Shamrock Rovers have sealed a place in the EA Sports Cup final after a drama filled 1-0 win against league leaders Cork City. They will meet Dundalk who saw off Galway in the other semi-final.
Shamrock Rovers ... 1, Cork City ... 0 (aet): Ten man Cork City bowed out of the EA Sports Cup at the semi-final stages to Shamrock Rovers after extra-time at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
The winning goal was scored by substitute James Doona in the last minute of extra-time and the Hoops will now meet Dundalk in the final next month.
It means City’s bid to do the domestic treble of league, FAI Cup and League Cup is over though Cork have already won the President’s Cup and the Munster Senior Cup this year.
City made three changes with Conor McCormack suspended, Kieran Sadler cup-tied and Robbie Williams injured and on the bench after making his debut in the win over Drogheda United.
Ryan Delaney, Greg Bolger and Jimmy Keohane came back into the team with Sean McLoughlin, Pierce Philips and David Coffey on the bench.
City who beat Limerick and St Pat’s in previous rounds had marginally the better of the first half but the biggest moment of the half came on 38 minutes when City skipper Alan Bennett was shown a straight red card after a clash with David Webster in the Rovers goalmouth.
Cork had to sacrifice Connor Ellis in attack and bring in Conor McCarthy as they went 4-4-1 to the break.
The visitors had one or two fleeting goal chances from Jimmy Keohane and Ellis but Rovers had the two best scoring opportunities when Gary Shaw just failed to reach Graham Burke’s 10th minute cross and then on 29 minutes Mark McNulty made a fine one-handed save to keep out Shaw after he rounded Bennett on the end line.
Rovers who beat Bohemians and Longford Town to get to the last four made one change from their defeat by Bohemians with Ryan Connolly coming on for the Cup-tied Lee Grace but Sam Bone, Roberto Lopes and Danny Devine were all out injured.
McNulty made another great save on the restart when he turned Ronan Finn’s drive onto the post and then a one two between Sha and Miele had Miele dragging his low show wide of the far post.
City boss John Caulfield was sent to the stands in added time for arguing with the fourth official and the only chance of the first period of extra-time fell to Karl Sheppard who shot wide eight minutes into the allocated 30 minutes.
The league game between Cork and Dundalk scheduled for Friday, September 15 will not go ahead now as its the designated weekend for the EA Sports Cup final and the Lilywhites are in it after a 3-1 away win over Galway yesterday.
Shamrock Rovers (4-2-3-1) - Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Byrne, Clarke; Finn (capt), McAllister; Connolly, Burke, Miele; Shaw. Subs. Carpenter for Byrne (59 mins), Donna for McAllister (extra-time), O’Connor for Shaw (extra-time), Boyd, Bolger, Collins & Horgan (not used)
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty; Beattie, Bennett (capt), Delaney, Griffin; Bolger, Keohane; Sheppard, Buckley, Dooley; Ellis. Subs. McCarthy for Ellis (40 mins), Morrissey for Beattie (92 mins), Campion for Sheppard (extra-time), Williams, Phillips, McLoughlin & Coffey (not used)
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin); official attendance: 1,287
Dundalk ... 3, Galway United ... 0: Earlier, Dundalk saw off Galway United in a 3-0 win to advance to the final.
An early goal from Jamie McGrath gave the Lilywhites the lead and it remained 1-0 at the break.
Dundalk increased their advantage in the second half after Galway’s Marc Ludden was deemed to have fouled John Mountney in the box with Robbie Benson scoring the resulting penalty.
A Kevin Devaney own goal sealed the win 13 minutes before the end.
Stephen Kenny’s men last lifted the League Cup trophy in 2014 beating the side they will meet in the final on September 16.