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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Last-gasp extra-time goal secures Shamrock Rovers a place in Cup decider at City's expense

Leesiders were reduced to 10 men after Alan Bennett’s straight red card in the first-half.

Image: Bryan Keane; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 1

Cork City 0

(After extra-time)

Harry Manning reports from Tallaght Stadium. 

JAMES DOONA WAS the hero for Shamrock Rovers as he blasted the Hoops into the EA Sports Cup final after his 120th minute goal saw his side put away a resilient Cork City.

The 19-year-old was perfectly positioned to hammer the ball deep into the net as Stephen Bradley’s side deservedly progressed to the decider against Dundalk in September in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Rovers, playing in a record sixth consecutive league cup semi-final, created the first-half’s only legitimate chance thanks to some steely determination from Gary Shaw on 28 minutes.

The Hoops’ lone front man twice dispossessed Alan Bennett high up the pitch before galloping into the box. Mark McNulty was quick off his line to close the space, however, and made a superb reaction-save.

On 37 minutes John Caulfield’s side were handed a hammer blow when captain Bennett was shown a straight red following an off-the-ball incident which left Rovers centre-half David Webster wincing in pain.

Neil Doyle sends John Caulfield to the stands Source: Bryan Keane; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

A lively ending to an otherwise sluggish opening half.

On 53 minutes, after a fast-flowing move Ronan Finn picked up the ball 20 yards from goal.

The Rovers captain then unleashed a stunning drive which McNulty miraculously tipped onto the post in what was a remarkable stop.

Stephen Bradley’s side continued to mount the pressure on the Cork backline and on 73 minutes should have taken the lead.

Graham Burke fizzed a ball into the feet of Brandon Miele who touched it off to Shaw inside the box. Shaw then laid it back into Miele setting him up perfectly however, he could only drag his effort wide of the mark from close range.

With two minutes left Finn lofted a ball towards Webster deep inside the area. The centre-half headed it across to Shaw who was then denied again by a top McNulty stop.

However, this time the ball rebounded to David McAllister inside the six yard box but he blasted it over with the goal at his mercy.

Rovers carried their momentum into extra-time, however, were finding it increasingly difficult to find gaps in the resolute Cork defence.

The Leesiders almost capitalised when on 97 minutes, Gearoid Morrissey pounced on a poor pass from the back before slipping in Karl Sheppard, however his laced-effort fell well wide.

Shamrock Rovers fans invade the pitch after James Doona scores a goal Source: Bryan Keane; ©INPHO/Bryan Keane/INPHO

Then, in the final minute of overtime, Trevor Clarke received the ball high up the left-wing. His centre was headed away by Ryan Delaney however it dropped to Doona who smashed it beyond McNulty.

The Hoops now progress to the EA Sports Cup final for the first time since 2014 where they will meet Dundalk who eased into the decider with a 3-0 win against Galway United.

Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Luke Byrne (Dean Carpenter, 59), David Webster, Trevor Clarke; David McAllister (James Doona, 95), Ryan Connolly, Ronan Finn (C); Graham Burke, Gary Shaw (Michael O’Connor, 102), Brandon Miele

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie (Gearoid Morrissey, 90), Alan Bennett (C), Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Greg Bolger, Jimmy Keohane, Stephen Dooley; Garry Buckley; Karl Sheppard (Achille Campion, 102), Connor Ellis (Conor McCarthy, 43)

Referee: Neil Doyle

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About the author:

Harry Manning

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