Dundalk earned their first win of the season as goals from David McMillan and Han Jeongwoo gave the Lilywhites local bragging rights and all three points in a 2-1 win over neighbours Drogheda United at a sun-drenched Oriel Park.
Chris Lyons set up a grandstand finish when he slotted home in the 90th minute for the visitors to give Drogheda hope.
Dundalk held on for a thoroughly deserved victory as they made sure Drogheda’s seven-year winless drought in the Louth Derby goes on.
The hosts dominated the opening half and McMillan almost opened the scoring. Raivis Jurkovskis whipped the ball in but McMillan could only glance wide from 10 yards.
If Drogheda were going to go ahead in the first half it was going to be from Dundalk’s downfall, and that almost happened. Daniel Cleary gave the ball away to Ronan Murray on the edge of the box but recovered well to block Chris Lyons’ effort.
The Lilywhites were non stop in their attack after the first quarter, lead by Han Jeongwoo, who attacked with zest and fervour throughout the game.
McMillan finally made Dundalk’s pressure count from 10 yards when he stooped low to nod home Jurkovskis’s cross after he Jurkovskis beat James Brown on the outside and clipped a delicious ball into the box leadiung to some celebrations from the collection of Dundalk fans casting an eye from outside the ground.
Drogs had goalkeeper Colin McCabe to thank for keeping the visitors in the game, when he saved Michael Duffy’s effort after the winger got in behind and killed Daniel Cleary’s long ball with his chest but McCabe was equal to the half volley palming away for a corner.
Tempers flared like a traditional Derby game, when Wilfried Zahibo got stuck in on his first start, flying in late on Kilian Phillips, a challenge worthy of a yellow card nothing more.
Drogheda rarely threatened and struggled to keep possession, often going long to Lyons but to no avail.
Drogheda started the second period well, James Brown had a bigger influence as he started to embark on his trademark forward runs from right back, getting in behind on numerous occasions.
Tim Clancy’s side had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down when Lyons went down under a challenge from Andy Boyle but the referee saw nothing doing.
Dundalk’s first venture forward in the second half came on the counter, the ever impressive Han played substitute Sean Murray through but James Brown raced across to close the door with a superb sliding challenge.
Tim Clancy introduced talisman Mark Doyle with 25 minutes to play to try and add a cutting edge to his attack.
Daniel O’Reilly came close for the visitors in the 67th minute when he curled a right footed effort just wide from the edge of the box via a deflection.
Dundalk’s second came against the run of play but it summed up the difference between the two sides. McMillan found himself in acres of space in behind and he squared the ball for Han who capped off a brilliant performance, slamming home with the goal at his mercy.
Drogs could have pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining. Brown slipped Lyons in behind but his effort was expertly saved by Peter Cherrie.
Young substitute Ryan O’Kane should have put the game beyond any doubt in the 85th minute. The youngster charged down Colin McCabe’s clearance but he hesitated waiting for the ball to sit and Drogheda crowded him out.
As Drogheda pushed for a way back into the game, they left themselves exposed and McMillan and Han could have made it 3-0 but couldn’t convert their chances.
Lyons set up a grandstand finish as the fourth official signalled four minutes of additional time. Lyons made no mistake as he found the far corner with his right foot.
But Dundalk held on for a deserved victory in the first Louth Derby of the season, and indoing so may have managed to lift the mood around Oriel Park.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle; Patrick McEleney (Sean Murray 59), Raivis Jurkovskis (Darragh Leahy 59), Han Jeongwoo, Michael Duffy, Chris Shields (Ryan O'Kane 79), Wilfried Zahibo (Greg Sloggett 59); David McMillan (Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 88).
Subs not used: Val Adedokun, Alessio Abibi, Jesus Perez, Sam Stanton.
Booked: Wilfried Zahibo (45).
Drogheda United: Colin McCabe; Hugh Douglas (Jordan Adeyemo 71), James Brown, Dane Massey, Daniel O'Reilly, Ryan O'Shea; Darragh Markey (Mark Doyle 66), Gary Deegan, Killian Phillips; Chris Lyons, Ronan Murray (James Clarke 86).
Subs not used: Luke Heeney, Mohammad Boudiaf, Brandon Bermingham, Charles Mutawe, David Odumosu, Jack Tuite.
Referee: Adriano Reale
ExtraTime.com Player of the Match: Han Jeungwoo (Dundalk)