Dundalk Book Semi-Final Spot With Derby Win
Dundalk qualified for the last four of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup with a 4-0 win over neighbours Drogheda United on Friday night.
Michael Duffy and Dylan Connolly netted in the first period before Brian Gartland and a David McMillan penalty in the second sealed victory.
It was the visitors who incidentally started the brighter and they had the first shot on goal inside 90 seconds when Adam Wixted turned brilliantly and shot towards the target however Gary Rogers did well to tip it over his crossbar.
The Lilywhites responded by opening the scoring.
Dylan Connolly’s pace took him past two Drogheda United defenders and his deep cross found Michael Duffy. His first attempt was blocked by the defender but it rebounded to him and he fired to the net from close range.
It was all Dundalk from there with Robbie Benson heading inches wide from Duffy corner while Brian Gartland had the same outcome when he got his head on the end of another of the Derry man’s corner.
Duffy was at the heart of all good Dundalk play and he combined with fellow Derry native Patrick McEleney which saw the latter shoot at goal but Stephen McGuinness was equal to it.
It was 2-0 just before the half hour mark when Duffy again found space but this time centrally and when he found bodies, he managed to turn back and lay it off to Connolly who took a touch and rifled the ball from 30 yards to score a beautiful goal past McGuinness.
Connolly then almost turned provider as he played a neat one two with Shane Grimes who ran on and shot towards goal but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
Duffy was a livewire any time Dundalk went forward and he cut inside before shooting a stinging drive however it was comfortably by McGuinness.
McEleney had a chance to make it 3-0 just before the break when he danced past four defenders but the end shot was inches over the bar from the edge of the area.
It would 3-0 though with the first attack after the break. After winning the corner kick, Duffy got up to take it and he crossed for Brian Gartland who headed to the net giving McGuinness no chance.
McEleney and Duffy linked up once more with the latter through on goal however his left footed drive was saved by the feet of the goalkeeper.
It was 4-0 though when Connolly’s forward run took him past the entire Drogheda United defence. With just the goalkeeper to beat and as he was about to pull the trigger Dave Mulcahy took him down leaving referee Neil Doyle with no option but to point to the spot.
That allowed David McMillan to step up and he fired high to the left corner.
The visitors capitalised on a momentary lapse in the Dundalk defence when Luke Gallagher found space 30 yards from goal however his shot thundered off the crossbar to safety.
Duffy almost got his second of the night when his surging run took him past the goalkeeper however it was blocked first by McGuinness and then it was taken off the line by the defender.
Substitute Steven Kinsella suffered the same fate when his goalbound effort was cleared off the line last ditch after Duffy teed him up from the left before fellow substitute Sean Hoare tried his luck from distance and an acute angle but his effort was eh closer to the corner flag than the target.
It should have been 5-0 when the outstanding Duffy raided through the middle and his pass towards Stephen O’Donnell was directed towards goal by Mulcahy however it came back off the crossbar to the waiting McMillan but he diverted his header wide.
That proved to be the final action of note as Dundalk advance to the semi-finals.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Seán Gannon (Sean Hoare 70), Brian Gartland (capt), Niclas Vemmelund, Shane Grimes; Chris Shields (Stephen O’Donnell 62), Robbie Benson; Dylan Connolly (Steven Kinsella 58), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; David McMillan.
Substitutes not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), Conor Clifford, Jamie McGrath, Thomas Stewart.
Booked: Gannon (56)
Sent off: None.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Stephen McGuinness; Shane Elworthy, Dave Mulcahy, Jake Hyland (Sean Brennan 70), Stephen Dunne; Thomas Byrne, Conor Kane, Richie Purdy (Jack Bayly 76), Luke Gallagher, Seán Russell; Adam Wixted.
Substitutes not used: Lloyd Buckley, Mark Doyle, Stephen Elliott, Harry Hogan, Ryan McEvoy.
Booked: Hyland (36)
Referee: Neil Doyle.