Neil McDonald’s side suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Dundalk as their alarming run of poor from continues.
Dundalk ran out comfortable winners against Limerick FC at Oriel Park on Friday night as goals from Patrick McEleney, Brian Gartland and Robbie Benson provided Stephen Kenny’s men with the platform for victory. It was the Lilywhites first win in three games. Limerick endured their second defeat in a week and have failed to score for the third consecutive game.
The Shannonsiders started brightly, forcing a number of set-pieces which were all easily dealt with by the home defence. The hosts first chance came after a long ball by Brian Gartland wasn’t dealt with and Dave McMillan nodded to the feet of Robbie Benson whose shot flew over the bar.
Just after the half hour mark, Dundalk took the lead. Makeshift left-back Dave O’Connor fouled Patrick McEleney on the edge of the box and the former Derry City man buried the resulting free-kick into the top corner.
The hosts began the second period with a real purpose and both Sean Gannon and Niclas Vemmelund were advancing at will from their full back positions. Firstly, Gannon drilled a low cross to the near post but luckily for Limerick, Brendan Clarke smothered the ball before McMillan could reach it.
Shortly after, Vemmelund and left winger Michael Duffy isolated Barry Cotter and the latter skipped inside the returning Limerick defender with ease before shooting just over the bar.
The second goal arrived from a free-kick as Brian Gartland was allowed acres of room in the box to power his header into the back of the net. Limerick have been poor all season in this area and it certainly hasn’t improved during Neil McDonald’s reign. Almost immediately, Dundalk punished Limerick’s set-piece weakness once more as Gartland met a Dylan Connolly corner and directed the ball into the path of Robbie Benson who headed home for a third goal.
The game was over as a contest and a raft of substitutions were introduced. Limerick created their first chance of the game as Rodrigo Tosi turned onto his left foot inside the box before rifling the ball over the bar. Dundalk were causing problems on the right flank all evening and it was right winger Dylan Connolly who had the hosts next effort but it sailed just wide of Brendan Clarke’s goal.
In the dying moments, the visitors almost grabbed a consolation goal as veteran John O’Flynn teed up Lee-J Lynch at the edge of the box and the midfielder came close with a fine effort.
However, Limerick’s poor run continues and with Galway picking up a vital 3 points in Donegal, they sit just three points outside the relegation zone, albeit with a game less played.
Alarming too is the fact that the super blues have not scored in three games now and have conceded six. If this side are not going to be drawn into a relegation battle then results will need to improve and soon.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Niclas Vemmelund, Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Stephen O’Donnell 67) Patrick McEleney (John Moutney 83), Michael Duffy, Dylan Connolly, Dave McMillan (Jamie McGrath 75).
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Conor Clifford, Steven Kinsella
Yellow Cards: Dylan Connolly (88)
Red Cards: None
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Barry Cotter (Stephen Kenny 66), Tony Whitehead, Joe Crowe, Dave O’Connor, Shane Duggan, Lee-J Lynch, Dean Clarke, Henry Cameron (Bastien Hery 60), Chiedozie Ogbene, Rodrigo Tosi (John O’Flynn 83)
Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Killian Brouder, Shane Tracy, Garbhan Coughlan.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Referee: Derek Tomney