For the fifth season in row the top two in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division will meet in the Extra.ie FAI Cup Final: holders Dundalk will face Shamrock Rovers. For Dundalk, this makes a change of opponent as they have faced Cork City in the last four finals.
Shamrock Rovers booked their place in the final by beating their fierce Dublin rivals Bohemian FC 2-0 in front of a full house in Dalymount Park. Graham Burke gave them a first half lead as he headed home from a cross by Ronan Finn. Bohs’ task was then made all the more harder when they were reduced to ten in the second half, as Danny Mandroiu received a straight red after his challenge on Sean Kavanagh.
Aaron Greene then scored a second to secure Shamrock’s first Cup Final appearance since 2010. They have won the Cup 24 times but it has been 32 years since their last win- that was in 1987 when they beat Dundalk 3-0 in Dalymount Park.
Dundalk had a tougher test in their semi-final, they were away to Sligo Rovers in the Showgrounds. They won 1-0 but were made to work for their win by a dogged Rovers side. Indeed it looked like the home side were denied a certain penalty in the first half when Sean Hoare clipped Ronan Coughlan inside the box.
For large parts of the game, Rovers were able to keep Dundalk at bay. And it looked as if the game was going to go to a replay only for Michael Duffy to break the hearts of the home faithful as he swept the ball into the net in the 89th minute. The final will now be played on Sunday, November 3rd in the Aviva Stadium.
There was one league game played in the Premier Division and it was an important one in terms of the race for Europe: Derry City beating Cork City 4-0 in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe scored two of the goals with Eoin Toal getting the other, and one was an own goal from Colm Horgan. They now leapfrog Bohs into 3rd place in the table.
It also means that Cork manager Neale Fenn is still awaiting his first win since his appointment. His former club Longford Town have meanwhile advertised for a new manager. They will be in the First Division play-off action this coming Friday as they face Cabinteely in the first of two legs.