Derry City saved by late Rory Patterson goal

Shamrock Rovers must travel for FAI Cup semi-final replay

Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers and Derry City’s Phillip Lowry during the FAI Cup semi-final at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Inpho

Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers and Derry City’s Phillip Lowry during the FAI Cup semi-final at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Inpho

 

Shamrock Rovers 1 Derry City 1

Rory Patterson came to the rescue of Derry City at the Tallaght Stadium yesterday, as his 87th-minute goal denied Shamrock Rovers a place in the 2014 FAI Ford Cup Final.

Pat Fenlon’s side seemed primed to book their place in the Aviva Stadium decider - alongside St Patrick’s Athletic - when Dean Kelly finally broke the deadlock on 78 minutes, but Patterson’s late leveller keeps the hopes of the 2012 champions alive for another day.

The 24-times winners received a massive let-off just two minutes into the contest, when Hoops netminder Barry Murphy produced a magnificent save to deny Derry winger Michael Duffy.

Rovers did settle after this initial scare, and with Ronan Finn drifting into a more central position from the right-wing, former Brandywell full-back Simon Madden had ample opportunities to create overlaps inside the Derry half.

Yet, although the hosts enjoyed the majority of possession during the first-quarter, it was Murphy who continued to be the busier of the two shotstoppers. Murphy needed to be on his toes to gather a dangerous 25-yard free-kick from Patrick McEleney, before visiting goalkeeper Gerard Doherty was finally force into action from Karl Sheppard’s close-range header.

Upon the resumption, a re-energised Rovers kept City on the back-foot for an extended period of time, and midfielder Ryan Brennan’s fierce long-distance drive floated just past the target eight minutes into the half.

By the hour mark, Dean Jarvis, Patterson and centre-half Ryan McBride had all found their way into Neil Doyle’s notebook, but even though this made things edgy for Derry, the possibility of a replay was beginning to loom large.

The arrival of Dean Kelly into the fray added fresh impetus to the Rovers play, however, and 12 minutes from time, the 29-year-old striker finally produced some daylight between the teams.

For the umpteenth time in the game, Madden was picked out in space on the right-flank, and after the subsequent cross was deflected into his path, Kelly fired home via the outstretched fingertips of Doherty.

With momentum on their side, a Rovers victory seemed inevitable, but Derry and Patterson had other ideas. Michael Duffy’s right-hand corner was enticingly delivered into the area, where the dependable centre-forward was on hand to nod beyond the reach of Murphy.

With their tails now up, Derry almost secured a sensational triumph at the very end of normal time, only for the fantastic Murphy to once again thwart Duffy in spectacular fashion, and force a return date in the Brandywell on Tuesday night.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Murphy; Madden, McGuinness, Kenna, D O’Connor; Cregg, McPhail, Brennan (Waters, 75); Finn, Sheppard (Kelly, 63), S O’Connor (McCabe, 85). DERRY CITY: Doherty; Molloy, Barry, McBride, Jarvis; Dooley (Timlin, 75), Lowry, McNamee, Duffy; P McEleney; Patterson. Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).

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