Dundalk comprehensively defeated struggling Limerick 4-0 at Oriel Park as a Patrick Hoban hat-trick and a Krisztian Adorjan goal allowed the Lilywhites to temporarily regain top spot in the Airtricity League Premier Division. Limerick remain in 9th position as a result of the defeat.
It was a disappointing start for Limerick as instrumental midfielders Conor Clifford and Barry Maguire were replaced by Shane Tracy and Daniel Kearns on his return to Oriel Park. It was a big blow for manager Tommy Barrett who has had to contend with so many injuries all season.
Dundalk were forced to make a change before the game as Dean Jarvis replaced captain Dane Massey. Jarvis delivered for Pat Hoban but the striker’s glancing header failed to trouble Brendan Clarke.
The first big chance of the night came following great work from Dylan Connolly who crossed for Krisztian Adorjan but the midfielder’s header was directed straight at Brendan Clarke.
The Lilywhites should have taken the lead as Pat Hoban sent Michael Duffy clear of the Limerick defence but when faced with the advancing Clarke, the winger sent his shot wide of the right hand post.
Shortly afterwards, Michael Duffy was denied by the post and striker Pat Hoban’s volley was saved by Clarke and cleared to safety as the home side increased the pressure on the visitors.
Limerick created their first chance as Will Fitzgerald’s corner was directed goalwards by Killian Brouder before being cleared off the line. It was agonizingly close for the Shannonsiders.
Stephen Kenny’s side broke the deadlock when the dangerous Pat Hoban gathered possession on the edge of the box before scoring via the aid of a deflection. It was a bitter blow for Limerick who had fought hard to maintain a clean sheet.
Immediately, Hoban almost increased the lead with another thunderous strike from the edge of the box which flew past Clarke’s post.
Early in the second half, Limerick winger Will Fitzgerald attempted a shot from 25 yards out but it travelled well over Gary Rogers crossbar. Unfortunately for Limerick, captain Shane Duggan was penalised for dragging down Dylan Connolly and Pat Hoban converted the penalty to extend Dundalk’s lead and grab his 17th goal of the season.
As we entered the final quarter of the game, Dundalk scored a super team goal as Sean Hoare’s inviting cross was dummied by Robbie Benson and Krisztian Adorjan smashed a left footed shot into the top corner past the helpless Clarke.
Dundalk added a fourth late on as Patrick Hoban brilliantly converted a Michael Duffy cross to complete his first hat-trick of the season.
Limerick will be hoping that Bray and Sligo fail to pick up victories tomorrow evening against Shamrock Rovers and Cork City respectively to avoid losing ground and providing the Seagulls with more encouragement.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dean Jarvis, Krisztian Adorjan, Karolis Chvedukas (Sean Gannon 52), Robbie Benson (George Poynton 85), Dylan Connolly, Michael Duffy Ronan Murray (76), Pat Hoban.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Sam Byrne, Stephen Folan, Marco Tagbajumi.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Killian Cantwell, Tony Whitehead, Eoin Wearen, Killian Brouder, Conor Clifford (Shane Tracy 14), Cian Coleman, Barry Maguire (Daniel Kearns 28), Shane Duggan, Will Fitzgerald (Jeff McGowan 85), Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Jason Cross, Ger Barry, Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen
Yellow Cards: Mark O’Sullivan (77)
Red Cards: None