Goals in each half from Billy Dennehy and Colin Hawkins gave holders Shamrock Rovers a 2-0 first leg lead over Cliftonville to put them in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at Solitude on March 20th.
Winger Dennehy put Rovers in front on 11 minutes, firing home at the far post from Gary McCabe’s low cross. Veteran central defender Hawkins added the second when heading home McCabe’s 71st minute corner.
Sligo Rovers will also take a 2-0 lead to Belfast after they got the better of Glentoran at the Showgrounds.
Benin international Romauld Boco gave Sligo the lead eight minutes before half time with striker Mark Quigley adding the second on 63 minutes.
David McDaid’s 85 minutes equaliser earned Derry City a 1-1 draw at Irish League leaders Linfield to give them every chance of getting through in the second leg at the Brandywell. Peter Thompson had given Linfield a 13th minute lead.
Despite being under the cosh for good spells, Bohemians also have every hope of going through to the semi-final as Aaron Callaghan’s young side take a 0-0 draw from Crusaders back to Dalymkount Park.