Penalties Put Dundalk Through In EA Sports Cup
Dundalk went through to the quarter-finals of the EA Sports Cup on Monday evening as they defeated UCD 6-5 on penalties at Oriel Park.
The game had finished 1-1 after Gary O’Neill gave UCD the lead with Conor Clifford equalising in the second period. No winner could be found after extra time either and the league champions held their nerve to emerge as victors.
Dundalk had a couple of early half chances with Carlton Ubaezuono and Ciaran Kilduff going close early on with the latter chance ruled offside.
John Mountney was next as he skewed wide from the edge of the area and at the other end Gabriel Sava was called into action twice in two minutes when first Gary O’Neill struck a free-kick into the goalkeeper’s arms and then Ben Hanrahan tested his reflexes with a low shot from close range.
Kilduff responded with a header just over the bar from Kinsella’s corner on the right but with the next attack the visitors took the lead.
Gareth Coughlan found space on the left and pulled the ball back for the waiting O’Neill who fired to the top left corner past Sava.
Dundalk resumed control though and Kinsella fired a free-kick towards goal which was blocked.
O’Neill had a chance to extend the lead when his free-kick was saved by Sava however Dundalk should have been level five minutes before the break when Stephen O’Donnell stood up a perfect cross to the back post however Kilduff headed it wide.
It should have been 1-1 just after the break when Kilduff collected a superb Kinsella through ball but his shot was saved by Corbet from close range.
Kilduff again had a headed chance as he got onto Massey’s floated ball to the back post but he couldn’t get any power or direction towards goal.
It was all Dundalk in the second half and Mountney was next to try his luck but blazed over when he had time on the edge of the area and Clifford repeated that trick as the game approached the final quarter.
A rare sight in Oriel these days is a penalty to the home side but that’s what we got here on Monday when Kinsella was upended in the box as he ran through. However Kilduff stood up to take the spot kick and it was excellently saved by Corbet down to his right.
Mountney then fired towards Corbet who brilliantly palmed away his effort and it fell back to him however he skied his cross.
Thomas Stewart was the next to find Corbet in imperious form as he saw his shot blocked from point blank range also.
The Lilywhites got the equaliser that they so richly deserve when McGrath was bundled over on the edge of the box. Dane Massey took it short to Clifford who took a touch away from the defenders and fired a thunderbolt to the top corner finally beating Corbet.
The game did settle but Dundalk had two late chances to win it when Massey raided in on goal but saw his shot blocked while Kilduff rose highest in injury-time to meet Kinsella’s perfectly weighted free-kick but headed wide of the goal.
It was onto extra-time we went and like the regulation 90 minutes Dundalk were the dominant side stroking the ball around with authority.
Sean Hoare who had been excellent all night looped a header back towards goal from Massey’s corner but it was cleared off the line by Kougun.
Kilduff fired straight at Corbet just before the end of the first period which was as good as it got for the hosts.
It was a lightning start to the second half of extra-time as UCD had a chance to go in front but Georgie Kelly was on the stretch and could only divert the ball wide.
At the other end Mountney created space for himself 30 yards from goal and unleashed a superb strike but it was brilliantly saved by Corbet yet again.
From the corner Hoare knocked the ball down for McGrath who volleyed expertly to the net however the linesman found an infringement and ruled it out.
Yousef Mahdy had a chance to win it for the Students as the game came to a close however a brilliant covering block by Massey prevented him from getting his shot away.
At the other end McGrath took down a superb Clifford through ball and wriggled free in the area however his shot was flicked just wide of the right hand post before McGrath turned provider for Clifford however his low drive was straight at Corbet.
That proved to be the final action of note with Dundalk coming out on top in the penalty kicks to book their place in the last 8.
DUNDALK: Gabriel Sava; Keith Dalton, Paddy Barrett (Chris Shields 61), Sean Hoare, Carlton Ubaezuono (Dane Massey 46); Stephen O’Donnell (capt) (Jamie McGrath 46), Conor Clifford; Steven Kinsella, Thomas Stewart, John Mountney; Ciaran Kilduff.
Substitutes not used: Michael Duffy, Emmet Hughes, James Rice, Ben Kelly (GK)
Booked: Barrett (29)
Sent off: None.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Dean Tobin, Liam Scales, Josh Collins, Sean Coyne (Evan Osam 69); Rob Manley (Yousef Mahdy 124), Greg Sloggett, Gary O’Neill (capt), Gareth Coughlan; Ben Hanrahan (Maxim Kougun 78), Georgie Kelly.
Substitutes not used: Conor Crowley, Cian Kavanagh, Yousef Mahdy, Jack Ryan, Conor Kearns (GK)
Booked: Coyne (24), Sloggett (31)
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 1,000 (estimate)
Referee: Robert Harvey