Shamrock Rovers leave it late to put cup final beyond doubt

Dundalk 0 Shamrock Rovers 2

Gary O’Neill finally found his scoring touch, while Billy Dennehy added a late second goal, as Shamrock Rovers lifted the Setanta Sports Cup at Tallaght Stadium this evening.

O'Neill struck to break the deadlock on 65 minutes with his first goal of the season. Ronan Finn punished an error by Dundalk central defender Michael Hector to get to the end line and pull the ball back for O’Neill to shoot to the roof of the net from close range.

Dennehy didn't seal the win until the third minute of added time, however. Latching onto Gary Twigg's pass, the winger rifled in a low shot that hit a post before spinning back over the line.

With a strong breeze behind them, Dundalk were much the better side in the first half with strikers Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley causing the most worry to the Rovers defence.

Byrne showed good control with his chest to take down Ross Gaynor’s cross and fire wide on the half-volley on 15 minutes.

Quigley then brought the save of the half from Alan Mannus with a direct free-kick from 30 yards which the Hoops’ keeper turned round a post at full stretch.

Scarcely in the game, Rovers came within inches of taking an undeserved lead three minutes before the break when Dennehy’s low free-kick came back off the butt of Peter Cherrie’s right-hand post. A minute later, Cherrie then dived full length to turn Finn’s fiercely struck drive out for a corner.

Cherrie again came to Dundalk’s rescue six minutes into the second half with a good stop with his feat as man-of-the-match Finn got through one-on-one.

Dennehy came close to extending Rovers’ lead, first bouncing a cross off the bar and then drilling wide after good work by substitute Gary McCabe.

Twigg almost marked his return from injury with a goal on 87 minutes but saw his shot come back off a post, before setting up Dennehy to seal it.

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