defenders, before forcing Odumosu into yet another brilliant save, this time tipping the ball over.
Drogheda rarely troubled the League of Ireland champions, but Stephen Meaney and Seán Brennan did force Gabriel Sava, who is currently training with the club, into two saves in quick succession.
However, the home side doubled their advantage 10 minutes from time when Daniel Kelly did well on the right before cutting it back for namesake Georgie Kelly, who finished with ease to make it 2-0.
The First Division side quite simply had no answers after that, as Dundalk collected the Malone Cup, extending Drogheda’s record of failing to land the silverware since 2014.
Dundalk FC: Aaron McCarey (Gabriel Sava HT); Daniel Cleary (Taner Dogan 83), Brian Gartland (Seán Hoare HT), Dane Massey; Seán Gannon, Chris Shields (Andrew Quinn 83), Greg Sloggett (Lido Lotefa 74), Darragh Leahy (Daniel Kelly HT); Michael Duffy (Mark Hanratty 82), Seán Murray (Jordan Flores HT); Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly HT)
Drogheda United: Ross Treacy (David Odumosu 8); James Brown, Hugh Douglas, Derek Prendergast (Jack Tuite 71), Conor Kane (Ryan O’Shea 71); Adam Wixted (Stephen Meaney 55), Richie O’Farrell, Jake Hyland (Frank Cabraley 78), Brandon Bermingham (Jordan Adeyemo 55); Mark Doyle (Sean Brennan 63); Chris Lyons (James Clarke 74)
Subs not used: Jack McCarthy (gk), Luke Heeney
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)