|Match Report||Two second-half goals from substitute Mark Griffin helped Dundalk claim a surprise 2-1 win over St Patrick's Athletic in the Premier Division encounter in Inchicore on Monday evening.|
Chris Forrester had handed the hosts a deserved 1-0 lead with an excellent header from Ger O'Brien's cross in the 43rd minute.
With Michael Rafter dismissed at half-time for Dundalk, the ten men responded superbly and clinched the three points with two superbly taken free-kicks by Griffin in the 78th minute and in injury time.
The hosts started brightly and should have taken a 10th minute lead but John Russell saw his close range shot cannon off the upright after Christy Fagan’s free-kick had deflected kindly into his path.
Despite enjoying plenty of possession and territory as the half progressed, St Pat’s struggled to create any chances of note with a 23rd minute header from Kenny Browne sailing harmlessly over Peter Cherrie’s crossbar reflecting well on Dundalk’s defensive organisation.
Just as it seemed they would enter the break on level terms, a Ger O’Brien corner kick was met superbly by Chris Forrester, who produced an arrowed header beyond a helpless Cherrie for a wonderfully executed opening goal on 43 minutes.
Still reeling from that concession, Dundalk’s chances suffered another hammer blow as Michael Rafter was dismissed following an altercation with a team mate as the sides left the field of play at half-time.
The visitors took a while to regroup upon the restart and their difficulties allowed both substitute Dean Kelly and Forrester shots on goal but the former lacked the accuracy and the latter the power to unduly trouble Cherrie.
Given the hosts’ penchant for dropping points from seemingly watertight positions, the anxiety among the locals increased the longer the comfort of a second goal remained elusive and those fears were realised in the 78th minute.
Russell was adjudged to have fouled Griffin on the edge of the area and from the resultant free-kick, the substitute curled a glorious free-kick beyond the reach of Brendan Clarke in the home goal.
The turnaround was complete in the 92nd minute when John Mountney was hauled down by Conor Kenna in a similar spot and Griffin deceived Clarke in choosing the opposite corner with the same deadly outcome.
St Patrick's Athletic
Clarke; Flynn, Browne, Kenna, Bermingham; Forrester, O’Brien, Bolger, Russell, J Kelly (D Kelly, 46); Fagan (Daly, 74).
Cherrie; McLaughlin, Foran, Burns, Osborne; Waters (Griffin, 46), Shields, Mountney, McDonnell (McKenna, 46); Rafter, Thomas (Walsh, 33).
Graham KELLY, M.GAVIN, A.REALE, J.GRIMES