Well, that didn’t last long, having ended their 379-game streak of not having overturned a half-time deficit to win a game, Sligo Rovers have restarted it as they were beaten 1-0 by Derry City in the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup.
Derry, of course, were the team that Rovers had beaten on Friday night to end their long run. They were the favourites to win again for this game which was played in the Showgrounds. Derry were without seven players for the game, four were suspended, two were injured and their striker Alistair Roy was cup tied having played for Rovers in the previous round.
In fact, before the game, their manager Kenny Shiels said they were thinking of forfeiting as they wouldn’t have enough players for the game! Rovers by contrast made only one change to the side that had played in the Brandywell as former Millwall player Kris Twardek came in for the injured Jack Keaney.
There was a decent crowd in attendance as home supporters sensed a chance for the club to make their first EA Sports Cup final since 2010 and their first one in any competition since 2014. And such is the nature of football Derry won leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the home support.
Rory Hale scored the game’s only goal in the 24th-minute and despite having a number of good chances, Rovers couldn’t get an equaliser. A combination of snatching at their efforts and inspired goal-keeping by Gerard Doherty mean that Derry progress and Rovers let a gilt edged opportunity to reach a Cup final pass them by.
What will really make them rue that loss is that in the other semi-final, there was a huge upset. First Division side Cobh Ramblers who are mid-table were taking on arguably the best side in the country Dundalk in St. Colman’s Park. Cobh had never reached a national final prior to the game; they had reached the semi-final of this competition in 1977 and the last four of the FAI Cup in 1983.
Dundalk were going into the game on the back of their disappointing 4-0 defeat against AEK Larnaca in Cyprus and that result must have still been on their mind as they were beaten 1-0. Chris Hull got the game’s only goal in the 75th-minute. The venue for the final will be decided now by a coin toss but it would be great to have it in Cobh as it would give them their moment to shine seeing as they are often outshone by their more illustrious neighbours Cork City.
You can read about the weekend’s results here https://overtheturnstile.uk/news/sse-airtricity-league-wrap-sligo-rovers-end-unwanted-379-game-streak and the week before here https://overtheturnstile.uk/news/sse-airtricity-league-wrap-things-change-stay.