Dundalk dispelled the visiting Students at Oriel Park with relative ease in this pre-season friendly. It finished 7-1 to the Premier Division Champions against their recently relegated sparring partners.
The game expectedly lacked any real tempo and this was particularly true of the opening phases. Both teams were happy to pass it about and probe when they had the ball, sprinkled with a handful of bad early touches.
UCD looked the more threatening early doors. They worked the ball into the Dundalk half and box with pace without any end product. Evan Weir and Yoyo Mahdy caused problems for Dundalk’s back three with their tenacity.
However Dundalk found their gear thereafter with Patrick McEleney heading home a Chris Shields cross on eleven minutes. George Kelly doubled the lead with another header soon after when McEleney turned provider with a free kick from the left wing.
Having exposed themselves by attacking Dundalk, UCD were intent on sitting back and hitting Dundalk on the break. A tactic which yielded dividends just after the half hour mark with the Students’ first, and only goal: Mahdy stormed down the right and picked out Colm Whelan on the edge of the Dundalk area. Whelan turned and produced a top-drawer finish, rifling his shot into the top corner past Gary Rogers.
Any hopes of this being a tight affair after UCD’s goal dissipated as Dundalk shook themselves and comfortably controlled the play across the park. Though it took them until the 31st minute to reflect this on the scoreboard. Will Patching scoring on his debut from another menacing crossed ball.
Both sides emptied their benches in the second half. And while another period of adjustment ensued with so many new players, Dundalk’s subs ultimately outclassed their rivals. It was a forgettable start to the second half bar Sheridan making a double save from Hoban who couldn’t convert with a headed effort and rebounded shot.
Micheal Duffy was one of eight half time subs for Dundalk and he gave the game the shot in the arm it needed, with a goal no less. The Derry man timed his run perfectly onto a through ball and found himself in acres of space with only the ‘keeper to beat for Dundalk’s fourth. The Lilywhite’s fifth was almost a carbon copy only minutes later. On both occasions Duffy was composed and coolly slotted past the UCD custodian.
For all their early gumption, UCD had a job on their hands to keep the score down in the final half hour. Their early discipline and shape gave way to a park the bus approach.
Dundalk played with ten men in the dying embers of the game when Sean Murray was taken off after receiving a knock but that didn’t stop Dundalk scoring: Darragh Leahy netted his first goal as a Lilywhite on the 89th minute before record scorer, Patrick Hoban, headed home in the 90th.
The final whistle came right on the 90th minute without a jot of additional time wanted by the visitors. Dundalk continue their pre-season next week in Spain with games lined up against squads from CSKS Moscow and CFR Cluj.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers (Gabriel Sava 61); Daniel Cleary (Brian Gartland HT), Andy Boyle (Sean Gannon 61), Sean Hoare (Sean Murray HT); John Mountney (Cameron Dummigan HT), Chris Shields (Taner Dogan 61), Jordan Flores (Greg Sloggett HT), Dane Massey (Darragh Leahy 61); Will Patching (Daniel Kelly HT), Patrick McEleney (Michael Duffy HT); Georgie Kelly (Patrick Hoban HT).
UCD : Lorcan Healey; Evan Farrell (Gavin Sheridan HT), Conor McKeown, Harry McEvoy (Luke Boore HT (Evan Weir 66)), Evan Weir (Abdul Bapikar HT); Jack Keaney (Harvey O’Brien HT), Mark Dignam (Cian Ryan HT); Yousef Mahdy (Sean McDonald HT), Michael O’Keane, Ciaran Behan (Kevin Coffey HT); Colm Whelan (Danu Kinsella-Bishop HT)
Attendance: 450 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Michael Duffy (Dundalk)