First-half was as good as it gets for Vinny

Speaking after the 5-1 demolition of Shelbourne on Friday night, Dundalk first-team coach Vinny Perth hailed his side’s first-half display in Tolka Park as ‘one of the best 45 minutes of football he has ever seen’.

The Lilywhites had their place in the semi-final draw booked by the time referee Padraigh Sutton had blown his half-time whistle as they ruthlessly dismantled Shels with five goals without reply in the first-half.

And speaking afterwards, the former Malahide United manager revealed that he felt it was going to be a good night as early as the pre-match warm up.

“It was one of the best 45 minutes that I’ve certainly ever seen - and I’ve been watching this game a long time”, he remarked.

“There were some outstanding goals but I think there was more to it than that. We looked a cut above tonight and were very impressive.

“I just had a sense tonight”, he continued. “As a coach you sometimes can get that. It was probably one of the best warm ups I have been involved with, as a player or a coach. It was a very professional performance but there was real quality in it. It was phenomenal at times.”

In a complete team performance, Perth singled out the performances of Richie Towell, John Dillon and Kurtis Byrne for extra praise.

Towell’s double took his tally to five for the season. Four of those have come in his last four games and Perth said that was down to nothing else but hard work on the training ground.

“Richie is probably the hardest working players I have ever been involved with. He is playing in a slightly different position which has helped him but to be fair he has worked a hell of a lot on that side of his game on the training ground.

“It’s the stuff that people don’t see”, he continued. “He is side footing balls into the back of the net on the training ground and eventually that pays off on the pitch.”

Dillon, whose composure set Towell up for the first goal, dictated the tempo of the game with his passing and movement. As a former midfielder himself, Perth was left drooling by the Liverpudlian’s performance.

“John really gave us a masterclass in passing and controlling the game in the first-half”, said Perth.

“Some of his passing was outstanding. He has a great weight on his pass and it’s very easy to play with a fella like that. There were some real flashes of brilliance tonight.”

The night will be remembered for Kurtis Byrne’s goal in the 43rd minute.

It was reminiscent of David Beckham’s famous goal for Manchester United against Wimbledon on the opening day of the 1996/97 Premier League season.

Perth, though, said he wasn’t surprised to see the ball hit the net.

“We see that all the time from Kurtis. He ties those things everyday.

“Kurtis started really well and then had a bit of an iffy period but over the past two or three months he has been outstanding and he has added a real goal threat to us. He has been a massive plus for us.”