Dundalk Suffer FAI Cup Final Heartbreak
Dundalk’s Irish Daily Mail adventure ended in heartbreak as they were defeated on penalties by Cork City at the AVIVA Stadium on Sunday night.
Niclas Vemmelund had given Dundalk the lead in the first period of extra-time after the 90 minutes couldn’t separate the sides however Achille Campion equalised with 9 remaining to send it to the shootout where they won 5-3.
It was an frantic opening exchange with both sides having chances to take the the lead but the goalkeepers had the better of it.
Robbie Benson and Jamie McGrath with the latter’s deflected effort from just inside the area being palmed away by McNulty to safety.
At the other end Gary Rogers had to react quickly to deny Karl Sheppard before Michael Duffy forced McNulty into a save again as his curling effort was grabbed by the netminder.
Rogers then produced a stunning double save to keep parity when he stopped first from Dooley and on the rebound he clawed Sheppard’s certain goal effort away from behind him.
The Lilywhites should have taken the lead though when Duffy once more created space for himself on the edge of the area and once again McNulty couldn’t hold it and it fell to McMillan however he couldn’t direct it goalwards and it went inches wide.
Cork had the first opportunity of the second period when Jimmy Keohane turned and shot but Rogers got down well to save.
Dundalk forced a goalmouth scramble when Duffy’s ball caused chaos but McCormack was there to clear off the line.
A superb Duffy cross met the head of Benson as he rose highest however his goalbound effort was gathered well by McNulty down to his left.
Both teams cancelled each other out for the majority of the half with Dundalk having most of the possession without really threatening.
As the game was in the final 30 seconds Bennett looked as though he won the game however somehow Rogers got the ball out of the goal after Dooley’s cross.
The game finished scoreless after the regulation 90 and we headed to extra-time for the third year in succession.
The deadlock was broken in the fifth minute of extra-time when Duffy’s inch perfect free-kick was met by the powerful forehead of Niclas Vemmelund who thundered the ball to the top right hand corner leaving McNulty rooted to the spot as the Lilywhite following were sent into raptures!
Dundalk closed out the half in front with no issues.
Cork had the first real opportunity of the second 15 when Sadlier evaded a few tackles to shoot from 30 yards however it was never troubling Rogers.
Cork got their equaliser with 9 minutes remaining of extra-time when Sheppard’s reverse ball found Achille Campion who broke the offside trap and he fired below Rogers to the net.
There was no more action of note and the game went to spot kicks where Kieran Sadlier scored the winning spot kick to give Cork the trophy.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (Sean Hoare 90), Niclas Vemmelund, Dane Massey; Robbie Benson, Stephen O’Donnell (capt); Jamie McGrath (Dylan Connolly 71), Patrick McEleney (John Mountney 108), Michael Duffy; David McMillan.
Substitutes not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), Chris Shields, Shane Grimes, Thomas Stewart.
Booked: O’Donnell (80)
Sent off: None.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett (capt), Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey (Greg Bolger 98), Conor McCormack; Jimmy Keohane (Kieran Sadlier 56), Garry Buckley (Achille Campion 98), Stephen Dooley; Karl Sheppard.
Substitutes not used: Alan Smith (GK), Connor Ellis, Conor McCarthy, Robbie Williams.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Attendance: 24, 210