Dundalk win EA SPORTS Cup
Dundalk won the EA SPORTS Cup on Saturday evening in a dramatic final against Derry City.
The match went all the way to penalties after 120 thrilling minutes. David Parkhouse gave Derry an early lead before Michael Duffy equalised, then Junior had put Derry in front once more but Sean Gannon cancelled that one out before it went to penalties. Chris Shields was the hero as he saw Dundalk win 6-5 on penalties and seal the League Cup trophy for the seventh time.
Derry City got off to the best possible start when David Parkhouse poked home from close range when Junior’s shot was parried into his path by Aaron McCarey.
Dundalk responded perfectly and began to dominate possession and their first real opportunity came when Jamie McGrath showed superb trickery on the right and crossed for Michael Duffy who powered a header towards goal, drawing a stunning save from Peter Cherrie to keep the Candystripes in front.
Gerardo Bruna had a shot from 30 yards which was expertly blocked by Daniel Kelly while, at the other end, Duffy went on a wonderful run after Dane Massey’s throw-in but, after dancing past three defenders, his shot was over the bar.
Duffy again had a chance when he found himself free on the penalty spot and was on the end of a Sean Gannon cross but he couldn’t get enough purchase on it and it went harmlessly into the arms of Peter Cherrie.
The Lilywhites though did get the equaliser when Sean Hoare’s ball forward was brilliantly controlled by Patrick McEleney. He laid it off to that man Duffy, who curled a simply stunning shot past Cherrie from 25 yards with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
It was almost 2-1 just before the interval. Chris Shields played a brilliant ball to Gannon on the right and his tantalising cross on the volley was almost met by Patrick Hoban, but the chance went begging.
Dundalk began the second half with intent and McEleney was causing problems and Duffy’s free-kick was scrambled clear.
The home side re-took the lead somewhat against the run of play just five minutes into the half when Barry McNamee set Junior away on the right.
He took it past Massey and his shot was deflected, wrong-footing McCarey and trickling into the net.
Cleary’s drilled pass was flicked on by McGrath next and into the path of Hoban however just as he was about to shoot it was expertly cleared by Gilchrist.
Duffy’s corner was met at the near post by Massey but he got too much on it and it went over the bar.
The complexion of the contest was to change int he moments after when Derry were reduced to 10 men.
Shields was fouled by Grant Gillespie and then he fouled McGrath within a matter of moments. Referee Rob Hennessy brandished two yellows and a red to the winger and he was dismissed.
Dundalk upped the ante and Shields found himself in space 20 yards from goal as Derry retreated but his drive was pushed over by Cherrie.
Dundalk did get the leveller with just over 20 minutes to go.
Duffy was excellent again and he went past the Derry defence and shot at goal. The ball was pushed out by Cherrie but there was Gannon to finish to the net.
The game settled then with Dundalk in most of the possession however the hosts broke the dominance when Darren McCauley had a shot from 25 yards but it was easily gathered by McCarey.
McNamee’s free-kick from 30 yards just cleared the crossbar with McCarey having it covered and in the final moments of the 90, McEleney jinked through the Candystripes defence however his shot was blocked by Jamie McDonagh.
Extra-time began with the Lilywhites on the front foot again but didn’t create anything of note until the 99th minute when Duffy got in behind McDonagh and then got past Gilchrist but his shot was saved by the legs of Cherrie.
Georgie Kelly rose highest to Massey’s cross but almost too high as he headed over the bar as the match was level to half-time in extra-time.
The second period of extra-time saw Michael McCrudden almost capitalise on a loose ball in behind but his shot was straight at McCarey who gathered at the second attempt.
Some pinball in the box after both Dean Jarvis and Massey had crosses charged down left the ball to Shields on the edge of the area but he dragged his shot wide.
That was as close as either side came in the 30 minutes and the final headed to spot kicks.
The penalties went all the way to sudden death with Chris Shields slotting home the winning kick.
DERRY CITY: Peter Cherrie; Jamie McDonagh, Ally Gilchrist, Eoin Toal, Ciaron Harkin, Barry McNamee; Gerardo Bruna (Darren McCauley 46) (Aidy Delap 118), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Michael McCrudden 99), Grant Gillespie; David Parkhouse (Jack Malone 78).
Substitutes not used: Nathan Gartside (GK), Mark McChrystal, Ronan Boyce.
Booked: Bruna (17), Gillespie (55, 56), McDonagh (119)
Sent off: Gillespie (56)
DUNDALK: Aaron McCarey; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Dean Jarvis 102); Daniel Kelly (Robbie Benson 66), Jamie McGrath (Georgie Kelly 86), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Gary Rogers; Brian Gartland, Cameron Dummigan, Andy Boyle.
Booked: Hoare (84), Benson (101)
Referee: Robert Hennessy