Sligo survive shootout to earn semi-final spot against Shamrock Rovers

In the tense shootout against Derry City, Ronan Coughlan, Alex Cooper, and Garry Buckley netted for the hosts
Sligo survive shootout to earn semi-final spot against Shamrock Rovers

Sligo Rovers’ David Cawley attempts to tackle Conor McCormack of Derry City. Picture: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

FAI Cup quarter-final: Sligo Rovers 0 Derry City 0 (AET, Sligo won 3-1 on pens)

Sligo Rovers made it through to Sunday's Extra.ie FAI Cup semi-final against holders Shamrock Rovers after a 3-1 penalty shootout defeat of Derry City after an absorbing yet scoreless quarter-final at The Showgrounds.

In the tense shootout Ronan Coughlan, Alex Cooper, and Garry Buckley netted for the hosts, with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's effort coming off the woodwork.

Derry couldn't match this accuracy, missing three spot-kicks, as only Conor Clifford netted. Conor McCormack blasted over, Walter Figueira struck the bar, and Ibrahaim Meite drilled wide.

Sligo, without suspended duo Niall Morahan and Jesse Devers, finished fourth in the Premier Division and recorded wins over Derry in their two meetings this season.

Derry's preparations for this game had been severely disrupted due to Covid-19 and squad members having to self-isolate.

Indeed, this quarter-final had twice been called off in recent weeks due to Covid-19 cases in the Derry camp.

Derry had the game's first chance but James Akintunde's header, although on target, was an easy save for Ed McGinty, Rovers' Republic of Ireland U-21 international.

The visitors were busy enough despite their lack of training sessions, with Sligo going through the first 30 minutes without creating anything of note.

Derry pressure yielded a series of free-kicks and corners but Sligo's defence, with Garry Buckley impressing, remained solid.

Sligo's top scorer Ronan Coughlan saw his low, angled drive - from Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's through ball - blocked by Derry custodian Peter Cherrie after 33 minutes.

From the subsequent corner, Garry Buckley's well-struck volley was just over.

Sligo started the second period with an opportunity for Alex Cooper, whose header was wide from Ronan Coughlan's flick-on.

A dangerous delivery from Sligo full-back Lewis Banks forced Peter Cherrie to punch clear.

In a game bereft of clear-cut chances Derry almost broke the deadlock with a fine free-kick from Gerardo Bruna that was narrowly over in the 64th minute.

James Akintunde was next to threaten for Derry with a curling, but off-target effort after cutting in from the right.

Derry began to dominate and should have scored from a series of attacks - Ciaron Harkin, Stephen Mallon, and Walter Figueira each had decent attempts thwarted by Ed McGinty.

Cameron McJannet's close-range header from a corner came off the crossbar as Sligo somehow survived to bring matters into extra-time.

Sligo went close with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's header from a corner in the first period of extra-time.

Darragh Noone, a lively substitute, saw a goalbound shot blocked as Sligo, the better side in extra-time, continued to press for a lead goal.

Regan Donelon saw his free-kick pushed out for a corner by an alert Peter Cherrie, with Derry looking as if they were holding on for penalties.

Sligo Rovers: McGinty; Banks, Buckley, Mahon, Donelon; Ogedi-Uzokwe, Seymore, Cawley (Noone 84), Cooper; De Vries (Kane 91); Coughlan 

Derry City: Cherrie; Horgan, Toal, McJannet, Coll; McCormack, Bruna (Thomson 81); Malone (Harkin 61), Hamill (Clifford 111), Mallon (Figueira 81); Akintunde (Meite 87) 

Referee: Neil Doyle

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