Dundalk find that bit extra to earn semi-final spot

Holders overcome injury, illness and concession of early goal to advance

 Sean Murray celebrates with his Dundalk team mates after scoring. Photograph: Ciaran Culligan/Inpho

Sean Murray celebrates with his Dundalk team mates after scoring. Photograph: Ciaran Culligan/Inpho

 

Dundalk 3 Finn Harps 1 (after extra-time)

Dundalk overcame injury, illness and the setback of conceding an early goal to keep their dream of retaining the FAI Cup alive against Finn Harps at Oriel Park.

Having lost four players to Covid-19 and another to the flu since squandering a 3-1 lead with six minutes remaining in Ballybofey on Friday night, Vinny Perth’s side showed real heart to fight back and finish the job in extra-time to book their place in an eighth semi-final in the last nine seasons.

The holders had to do things the hard way having fallen behind to a Sean Boyd goal after just six minutes but despite missing as many as 11 first-team players they fought back bravely with Sean Murray levelling matters before a Patrick Hoban penalty and a stunning free kick from Michael Duffy in extra-time ensured their hopes of retaining the Cup for the first time in their history remain intact.

Dream start

Ollie Horgan’s visitors got off to a dream start when they took the lead after just six minutes. An angled pass from Ryan Rainey saw Boyd steal in behind Darragh Leahy with the striker killing the ball with a superb touch before drilling past Peter Cherrie.

Boyd would test Cherrie with a free eight minutes later but the Donegal side never really pushed on from that point in the game.

Tunde Owolabi did fire over after capitalising on a mistake by Mayowa Animasahun but that proved to be their last chance of note in the half as Dundalk drew level six minutes before the break.

A quick throw in caught out the Finn Harps defence with Hoban sending a bicycle kick across the six yard box where Murray was on hand to finish at the near post.

The second half was one of few chances although Cherrie was forced to make a superb double save on 64 minutes to deny firstly Shane McEleney and then Owolabi.

Third time lucky

It was then in extra-time that Dundalk came to the fore. Hoban had a couple of chances at the start of the half but the striker would make it third time lucky from the spot on 97 minutes when he blasted to the right hand corner after Sami Ben Amar was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by David Webster.

The result was then put firmly beyond doubt on the stroke of half-time when Duffy curled a stunning free kick over the wall past Gerard Doherty and into the top left hand corner.

DUNDALK: Cherrie, Jurkovskis, Animasahun, Leahy, Dummigan; Sloggett, Patching; Ben Amar (Hanratty 101), Murray (Douglas 115), Duffy; Hoban (Kwelele 121).

FINN HARPS: Doherty; Boyle, McEleney, Sadiki, Webster (Doherty 105+2); Coyle; O’Sullivan, McNamee (Hawkins 105+2), Rainey (Connolly 88); Owolabi (Rudden 113), Boyd (Foley 71).

Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).

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