Derry City back in EA Sports Cup final after Sligo win
Rory Hale scores the winner but captain Gerard Doherty inspires Derry to Sligo win
Derry City’s Rory Hale celebrates scoring against Sligo Rovers. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Record winners Derry City are through to another EA Sports Cup final after captain Gerard Doherty inspired them to victory at the Showgrounds.
Rory Hale scored the only goal of the game, but Doherty had to make three sublime saves at the other end as Derry earned revenge for the league defeat to the same opposition on Friday.
Hale’s strike came against the run of play, as the home side had started well and twice went close to opening the scoring through Lewis Morrison.
But the goal was a bit special, as Hale controlled a pass from his brother, Ronan, at the edge of the box, and curled a left-footed shot past Mitchell Beeney and in to the top corner midway through the half.
Derry were without four players through suspension, and striker Ally Roy was cup-tied having featured for Rovers in the competition earlier in the year.
But they grew in confidence after the goal, and Dean Shiels went close to doubling their lead.
Rovers thought they had levelled things up before the break, when Mikey Drennan’s flick on to Regan Donelon’s free-kick was destined for the net, before Doherty made a fingertip save.
Rovers called on Raffaele Cretaro to try and force a way back in to the tie, and he almost found it with 20 minutes left, but his close range effort was brilliantly palmed away by Doherty.
And the netminder pulled off another wonder save with three minutes left, after Mikey Drennan had knocked the ball in to Cretaro’s path.
SLIGO: Beeney, Callan-McFadden, Mahon, McClean, Twardek, Cawley, Lynch, McCabe, Donelon (McAleer 85), Drennan, Morrison (Cretaro 60).
DERRY: G Doherty, McDermott (Delap 80), Seaborne, McHattie, Fisk (McBride 89), Ronan Hale, Splaine, McEneff, B Doherty, Shiels, Rory Hale.
Referee: G Kelly.