Dundalk have done the double, their second in four years as they beat their great rivals Cork City 2-1 in the Irish Daily Mail Cup Final which was played in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon. This was the fourth season in a row that these two sides had met in the final and it is now two wins apiece as Cork had won the last two. Sean Hoare gave Dundalk the lead in the 19th minute with Cork levelling two minutes later. Karl Sheppard was fouled in the area and Kieran Sadlier scored the resulting penalty. Dundalk though claimed the win and the Cup thanks to a goal in the 73rd minute from Patrick McEleney.
There was a great attendance at the game with a crowd of over 30,000. For Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny it was the 10th trophy that he has led Dundalk to since he took charge in Oriel Park. And his side will be the favourites for this and the league again next season especially in light of the comments after the game from Cork manager John Caulfield. He said that the club wouldn’t be able to compete financially with Dundalk and that they wouldn’t be in a position to offer long-term contracts to players.
Another side who could be in for tough times financially are Limerick after they were relegated over the weekend. They lost 2-0 against Finn Harps on Friday night in the Markets Field in the promotion/relegation play-off giving Harps a 3-0 aggregate win. After losing the first leg 1-0 it was expected that Limerick would be stronger at home but they weren’t. Harps were more physical and more hungry and goals from Mark Timlin and Nathan Boyle gave Ollie Horgan’s side the win.
Limerick now face a tough year with questions over their funding for next season. Harps have bounced back after their relegation but pressure will be on their board now to find the funding necessary to keep the club in the top flight. The game was also notable as it was the last for Paddy McCourt who retired as he now will be involved in the under-age set-up with Derry City. McCourt is one of the most skilful players to have ever played in the league and even as his career wound down there was still moments of magic as evidenced by his goal against Sligo Rovers in Finn Park last season. Will Dundalk produce the same form next year? We will just have to wait and see…