Last night Linfield travelled to Oriel Park to take on FAI League winners Dundalk FC in the Unite the Nation Cup.
Linfield boss David Healy made it clear he wasn’t happy the Unite the Union Cup was a two leg fixture, the first last Friday night which meant Linfield’s game with Dungannon scheduled for last weekend was rescheduled. The Lilywhite’s drew with Linfield 1-1 at Windsor Park on Friday night but crucified Healy’s side beating them 6-0 at home last night.
A rapid counter-attack opened Linfield just six minutes into the game when Michael Duffy’s cross picked up Daniel Kelly at the far post and when his effort deflected, Georgie Kelly was able to send it home.
Just a quarter of an hour in, Dundalk doubled their lead when Duffy’s corner found the head of Brian Gartland and the Dundalk skipper punished Linfield for some very questionable marking by heading it past Ferguson. Just three minutes later, Rohan Ferguson made a brilliant save for Linfield when Daniel Kelly connected with Gartland pass and took a punt.
Linfield were left reeling ten minutes before half time when Jamie McGrath beat goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson with a low shot into the corner from distance.
Linfield were not giving up and came out fighting the second half, dominating the opening minutes and Jamie Mulgrew troubled Aaron McCarey who was forced to save Mulgrew’s attempt at full stretch. This was the moment which awoke Dundalk from their short lived slumber and they started piling the pressure on the visitors again.
Georgie Kelly nearly made the shot of his life when his overhead kick just whistled over the top of the goal much to the disappointment of the Dundalk fans, but it wasn’t long before the home fans were on their feet cheering when Robbie Benson scored his last goal for Dundalk, making it 4-0.
Georgie Kelly claimed his second of the night with a classy header after some good work by Daniel Cleary and Michael Duffy and substitute Patrick Hoban got in on the act late on before the final whistle put the Danske Bank Premiership champions out of their misery.
Healy’s side unfortunately,were outclassed for the entire game and it was clear they sorely missed their talisman Shayne Lavery who is currently on international duty with Northern Ireland for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Holland and Germany. Healy however made it quite clear his focus is on the Danske Premier League and with three games in hand, his team could go top if they can win their next three matches.