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Duffy's 89th-minute winner sends treble-chasing Dundalk through to fifth cup final in five years

The Lilywhites now face Shamrock Rovers at the Aviva Stadium on 3 November.

Michael Duffy celebrates his late, late goal.
Michael Duffy celebrates his late, late goal.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Sligo 0

Dundalk 1

Jessica Farry reports from The Showgrounds

DUNDALK WILL TAKE on Shamrock Rovers in this year’s FAI Cup final after they left it late to overcome Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds.

The Lilywhites, the current cup holders, confirmed their place in the final when Michael Duffy struck on 89 minutes to break Sligo Rovers’ hearts.

It looked as though the game was headed for a replay on Tuesday week, until Vinny Perth’s side broke down the Rovers defence.

The hosts had not contested the semi-final of the FAI Cup since they last won the competition in 2013. The Lilywhites, on the other hand, have contested the last four consecutive FAI Cup finals, and need to win the cup in order to claim the treble.

Kris Twardek was first to test the waters after two minutes, with his attempt going over, before Sligo were dealt a massive blow as talisman Romeo Parkes was forced off after 12 minutes due to injury.

Ed McGinty had to be alert in the Rovers goals to keep out Michael Duffy’s free-kick, before the former Celtic youngster bravely raced off his line to fist the ball clear of the head of Patrick Hoban inside the box.

Liam Buckley’s side should have taken the lead on 22 minutes when David Cawley’s free-kick was headed just wide by John Mahon.

Sligo felt they should have had a penalty just seconds later when Ronan Coughlan appeared to be clipped in the box by Daniel Cleary, but referee Rob Harvey was unmoved by the claims.

vinny-perth-and-liam-buckley Vinny Perth and Liam Buckley. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

The Louth men suffered a blow of their own just before the half hour mark when Patrick McEleney was unable to play on whenhe picked up an injury. He was replaced by Robbie Benson.

20-year-old McGinty kept out Sean Hoare’s header from Duffy’s corner just before half-time to keep the current cup holders at bay.

The Bit O’Red netminder was on hand again nine minutes after the restart to keep out Hoban from close range when he got on the end of Daniel Kelly’s cross from the right.

There were further shouts for a penalty from the home side when former Cork man Danny Kane went down in the box, but once again Rob Harvey was not interested.

Dundalk stalwart Chris Shields dragged a shot wide with 10 minutes left on the clock as the visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession.

The league champions should have taken the lead on 84 minutes when substitute Sean Murray fired over from a good position after Duffy’s initial effort was deflected into his path.

The Lilywhites made life difficult for Rovers for the last 10 minutes, and it looked as though Shamrock Rovers would have to wait another nine days to find out who they would meet in the final.

That was until the 89th minute. Rob Harvey awarded a free-kick to Dundalk just outside the box when Lewis Banks brought down substitute Georgie Kelly.

The resulting free-kick was floated in by Sean Murray, and nodded back into play by Kelly.

The ball fell perfectly for the ever impressive Duffy whose left footed volley flew past Ed McGinty to break the hearts of the majority of the 4,079 at The Showgrounds.

Dundalk will now contest their fifth FAI Cup final in as many years, when they take on Shamrock Rovers.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Kyle Callan McFadden, Danny Kane; Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Niall Watson, 63); Ronan Coughlan, Romeo Parkes (Ronan Murray, 12).

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Daniel Cleary, Dane Massey; Daniel Kelly (Sean Murray, 68), Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney (Robbie Benson, 28), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Pat Hoban (Georgie Kelly, 87).

Referee: Rob Harvey.

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About the author:

Jessica Farry

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