Finn Harps were beaten again tonight as Daniel Kelly’s hat-trick eased champions Dundalk to victory at Oriel Park.
Dundalk 3 Finn Harps 0
Battling Harps held out until just before half-time when Kelly’s opener broke their resistance and their hearts. It’s now nine straight League defeats for Ollie Horgan’s side – who are eight points adrift at the foot of the table.
By that stage, Ciaran Gallagher had gone off injured, with the Harps ‘keeper replaced by Peter Burke just before half-time.
Two minutes into injury time at the end of part one, Kelly riffled home the opener after being picked out by a Michael Duffy pass.
The second half had barely begun when Kelly drilled in his second.
Harps fashioned an opening before the deadlock was broken as Daniel O’Reilly – after being set up by a Tony McNamee throw – called Gary Rogers into action, while Nathan Boyle flashed wide.
Disaster struck for Harps when Gallagher was forced off after a collision with Pat Hoban.
Dundalk saw Brian Gartland leave the action injured and the injuries meant nine minutes of injury time at the end of part one.
Rogers saved from Mikey Place before the half-time whistle, but Kelly’s wonderful finish gave replacement goalkeeper Peter Burke no chance just after the break.
Hoban himself went close to a third, but they did get it when Kelly tucked home.
Kelly might well have got a fourth, but he lost his balance at the vital moment.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher (Peter Burke 27); John Kavanagh, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Daniel O’Reilly; Tony McNamee, Mark Coyle (Michael Gallagher 74; Caolan McAleer, Raffaele Cretaro (Sean Boyd 56), Nathan Boyle; Mikey Place
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (Daniel Cleary 12), Seán Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Joe McKee 71); Daniel Kelly, Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (John Mountney 80); Patrick Hoban.
Referee: Rob Harvey.