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Dundalk put 11 past Athlone in record-breaking FAI Cup hammering

Dundalk will meet Shamrock Rovers in next week’s Cup final after a farcically one-sided semi-final.

A dejected Lee Duffy with his Athlone team-mates after the game.
A dejected Lee Duffy with his Athlone team-mates after the game.
Image: ©INPHO

Athlone Town 0 

Dundalk 11 

Niall Newberry reports from Lissywollen

HISTORY WAS MADE on Sunday evening as Dundalk FC recorded the biggest win of their long existence, thanks to a sensational 11-0 win over Athlone Town in the FAI Cup semi-finals. 

The win was also the biggest of any team in FAI Cup history, with Filippo Giovagnoli’s side showing no mercy, as Dundalk booked their place in the final for the sixth year running.

Needless to say, Shamrock Rovers, who beat Sligo Rovers in the other semi, will prove a much sterner test in what will be a repeat of last year’s final at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Dundalk arrived to the midlands with intentions of killing off this cup tie as early as possible, and Patrick McEleney dinked his header over the top following a long spell of early pressure. 

The Lilywhites took the lead after just three minutes when a long ball over the top from McEleney was latched onto by Michael Duffy, and he calmly finished to make it 1-0. 

Athlone’s chances of reaching a first FAI Cup final since 1924 suffered another blow when McEleney again picked out the unmarked Duffy, who looped a header over Paddy Martyn.  

The First Division side couldn’t live with a Dundalk side that added a third on 13 minutes through Andy Boyle, who, unmarked, headed home at the back post from a Duffy corner. 

John Mountney added a fourth just before the half-hour mark when he too headed home at the back post, this time from what was the sublime McEleney’s third assist of the night.

michael-duffy-celebrates-his-goal Michael Duffy celebrates his first goal with team-mates. Source: ©INPHO

Adam Lennon’s flashed shot across goal and wide was pretty much as good as it got for Athlone and, in truth, was only included in this match report in the mere interests of balance. 

That’s because it was Dundalk who went in search of more goals after that, with Duffy’s curling free-kick hitting the post, shortly before Mountney fired an effort just over the bar.

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McEleney got the goal his efforts deserved on 36 minutes, as he slotted in Dundalk’s fifth after Chris Shields had won the ball back in midfield before squaring it for the Derry man. 

A relentless Dundalk added a sixth with six minutes still to play in the first half after Duffy’s volley was spilled by Martyn and into the path of David McMillan, who finished with ease.

Things didn’t get any better for Athlone in the second period, and Shields scored a cracking goal to make it seven, finding himself in acres of space before bending into the top corner. 

Not long after he had a header hit the bar, McMillan saw another spilled by Martyn and into the path of substitute Nathan Oduwa, who couldn’t miss as a ruthless Dundalk made it 8-0. 

Dundalk showed no signs of slowing down, and another substitute, Daniel Kelly, burst forward before hitting the side-netting, while McMillan curled an effort wide moments later. 

Oduwa, who was subject to much criticism after missing a penalty against Rapid Vienna, was enjoying his cameo and after some good skill, he found McMillan, who turned home a ninth. 

Among those introduced at half-time was Jordan Flores – recently nominated for the coveted Fifa Puskas Award – and he scored Dundalk’s record tenth by curling into the top corner.

Athlone’s embarrassment was compounded by Sean Murray’s low drive, which flew into the bottom-right corner to make it 11-0 and seal the biggest winning-margin in FAI Cup history. 

Athlone Town: Paddy Martyn; Evan White (Shane Nealon 33), Ciaran Grogan, Scott Delaney, David Brookes; Jack Reynolds, Mark Birrane, Israel Kimazo (Lee Duffy HT), Adam Lennon; Ronan Manning, Dean George.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle (Daniel Kelly 58), Daniel Cleary (Sean Hoare 20); John Mountney, Chris Shields (Sean Murray 58), Greg Sloggett (Jordan Flores HT), Patrick McEleney, Darragh Leahy; Michael Duffy (Nathan Oduwa HT), David McMillan.

Referee: Robert Hennessy

About the author:

Niall Newberry

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