Dessie Hutchinson’s late goal wasn’t enough as Waterford FC fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of league champions Dundalk on Friday night at the RSC.
Patrick Hoban’s header and Ronan Murray’s neat low finish were enough for Dundalk’s win despite Dessie Hutchinson’s late strike.
Alan Reynolds rung the changes after 4th position and a Europa League spot were confirmed over the weekend; Noe Baba, David Webster, Gavan Holohan, Carlos Wilson, Izzy Akinade an Courtney Duffus all came into the side.
Dundalk, who were crowned champions after last week’s results, should have taken an early lead. League top scorer Patrick Hoban’s powerful strike from inside the penalty area looked set to hit the back of the net but Blues striker Akinade got back on the line to make an important block.
Minutes later striker Hoban got on the end of a curling John Mountney right-wing cross, but he couldn’t direct his header on target from close range.
The Blues had a chance of their own from left-back Dylan Barnett who drove forward down the left. He cut back inside but couldn’t get enough power on the strike to trouble Gary Rogers.
Three more chances arrived as Dundalk looked for the opener before the break. Patrick McEleney, Hoban and Dane Massey went close but the side ended the half level at 0-0.
But five minutes into the second half the deadlock was broken. Dundalk full-back Sean Gannon crossed from the right to find the head of Hoban and he brilliantly steered his header into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. John Mountney picked up the ball on the right end-line and found Ronan Murray and he rolled the ball into the back of the net to double the lead.
The Blues looked for a goal to get back into the game and it arrived in the 89th minutes. A good move saw Gavan Holohan’s pull back to Dessie Hutchinson for an excellent finish gave the Blues hope but despite pressure for the four minutes of stoppage time, it proved a consolation.
Waterford FC: Niall Corbet, Rory Feely, David Webster, Garry Comerford, Dylan Barnett, Noe Baba (Dessie Hutchinson `70), Carlos Wilson (Cory Galvin `58), Gavan Holohan, Bastien Héry, Izzy Akinade (Derek Daly `58), Courtney Duffus
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey, Patrick McEleney, John Mountney, Dean Jarvis (George Poynton `83), Michael Duffy (Dylan Connolly `77), Patrick Hoban (George Kelly `79), Ronan Murray
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)