Dundalk face further fixture headache after letting two-goal lead slip in FAI Cup semi

The extra game is the last thing Stephen Kenny would have wanted with his side now still competing on three fronts.

Dean Shiels put Dundalk into a first-half lead.
Dean Shiels put Dundalk into a first-half lead.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dundalk 2
Derry City 2

FIRST-HALF GOALS from Dean Shiels and Ciaran Kilduff looked to have set Dundalk on their way to the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium next month –- but goals after the break from Rory Patterson and Ronan Curtis secured Derry a deserved replay.

It looked as if the Lilywhites were set fair for reaching the final, with the club still harbouring hopes of winning a second successive league and cup double. Derry, however, roared back and will now contest a replay at the Brandywell.

Despite making eight changes from the team that beat Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday, Dundalk were in a very strong position at half time. Shiels and Kilduff were both substitutes against the Israelis on Thursday – a match-winning one in the striker’s case – but both made an impact from the start back on home turf.

The visitors started the last four clash the better. On a gloriously sunny October afternoon, they began with purpose and intensity. Rory Patterson went closest in the early stages when his header was well saved by stand-in goalkeeper Gabriel Sava.

Dundalk had the intervention of the linesman’s flag to thank when Nathan Boyle looked to be in when he latched onto Barry McNamee’s through ball, but the hosts began to assert their superiority on the match.

Patrick McEleney and Conor McCormack Conor McCormack and Patrick McEleney battle for possession. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

They took the lead on 21 minutes. In a much changed team, it was the club’s two out-of-contract summer signings that combined to get it. Alan Keane embarked on a brilliant solo run down the right. It ended when he beat Ryan McBride in the penalty area and crossed for Shiels who scored with a brave, stopping header.

That proved to be his last action in the game. In scoring, the former Northern Ireland midfielder injured his arm and after on-pitch treatment, was withdrawn. Shiels had damaged dad Kenny’s hopes of an FAI Cup final appearance in his first season in charge, but that was to be all of the upset he could cause in the family home today.

Stephen Kenny’s men didn’t need Shiels to double their advantage. They did that with the last kick of the half and replacement Patrick McEleney was the creator.

The ex-Derry playmaker picked the ball up on the edge of the area and dinked it over the entire Derry defence to Kilduff. He stayed onside and controlled brilliantly before finishing with the outside of his right boot.

Five minutes after the interval, the two linked up again. McEleney delivered a perfect cross into the area – right on the striker’s head – but this time, Kilduff headed against the upright. The home side may have started to rue that missed chance on 65 minutes.

Ciaran Kilduff celebrates scoring Kilduff celebrates his second goal of the week. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Aaron McEneff surged into the area and shot. Sava was behind it but couldn’t hold it, leaving Patterson to finish from close range.

The Candystripes were much improved after the break. Sub Ronan Curtis impressed on his introduction, and it was he that got the equaliser.

He latched onto a ball forward from the left full-back. Keane and Barratt allowed the ball to bounce and Curtis came onto his right foot and arrowed a low shot past Sava and in.

DUNDALK: Gabriel Sava, Alan Keane, Paddy Barratt, Andy Boyle, Shane Grimes, Chris Shields, Stephen O’Donnell, Dean Shiels (Patrick McEleney, 24), John Mountney, Daryl Horgan (Robbie Benson 73), Ciaran Kilduff (David McMillan, 82).

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Subs not used: Gary Rogers, Brian Gartland, Sean Gannon, Darren Meenan.

DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride (Ben Doherty, 59), Dean Jarvis, Lukas Schubert (Josh Daniels, 81), Aaron McEneff, Conor McCormack, Barry McNamee, Nathan Boyle (Ronan Curtis, 52), Rory Patterson.

Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Cristian Castells, Harry Monaghan, Keith Ward.

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).

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