Reserve keeper Kelly saves four in shootout as Sligo win cup

Shamrock Rovers 0 Sligo Rovers 0 (aet) (Sligo win 2-0 on pens)

Shamrock Rovers 0 Sligo Rovers 0 (aet) (Sligo win 2-0 on pens)

Ciaran Kelly was the penalty shootout hero when saving all four Shamrock Rovers’ penalties as Sligo Rovers buried the ghost of last year’s disappointment to bring the FAI Ford Cup back to Yeats Country.

Shamrock could have few complaints as they finished with 10 men as Sligo deserved their win before a terrific crowd of 36,101 at the Aviva Stadium.

Kelly, who gave away a penalty in last year’s final defeat to Sporting Fingal, was simply unbeatable in the spot kick decider after 120 minutes failed to produce a goal.

The Sligo keeper saved from Gary Twigg, Pat Flynn, Chris Turner and Paddy Kavanagh as both Eoin Doyle and Gary McCabe - either side of misses by Alan Keane and Conor O’Grady - scored from the spot to win the cup.

Shamrock took the early initiative, but Sligo came right into it to edge possession and force Alan Mannus into the save of the half on 17 minutes.

Romuald Boco was left unmarked from Joseph Ndo’s corner with Mannus at full stretch to tip the header onto the bar.

Another Ndo corner troubled Hoops again on 43 minutes when defender Gavin Peers glancing header arrowed just wide of the far post.

Shamrock were better on the resumption with Stephen Bradley and Twigg coming close. But Sligo wasted a terrific chance on the counterattack on 58 minutes, McCabe blazing over after good work by Doyle and Boco.

Mannus then had to made a decent parry save after Alan Keane put Boco in to shoot 12 minutes later.

But Sligo had a right let off on 75 minutes when Kelly flapped at Dessie Baker’s corner and Keane had to scramble off the line from Flynn’s header.

McCabe showed good feet to carve an 84th-minute opening at the other end, but Flynn put his body on the line to block the shot.

Kelly made two late saves to force extra-time, first from Billy Dennehy’s shot and then Twigg’s header.

Bradley was sent off on 110 for a second yellow card for a tired challenge on Keane who then rifled into the side-netting minutes later.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Rice, Flynn, Sives, Stevens; Chambers (Baker, 69; Price, 113), Turner, Bradley, Dennehy; Stewart (Kavanagh, 102), Twigg.

Sligo Rovers: Kelly; Keane, Peers, Lauchlan, Davoren; Boco, Ndo, Ventre (O‘Grady, 117), McCabe; Russell; Doyle.

Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).

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