McEleney The Hero As Dundalk Win Double
Patrick McEleney’s header 15 minutes from time sealed a superb double for Dundalk as they defeated Cork City 2-1 on Sunday evening at the AVIVA Stadium!
Sean Hoare gave the champions the lead in the 18th minute before Kieran Sadlier’s penalty levelled for the Leesiders. McEleney then thundered home his header to see Dundalk claim their first Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup since 2015.
Dundalk were the first to threaten when Michael Duffy’s cross found the head of John Mountney however he flashed his effort wide of the target.
It was cagey for the next stag however it was the Lilywhites who took the lead in the 18th minute.
A superb Duffy corner was met by the rising Sean Hoare and he powered the ball to the net after brilliantly beating McNulty to the ball.
The lead would barely last two minutes as Hoare then felled Karl Sheppard in the box and referee Neil Doyle had no doubt about pointing to the spot.
Kieran Sadlier stepped up and although Rogers guessed right, the ball went under his grasp and to the net.
Dundalk almost took the lead immediately though when another Duffy corner found Hoare’s centre-half partner Brian Gartland but his excellent header was somehow cleared off the line by Shane Griffin.
Robbie Benson then burst through the Cork midfield and got beyond the defence however his cross was cleared before the waiting Hoban was ready to pounce.
Cork had a chance to go in front with 10 minutes remaining in the half when Sadlier got beyond Gannon and his clever cross found Garry Buckley on the edge of the area but his low drive was gathered by Rogers at the second attempt.
The second half began with Sheppard heading towards goal however it was well wide in the end but Dundalk had a superb chance on the hour mark to retake the lead.
Duffy got the better of McCarthy on the left and his superb cross was met by Benson but his header was parried by McNulty and in a goalmouth scramble the Leesiders managed to eventually clear the danger despite pressure from Dundalk forwards.
Hoban then capitalised on a poor touch from Bennett and was clear on goal but his shot from an acute angle was parried away by McNulty.
Dundalk did get the lead that they did deserve with just over 15 minutes remaining on the watch.
A superb sweeping moved finished with Gannon playing one of the greatest crosses you will ever see the the arriving McEleney and he thumped his header to the net via the arm of McNulty.
Instead of conceding straight away this time we almost doubled the lead when Duffy’s corner found Massey but his header just wasn’t strong enough and McNulty gathered.
Cork almost levelled in the final minute of normal time when Sadlier lined up a shot from over 40 yards and his effort caught a deflection but it was miraculously tipped over the bar by Rogers.
The Lilywhites should have made it 3-1 in the 92nd minute when Hoban’s challenge set Duffy away and he raided down on goal however his low drive was saved by McNulty.
Cork had one final chance to force extra-time however their cross was cleared and the Lilywhites secured their fourth double!!
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Alan Bennett, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey (Barry McNamee 67), Conor McCormack (Cian Murphy 85), Jimmy Keohane (Graham Cummins 80); Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard, Kieran Sadlier.
Substitutes not used: Peter Cherrie (GK), Aaron Barry, Damien Delaney, Ronan Coughlan.
Booked: McCarthy (32), Bennett (82)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon (Daniel Cleary 86), Brian Gartland (capt), Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Dean Jarvis 90); John Mountney (Jamie McGrath 57), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), Dylan Connolly, Ronan Murray,Georgie Kelly.
Booked: Shields (35), Gartland (90)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle