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Double delight for Dundalk as they secure Cup success after extra-time win over Cork City

Richie Towell’s 107th-minute strike proved the difference after an exhausting affair.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

RICHIE TOWELL PROVED the hero as Dundalk capped a magnificent season by securing the League and Cup double with an exhausting extra-time FAI Cup victory over Cork City in front of a spirited crowd at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

Towell popped up with the only goal of the game after 107 minutes of energy-sapping football, calmly finishing to the net after former City winger Daryl Horgan had made a brilliant and incisive run down the left side before conjuring a perfect cut-back from the by-line.

It was a scrappy affair, with good chances at a premium but on the balance of play, Stephen Kenny’s side deserved it, carving out a couple of decent opportunities at various intervals.

Still, it was John Caulfield’s side who began brightly with some early intent down the the right side from Billy Dennehy. His lofted cross found Mark O’Sullivan, though the header didn’t trouble Gary Rogers who gathered comfortably.

Chris Shields with Kevin O'Connor Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The teams swapped some body blows with neither ever really creating a decent opportunity. Ronan Finn flashed a snap-shot wide while at the other end, City’s set-pieces seemed to cause some mild panic with Darren Dennehy and Alan Bennett the inevitable targets.

Just before the break, Dundalk suffered a blow when Sean Gannon was forced off with injury. Stephen O’Donnell’s introduction forced Stephen Kenny into a tweaking of his tactics bit it seemed to matter little as they exploded out of the traps after the restart and really should’ve taken the lead.

A neatly-worked chance in the left channel saw Dane Massey slip the ball inside for David McMillan, who steadied himself before sending the well-struck shot towards the far corner. But Mark McNulty did well to get across and tip it away.

Moments later and Dundalk were through again as Finn sent McMillan through but his heavy first touch allowed McNulty to scamper from his line and smother.

From there, the game descended into a tough slog with City happy to keep their shape, stay organised and frustrate their opponents in the final third. And it worked too, with Towell in particular finding it difficult to find space.

John Mountney and Karl Sheppard Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Garry Buckley showed some good feet on the edge of the Dundalk area but pulled the subsequent shot wide of the bottom corner while the excellent Horgan showed some blistering pace to drive into the left channel of the area but his effort failed to properly test McNulty.

As the game ebbed towards an inevitable conclusion, both sides emptied their benches in preparation for an energy-sapping finale.

Extra-time was inevitable but the Dundalk bodies seemed fitter and stronger. When City lost Karl Sheppard through injury during the opening period, it meant Caulfield had to rethink his strategy but it wasn’t long before Towell popped up to turn the screw.

There was a frantic, late rally from City though two free-kicks in good positions were inexplicably wasted.

For Dundalk, a season for the ages and they join an illustrious group of double winners.

Andy Boyle with Garry Buckley Dundalk's Andy Boyle takes a tumble after a challenge from Cork City's Garry Buckley. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cork City

McNulty, Bennett, Dunleavy, Darren Dennehy, Gaynor, O’Connor, Sheppard, Billy Dennehy, Miller (Healy, 60′), O’Sullivan, Buckley.


Rogers, Gannon (O’Donnell, 43′), Gartland, Boyle, Shields, Horgan, McMillan (Kilduff, 71′), Finn, Massey, Towell, Meenan (Moutney, 77′).

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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