Dundalk winger Daniel Kelly expects a rowdy reception when he returns to Dalymount Park on Friday night but is hoping he has the last laugh by leaving Phibsborough with all three points.

The 22-year-old left Friday night’s opponents Bohemians for Dundalk last December having become a firm favourite during his brief stint with Keith Long’s side.

While a substitute for Dundalk’s 1-0 win over the Gypsies at Oriel Park last month, Kelly made a real impact off the bench by winning the 95thminute penalty which Pat Hoban converted to decide the game.

Now he’s hopeful of having a similar impact against his old side on Friday night.

“I’m sure I’ll get a bit of stick but once we win that’s all that matters,” he smiled.

With Bohs still firmly in the title race, Kelly says he’s not surprised at how well they are doing.

“They’ve a great squad and a great setup with Trevor (Croly) and Keith. They know the league well. Trev is very good on the training ground and knows teams inside out and Keith does very well in the transfer window. I’m probably surprised at where they are but I’m not surprised with the results that they’ve got and the way they’ve played. 

“They put in a great display against us and were probably a bit unlucky at the end when I got the peno but they are a really good side and they’re always tough to face, especially in Dalymount because of the crowd, but we’ve to go there now and try to get three points.”

Getting that win that would send Dundalk top on goal difference hasn’t been made easier by the fact that top scorer Hoban and centre half Sean Hoare are suspended but Kelly is confident their replacements can get the job done.

“It’s unfortunate to be without those two but we’ve probably the best squad in the league. 

“Garts (Brian Gartland) and Dan (Cleary) have played together plenty of times before and it gives Georgie (Kelly) a chance to come in next week and do the business for us. It’ll be another tough game against Bohs away because they’ll want to bounce back themselves from losing to Cork but hopefully it’ll be us who get the result.”

The Ringsend man admitted Friday night’s 2-2 draw with Derry City felt like a defeat.

“It’s a difficult one to take but we’ve just got take it on the chin and move on to next week . We didn’t start great but in the second half we came out and done well, got the two goals and I thought we were doing well. 2-0 is a ropey lead though. When they get a goal it’s hard to defend because you just automatically drop back but we should be seeing games out like that.

“I didn’t think they had a lot of chances to get back into it but it was a couple of rash moments and all of a sudden it’s two-all.”

Kelly said he felt Rob Hennessy should have awarded Dundalk a penalty for the incident Hoare was booked for complaining about given how he had penalised Hoban for Derry’s spot kick.

“I don’t really know what the penalty was given for. Supposedly he tried to pull him down. It’s probably a bit soft but if he has to give that then he’s got to give the one on Sean Hoare which is the same thing.

“He’s been the centre point tonight, the ref, but we need to be better in games like this. We need to manage it better but we need to move on. It does feel like a loss but we move on,” said Kelly.

As published in The Argus May 7th 2019