Saturday 16 December 2017

Dundalk and Derry both hit highs to progress in style

CROATIA powerhouse Hajduk Split are next for Dundalk after the Lilywhites booked a spot in the Europa League second qualifying round with a 3-1 win over Jeunesse Esch at Oriel Park last night.

Coming into the game on the back of a 2-0 win in Luxembourg nine days earlier, Stephen Kenny's side went on to hit three more goals to record Dundalk's biggest aggregate win in European competition.

The reward for the Lilywhites is a crack at Croatian side Hajduk Split in the next stage. Oriel Park will play host to the first leg this upcoming Thursday. The Croatian side will provide a much stiffer test than Jeunesse did here, particularly in the opening 45 minutes. Dundalk had the tie put beyond doubt at half-time thanks to first-half efforts from Brian Gartland, Kurtis Byrne and John Mountney.

Jeunesse improved considerably after the break as the natives, with one eye undoubtedly on Sunday afternoon's crucial domestic meeting with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, took their foot completely off the pedal.


Half-time replacement Ricardo Delgado and Mirko Albanese made an impact with Delgado setting up Jonathan Zydko for Jeunesse's goal in the 55th minute, the French midfielder rolling the ball into Peter Cherrie's bottom corner.

Rory Patterson notched a hat-trick as Derry City went on the rampage in west Wales, scoring five goals to reach the next round of the Uefa Europa League with a record-breaking 9-0 aggregate victory.

Two goals in four first-half minutes made certain of Derry's progress into the second qualifying round after their 4-0 home leg triumph, but Patterson's second-half treble added a touch of class.

The 9-0 aggregate win was enough to surpass the best winning margin by an Irish side in Europe, Shamrock Rovers' 7-0 trouncing of Fram Reykjavik 32 years ago. Their 5-0 victory on the night guarantees them a clash with Belarusian side FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk in the next round.

Michael Duffy scored from the first corner of the game, and three minutes later Barry McNamee headed home.

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