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Connolly goal seals Dundalk victory in Estonia

Dundalk have won 1-0 against Levadia Tallinn in Estonia.

Dylan Connolly scored the winner for the Lilywhites in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier at Kadriorg Stadium.

Stephen Kenny’s side will carry their advantage back to Oriel Park next week, and will be the betting favourites to progress to the next round.

Both teams had chances in the opening period, with Hoban, Benson, and McGrath all going close for Dundalk.

However, it finished scoreless at the interval, and the only goal of the game came in the 53rd minute.

Jamie McGrath – making his first European start for the club – found Michael Duffy cleverly, and Connolly was on hand at the back post to finish off Duffy’s excellent low cross.

The Estonian champions almost equalized five minutes later, but Gary Rogers produced two superb saves to deny Pavel Marin.

Connolly could then have doubled Dundalk’s advantage in the 72nd minute, but was denied in a one-on-one against the Levadia goalkeeper.

The Dundalk midfielder – making his first start in European competition – then set up Pat Hoban late on, but the prolific striker’s effort was saved from close range.

Stephen Kenny’s side are in a strong position heading into the return leg in Louth, but will be disappointed that they did not convert more of their chances in Tallinn.

It was Dundalk’s 11th European away game under Kenny, and the Lilywhites have scored in all but one of those matches.

Dundalk have now won 14 matches in a row in all competitions.

Unfortunately, the two other League of Ireland sides lost their respective Europa League qualifiers at home.

Shamrock Rovers slipped to a 1-0 defeat to AIK FC in Tallaght, with Daniel Sundgren netting the only goal of the game.

Derry City lost 2-0 at home to Dinamo Minsk in their Europa League qualifier at the Brandywell.

Nino Galovic scored an early goal for the visitors, and Uladzimir Khvashchynski doubled Dinamo’s advantage in the second half.

Last night, Cork City were beaten 1-0 by Legia Warsaw at Turner’s Cross in their Champions League qualifier.

 

 

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