For the sixth season in a row, two of the top three from the Premier Division will contest the Extra.ie FAI Cup Final. Holders Shamrock Rovers will take on Dundalk who finished third this coming Sunday evening in the Aviva Stadium. Of course, it is also a repeat of last season’s final which Shamrock had won on penalties after full and extra time had seen the game finish in a 1-1 draw.
Both semi-finals were played on Sunday. First up in the Tallaght Stadium, Shamrock welcomed Sligo Rovers. Rovers had booked their place in the last four after beating Derry City 3-1 on penalties the Wednesday previous. Full and extra time had finished goal-less. Shamrock got themselves off to a great start as Aaron McEneff gave them the lead after 4 minutes. Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and Ronan Coughlan then spurned great chances to draw Rovers level. They were punished for this when McEneff scored again in first-half stoppage time. The game finished 2-0 to Shamrock.
In the evening, First Division side Athlone Town welcomed Dundalk to the Athlone Town Stadium. They had beaten a Premier Division side Shelbourne in the quarter-final, but there was to be no upset. Dundalk were ruthless from the off and led 6-0 at half-time. Michael Duffy got two of these with Andy Boyle, John Mountney, Patrick McEleney, and David McMillan getting the others.
There was no let-up in the second half. McMillan got another with further goals from Chris Shields, Nathan Oduwa, Jordan Flores, and Sean Murray. It’s the sixth year in a row that Dundalk have reached the final. They have won two and lost three.
Elsewhere, teams are busy putting their squads together for next season. Newly promoted Drogheda United have re-signed the majority of the side that won them the First Division. They have also brought in midfielder Darragh Markey from St. Patrick’s Athletic. Another player leaving the Richmond Park side is goalkeeper Brendan Clarke. He has dropped a division to sign for relegated Shelbourne FC.
St. Pat’s other keeper Conor Kearns had also left the club and he will have no shortage of suitors. Galway United continue to build what they hope will be a side that can contend for promotion. They have signed former Sligo Rovers and Cork City right-back Gary Boylan. Boylan had previously played for United manager John Caulfield when he was in charge of Cork.
Sligo Rovers announced that their highly-rated netminder Ed McGinty has signed a two-year deal. McGinty has been rewarded for his good form this season which has seen him been called into the Irish U-21 side for whom he has started their last two games.