Andy Boyle can do little as Jim McDaid rifles home a world class equaliser for Coleraine at Oriel Park last night
Dundalk’s first competitive outing of the new season produced a shock result as Coleraine came through last night’s Setanta Cup quarter-final first leg with a 3-2 win.
Despite the Lilywhites still to complete their pre-season fixtures, they were hot favourites to emerge with a positive result from Oriel Park.
Things certainly looked to be heading that way in the early stages with a David McMillan effort being cleared off the line as early as the fourth minute.
The breakthrough eventually arrived in the 17th minute when Daryl Horgan strode onto Stephen O’Donnell’s clever back heel on the right of the area to curl a right footed effort to the top left hand corner.
Richie Towell also tested Coleraine goalkeeper Eugene Ferry after that as Dundalk looked to turn the screw.
The game turned on a moment of inspiration from Jim McDaid in the 34th minute, however, with the striker picking up a loose ball 35 yards from cool before unleashing an unstoppable 35 yard strike that crashed to the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Oran Kearney’s visitors grew in confidence after that and took a surprise lead four minutes into the second half when McDaid – who played under Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny at Derry City – turned a Ruairi Harkin cross home at the back post.
Harkin then made it 3-1 in the 58th minute when he capitalised on some slack defending to fire home from close range.
Within two minutes Dundalk had a goal back as David McMillan headed home a Dane Massey corner to make it 3-2.
Both sides had chances after that. McDaid can count himself unlucky not to have earned a penalty after appearing to have been hauled down by Peter Cherrie. Rather than pointing to the spot, however, referee Paul McLaughlin awarded a corner.
Dundalk’s best chance to level came 23 minutes from time when a Richie Towell free was met at the back post by Andy Boyle, whose header back across the face of goal was met by Patrick Hoban. Last season’s leading scorer looked like he had scored but the ball was hooked off the line.
On what was a disappointing night for the Lilywhites, they can at least take some consolation from the fact that there is still a second leg to come in order to redeem themselves.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Rossiter, Kelly (Mountney 86), Boyle, Massey; Horgan (Byrne 67), O’Donnell, Higgins (Meenan 78), Towell, McMillan; Hoban. Subs not used: Shields, Griffin, O’Connor, Sava.
Coleraine: Ferry; Watt, Canning, Douglas, Owens (Bradley 89); Harkin, Hegarty, Lowry, McNeil; Browne (Thomas 62), McDaid. Subs not used: Jennings, Lindsay, Mullan, Surgenor, Shannon.
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).