Shamrock Rovers end Bluebell’s cup run as Brandon Miele grabs hat-trick
FAI Cup round-up: Dundalk put four past Drogheda; Limerick win in Galway
Brandon Miele scores Shamrock Rovers’ fourth goal to complete his hat-trick in the FAI Cup quarter-final against Blueball United at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Bluebell United 2 Shamrock Rovers 4
Brandon Miele scored a sublime hat-trick at Tallaght Stadium to end non-league Bluebell United’s interest in the FAI Cup at the quarter-final.
The midfielder also provided an assist against his former club to ease Rovers into Monday night’s semi-final draw.
Though they coughed up the first real chance of the match when Bluebell’s Aaron Robinson shot straight at Tomer Chencinski, Rovers were patient and got their lead on 21 minutes.
Bluebell failed to fully clear a corner and Cameron King set up Miele who struck a delightful right-footed shot to the far corner of the net.
But far from laying down, Bluebell hit back to level two minutes later. Dean Ebbe’s ball in from the left wasn’t dealt with by Rovers and right winger Gary Seery arrived to flick the ball home.
Rovers regained command with Michael O’Connor and Ryan Connolly off target before Bluebell goalkeeper Andy McNulty had to tip David McAllister’s deflected shot onto the bar and out for a corner on 36 minutes.
Four minutes later McNulty was left rooted to the spot as Rovers regained the lead, Miele again displaying his quality in taking a pass back from Connolly to nonchalantly dip a shot to the far corner of the net.
The game looked up for Bluebell seven minutes into the second half when Rovers extended their lead.
O’Connor, Simon Madden and Miele all combined to pick out Connolly in the area who turned and stroked a left-footed shot to the bottom corner for a fine team goal.
Bluebell did hit back on 71 minutes to score a second goal against the run of play.
Substitute Richard O’Hanlon whipped in a low cross from the right for Shane Stritch to stretch and toe the ball past Chencinski.
It got no better for Bluebell, though, as captain Tony Griffiths was sent off four minutes later for a second yellow card offence for a foul on Madden.
Miele then completed his hat-trick on 78 minutes, shooting low to the net after a surging run into the area by Clarke set him up.
BLUEBELL UNITED: McNulty; Russell, Flood, Walsh, Quinn; Seery (Keegan, 81), Scully (O’Hanlon, 63 mins), Griffiths, Robinson (Bayly, 59 mins), Ebbe; Stitch.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Chencinski; Madden, Lopes, Grace, T Clarke; McAllister, Bolger; King (Doona, 69 mins), Connolly (Dillon, 82 mins), Miele; O’Connor (D Clarke, 82 mins).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).
Dundalk 4 Drogheda United 0
Dundalk remain on course for a third successive FAI Cup final appearance after another ruthless display against Drogheda United at Oriel Park.
The Lilywhites put six without reply past the Drogs in the last meeting between the sides in June and they could easily have racked up the same amount here.
Michael Duffy’s fifth-minute opener, followed by Dylan Connolly’s very first FAI Cup goal meant that Stephen Kenny’s side went into the break with a commanding lead.
Things may have panned out differently, however, had Adam Wixted’s second-minute volley beat Gary Rogers, the Dundalk goalkeeper making a fine save to turn the ball over his crossbar.
The 2015 cup winners pulled in front in the fifth minute when Connolly’s cross found Michael Duffy at the back post and he took advantage of some poor defending by Dave Mulcahy to lift the ball over Stephen McGuinness.
Dundalk went in search of a second and the tie was all but put to bed in the 28th minute when Connolly picked the ball up, set himself and let fly from 30 yards, his curling effort flying inside the helpless McGuinness’s left-hand post.
Drogheda posed very few problems in the final third and they were fortunate to go in just two goals down with McEleney blazing over after forcing himself into a shooting position on the edge of the penalty area.
Any notions that Dundalk might settle for what they had were dispelled when David McMillan flashed a drive across goal just seconds after the restart and the third duly arrived in the 49th minute when Brian Gartland headed a Duffy free-kick past McGuinness.
Connolly should have made it four but he steered his effort wide under pressure from Mulcahy. However, the former Bray winger made amends in the 57th minute when he was upended in the box after a surging run and McMillan hammered home the spot kick.
Luke Gallagher went close to pulling one back for the Drogs but his cracking effort came back off the woodwork with Rogers beaten.
Drogheda were on the back foot again in the 67th minute when Duffy rounded McGuinness only to see his attempt hacked off the line.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon (Hoare, 70 mins), Gartland, Vemmelund, Grimes; Shields (O’Donnell, 63 mins), Benson; Connolly (Kinsella, 58 mins), McEleney, Duffy; McMillan.
DROGHEDA UNITED: McGuinness; Elworthy, Mulcahy, Dunne, Kane; Hyland (Brennan, 70 mins), Purdy (Bayly, 76 mins), Gallagher; Wixted, Byrne, Russell (Elliott, HT).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Galway United 1 Limerick 2
Limerick booked a place in the semi-finals as they struck twice in the third quarter to secure a deserved win at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Galway pulled a goal back 11 minutes from time but were unable to find an equaliser in the closing stages.
Both sides struggled to break the deadlock in the opening half and it was no surprise when they changed around scoreless after a poor opening half.
There were chances at either end to achieve a breakthrough but a good cross from the right by Limerick’s Lee Lynch was not finished by the unmarked Barry Cotter.
Galway did create the better opportunities without dominating and Eoin McCormack almost broke the deadlock with a looped effort that forced Limerick goalkeeper Brendan Clarke into a save.
The Limerick netminder also had to be sharp to get to a low shot from the edge of the box by Gavan Holohan which looked destined for the bottom left corner of the net.
McCormack again went close to grabbing the lead four minutes from the break but Clare was well positioned to deal with a lob from McCormack.
But Limerick, with Bastien Hery excellent around the middle of the park, took control in the second half and hit Galway with a double strike in the third quarter.
Kevin Devaney and Holohan had chances shortly after Galway but were unable to direct their shots on target.
Limerick continued to grow in confidence and they made it 2-0 after 64 minutes when Tosi and Chiedozie Ogbene combined and Shane Duggan supplied a powerful finish from inside the box.
Galway were given hope 11 minutes from time when Padraic Cunningham finished from close range after a shot from the right by Devaney was parried by Clarke.
But they were unable to find an equaliser as Limerick held on to book a place in the last four of the competition.
GALWAY UNITED: C Winn; C Horgan, P Sinnott, S Folan, M Ludden; K Devaney, R Hale (C Melody, 91 mins), D Cawley, G Holohan (R Manning, 69 mins), R Murray; E McCormack (P Cunningham, 68 mins).
LIMERICK FC: B Clarke; B Cotter, T Whitehead, D O’Connor, S Tracy; S Kenny (J Crowe, 84 mins), L-J Lynch, S Duggan, C Ogbene; B Hery, R Tosi (J O’Flynn, 86 mins).
Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).