Clean sweep for dundalk
PREMIER Division champions Dundalk have shown, yet again, that the twin burdens of defending their league title and losing their top scorer from last season will not hold them back in the new campaign.
Stephen Kenny's men maintained their superb start to 2015 with a 3-0 win away to previous league leaders Bohemians last night, David McMillan and subs Jake Kelly and Darren Meenan with the goals.
That makes it four wins, and four clean sheets, from four games this term, as Kenny enjoyed yet another winning visit back to Dalymount Park. Some Dundalk fans had concerns over how Pat Hoban, now at Oxford United, would be replaced and McMillan is certainly doing well, last night's strike his third goal in two games, while the sight of two subs also scoring will gladden the hearts of supporters.
Yet a key man for Dundalk in a dangerous spell was keeper Gary Rogers, who made a number of saves in the second half to deny a dogged Bohs side who played with ten men for most of the half.
Bohs, who had not conceded a goal in five competitive games in 2015, had started well, and could even have taken the lead on 20 minutes. Dead ball expert Lorcan Fitzgerald lobbed in one of his free kicks and the ball eventually landed for Anto Murphy, whose header struck the crossbar.
But it was Dundalk who managed to get the opening goal in the 28th minute. McMillan got on the end of a Daryl Horgan cross, Dean Delany was slow to react and McMillan's effort went over the line.
Just before half time Richie Towell tried to catch out Delany with a long-range effort, but Delaney saved in time.
Just six minutes into the second half Bohs were down to ten men, Anto Murphy earning a second booking for a foul on John Mountney.
The home side didn't buckle, and Rogers earned his keep with saves from Dean Kelly, Paddy Kavanagh and Adam Evans in the space of ten minutes.
But Bohs did tire in the final 10 minutes and were twice caught on the counter-attack, Jake Kelly finishing off from Kurtis Byrne's cross on 83 minutes with Towell the provider for Darren Meenan in the 86th minute, Dundalk now confident ahead of their weekend meeting with Sligo Rovers.