Towell wraps up FAI Cup semi-final place for Dundalk with first-half brace
Season gets even better for Stephen Kenny’s men as Shelbourne swamped
Dundalk goalscorer Richie Towell battles with Shelbourne’s Dean Kelly during their FAI Cup quarter-final at Tolka Park, Dublin, last night. Photograph: Inpho
Shelbourne 1 Dundalk 5: Richie Towell ensured Dundalk’s season just gets better as he capped a dazzling display – in the one half he played – with a brace of goals to help sweep Shelbourne aside in a one-sided quarter-final tie at Tolka Park.
It was an eighth straight win for Stephen Kenny’s side as they reached the semi-finals of the cup for the second year running.
While Shelbourne had started brightly enough, forcing two early corners, it was Dundalk who carved the home side open easily to score a fine lead goal on 13 minutes.
Patrick Hoban and Darren Meenan combined on the left for the latter to cross. Shelbourne failed to clear as the ball ran to Towell, who worked a delightful one-two with John Dillon before curling the ball to the top corner of the net from just inside the box despite goalkeeper Niall Burdon getting a hand to the ball.
Dundalk doubled their lead soon after.
Meenan initially did superbly well to cut across from the left and force Burdon into a fine tip over save from a vicious 20-yard drive on 18 minutes.
From the resulting corner, taken by Meenan, central defender Andy Boyle arrived unattended to power a header to the net.
The Shelbourne striker then sliced well wide from a good position from Sean Brennan’s lay-off on 27 minutes.
It was a false dawn as Dundalk stretched their lead after a lightning counterattack on 33 minutes. Hoban sent Towell through on goal from the halfway line. And though the ball was nicked off the midfielder’s toe, it ran kindly for Hoban to drill it home.
Burden then prevented a fourth goal minutes later when turning a fierce shot from Meenan round a post.
But it was 4-0 on 44 minutes with Kurtis Byrne scoring from an audacious chip from the halfway line.
Towell added the fifth a minute later with a bullet header from John Sullivan’s right wing cross before retiring at the interval having earlier shipped a knock in a clash with Burdon.
Shelbourne rallied from the resumption and got a goal back five minutes in when Murtagh ran clear to score from Brennan’s through ball.
SHELBOURNE: Burdon; Gannon, Ryan, Gartland, Flynn; Hanlon, Cronin, Bayly (Sheerin, 72), Brennan; Kelly (Tinnelly, 72), Murtagh (Walshe, 88).
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Sullivan, Gartland, Boyle, Rossiter; Dillon, Towell (Mountney, h/t), Shields, Meenan; Byrne (Keegan, 82), Hoban (Faherty, 71).
Referee: Pádraigh Sutton (Clare).