Dundalk Defeat Galway To Reach EA Sports Cup Final
Dundalk reached their first EA Sports Cup final since 2014 as they defeated Galway United 3-0 at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Jamie McGrath, a Robbie Benson penalty and Kevin Devaney’s own goal was enough for the 2014 winners to book their final berth on September 16th.
Dundalk got out of the block quickly and could have scored in the opening minutes when Michael Duffy rushed to the by line but as Jamie McGrath wound up to shoot it was cleared by Marc Ludden.
From Duffy’s resulting corner it came to Robbie Benson but he sliced his effort well wide of the target.
The Lilywhites took the lead in the 10th minute though when Duffy again got in behind and got the ball caught under his feet however he managed to round goalkeeper Charlie Burns before firing towards goal. It was blocked on the line and the rebound fell to Thomas Stewart who also had his shot cleared off the line.
This time it fell to Jamie McGrath who ghosted past two players before side footing to the net past the low right hand dive of Burns.
Dundalk tried to extend their advantage when John Mountney’s shot was blocked behind for a corner and then Mountney laid off for Robbie Benson but his low right footed shot was well saved by Burns down to his left.
Dundalk did have the ball in the net once more however Sean Hoare’s header from Duffy’s corner was ruled out for a push.
Gary Shanahan broke the Dundalk dominance by forcing a good save from Gabriel Sava who clawed away his goal bound cross before Duffy at the other end got on the end of Gannon’s cross but his shot was charged down by Stephen Folan.
David Cawley and Kevin Devaney found space on the edge of the Dundalk area however both of those couldn’t find the target just before the break.
The champions went in 1-0 up at the break.
Immediately after the re-start Gannon was given time and space to line up a shot but his low drive whistled inches past the post.
Stewart got in behind after a clever Benson lob but his shot was deflected over the bar for a corner and from that corner Duffy’s low ball in found Hoare and he volleyed over the bar from close range.
Dundalk did though double their advantage in the 56th minute.
Mountney found himself in behind Marc Ludden on the right and looked to have won a corner however referee Ray Matthews awarded a penalty kick despite the Galway United protests.
Up stepped Benson who fired to the bottom right corner despite the best efforts of Burns.
Holohan warmed the gloves of Sava with a shot from 25 yards and Hoare had a header saved by Burns.
Mountney tried his luck from 30 yards but his drive went inches wide and his replacement Patrick McEleney tried to guide a shot to the top left hand corner from just inside the box however it went over the bar.
Duffy then had a chance as he got a kind ricochet off McEleney but after he teed himself up he dragged his effort wide of the target.
Dundalk made it 3-0 with 13 minutes to go when David McMillan spread the ball wide for the forward running Gannon and his cross was directed into his own net by Devaney giving Burns no chance.
Galway looked like they had grabbed a consolation with 10 minutes to go as Eoin McCormack found space and shot from a narrow angle however his goal destined effort was well saved down to his left by Sava.
In injury-time Galway looked like they had got that consolation when McCormack again found space but this time it crashed off the crossbar from 30 yards.
That was as close as the hosts got and Dundalk closed out the match to confirm their place in the showpiece event in September.
GALWAY UNITED: Charlie Burns; Colm Horgan (capt), Stephen Folan, Paul Sinnott, Marc Ludden; Gary Shanahan, Rory Hale (Eoin McCormack 68), David Cawley, Kevin Devaney (Ronan Mannging 88); Gavan Holohan; Padraic Cunningham (Alex Byrne 69).
Substitutes not used: Conor Winn (GK), Conor Melody, Aaron Conway, Declan Sharkey.
Booked: Byrne (90)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gabriel Sava; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Niclas Vemmelund, Shane Grimes; Robbie Benson (Conor Clifford 81), Stephen O’Donnell (capt); John Mountney, Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Thomas Stewart (David McMillan 71).
Substitutes not used: Gary Rogers (GK), Brian Gartland, Chris Shields, Steven Kinsella.
Booked: Clifford (84).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Ray Matthews