Dundalk dump holders Sligo Rovers out of the FAI Cup
Striker David McMillan helps guide Oriel Park side to an emphatic victory
Dundalk’s Chris Shields is tackled by Danny North of Sligo at Oriel Park. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Dundalk 3-0 Sligo Rovers
David McMillan’s 10th goal of the season put Dundalk on their way to another victory as the Lilywhites dumped FAI Cup holders Sligo Rovers out of the competition in emphatic style at Oriel Park last night.
The striker, making just his 10th start of the season, played an integral part in Dundalk’s seventh win on the bounce, scoring the opening goal and creating the other two as Stephen Kenny’s men booked their place in the last 16.
When Sligo Rovers beat Dundalk in the Setanta Cup final in Tallaght on May 10, there couldn’t have been too many people who thought the Bit O’Red’s season would effectively be over less than four weeks later.
Unfortunately, for Ian Baraclough and his men, that is the how things are looking now. Seventeen points adrift in the league and out of all the domestic competitions, the Europa League is all that the Bit O’Red have left to play for now.
Things may have been different had they opened the scoring just short of the quarter hour. Eric Odhiambo swept the ball out to the right for Danny North and raced into the area to collect the return. The Rovers striker bore down on Peter Cherrie but his effort lacked direction, drifting wide of the target. It proved to be a rare excursion into the Dundalk penalty area.
It was mostly one way traffic for the remainder of the half. David McMillan, given a rare start due to Patrick Hoban’s knee operation, forced Gary Rogers into a good save in the 16th minute and Dane Massey then saw a free header tipped away by the Sligo Rovers goalkeeper.
Dundalk’s momentum grew by the minute and the pressure eventually told just past the half hour mark. Brian Gartland’s pass from the back found Richie Towell on the left. His delivery into McMillan’s feet was top class but the striker’s finish was even better, losing his brother, and Sligo centre-back Evan, to find space and delightfully find the top former from 12-yards.
The second goal was always going to be crucial in determining the outcome and it arrived less than two minutes after the restart. Again, it was the result of another incisive bit of football. Towell picked McMillan out on the inside right and his lay off was swept home emphatically by Daryl Horgan.
With their dreams of the Aviva Stadium on life support, Sligo Rovers needed an instant pick me up and they almost got it three minutes later. Danny Ledwith’s free-kick was met by the head of North but Cherrie got down to tip the ball wide.
It proved to be a rare bit of action for the Dundalk goalkeeper and the home side secured their passage to the last 16 when centre-back Brian Gartland made it 3-0 with a thumbing finish after Rogers had denied McMillan a second.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Towell (Griffin 87), Shields; Meenan, Byrne (Byrne 65), Horgan (Higgins 82); D McMillan.
Sligo Rovers: Rogers; Ndo (Maguire 82), E McMillan, Spillane, Gaynor; Russell, O’Conor, Ledwith; Odihambo (Cretaro 58), North, Greene.
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Last night’s other results Athlone Town 0 Longford Town 2 Cork City 6 St Mochtas 0 Drogheda Utd 4 Cockhill Celtic 2 Shelbourne 1 Waterford Utd 0 St Patrick’s CY 0 St Patrick’s Ath 3 UCD 1 SD Galway FC 3 Wexford Youths 1 Bray Wanderers 0 Belgrove Home Farm 0 Finn Harps 1