Craig Hyland the hero as Shamrock Rovers march on

Shelbourne 1 Shamrock Rovers 1 (AET, Rovers won 3-2 on pens): Craig Hyland produced the heroics for Shamrock Rovers in the necessary shootout, saving three penalties to put 10-man Hoops into the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup.

After 120 minutes of frantic football failed to separate these old rivals at Tolka Park, Hyland saved from Shelbourne skipper Daire Doyle, Robert O’Reilly, and James English. Jamie Doyle and Mark Sanford did score from the spot for Shels.

Dean Clarke, Danny North, and Patrick Cregg held their nerve for Rovers though Brandon Miele rattled his effort off the bar.

Both sides rang the changes from respective home wins on Friday, Rovers making no less than eight. But it was Kevin Doherty’s First Division Shels, with six changes, who deservedly took a 28th-minute lead.

The lively Lorcan Shannon swung over a corner low into the near post where Rovers’ striker North, trying to volley clear, sliced into his own net.

Shels were inches from trooping off two goals to the good at the interval when the impressive Shannon rifled a half volley against a post.

Two changes at the break saw Rovers much improved. Substitutes Dean Clarke and Sean Boyd had chances before Clarke equalised on 62 minutes. Boyd fed skipper Patrick Cregg who found Clarke on the left. The winger cut inside before drilling a low drive to the corner of Greg Murray’s net.

Sean Heaney then rattled a shot from the edge of the area off the home crossbar three minutes later. Shels defended stoutly as Rovers struggled to create chances before being reduced to ten men on 87 minutes.

Central defender Rob Cornwall, booked earlier for a foul on Carl Walshe, clattered into Robert Duggan to receive his second yellow and was sent off.

Shelbourne:

Murray; Duggan, Keeley (Collins, 53), Robinson, Kehoe; Shannon (J. Doyle, 94), D. Doyle, Duggan, Walshe; Grimes (Sandford, 116; English.

Shamrock Rovers:

Hyland; Hanney, Cornwall, Blanchard (Webster, 70), Heaney; McCaffrey (D. Clarke, h-t), Cregg, Purdy, T. Clarke (Boyd, h-t); Miele; North.

Referee:

Ray Matthews (Longford).


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