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Grace's 93rd minute header sees Shamrock Rovers book FAI Cup semi-final spot

Lee Grace’s late goal saw Shamrock Rovers overcome Galway United in the quarter-finals.

Lee Grace was the goalscorer for the Hoops on Friday.
Lee Grace was the goalscorer for the Hoops on Friday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Galway United 1

Shamrock Rovers 2

John Fallon reports from Eamonn Deacy Park

LEE GRACE WAS the Shamrock Rovers hero when he struck for the winner three minutes into stoppage time to reach the FAI Cup semi-finals.

It was cruel on a game Galway United who defied their 16-1 odds for most of an exciting clash at Eamonn Deacy Park.

The Hoops had to come from behind and just when it seemed it was heading for a replay, Grace headed home the winner in the dying moments of a cracking contest.

Galway United, boosted by a 1-0 win over Cork City last time out, stunned Rovers when they hit the front after 33 minutes.

A Marc Ludden throw from the left was not dealt with and Stephen Christopher controlled and let fly from the edge of the box and while his effort was blocked in the crowded box, Maurice Nugent pounced to dispatch the ball to the net from close range.

The home fans in the crowd of 1,525 were thrilled as the First Division had not been over-awed prior to that on a perfect evening for football at Eamonn Deacy Park.

stephen-bradley-celebrates-after-the-game Shamrock Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley celebrates. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Rovers, who had done little ample possession prior to that, hit back before the break but couldn’t find a way through, with Ludden doing well to block an effort from Graham Burke just before the interval.

Galway had a chance to double their lead eight minutes after the restart thanks to a good break by Conor Barry but Christopher was unable to hit the target.

Rovers got back on level terms after 56 minutes when good pressure saw Graham Burke pull back an effort from the left and the inrushing Aaron Greene scored from close range against one of his former clubs.

Dylan Watts forced Galway keeper Kevin Horgan to make a good save from distance and he also dealt capably with an effort from Graham Burke.

Galway got few opportunities to restore their lead and at the other end it took a superb goal-line clearance from goalscorer Nugent to deflect a header over the bar with less than five minutes remaining.

But Rovers never gave up and snatched it at the death to break Galway United’s hearts when Grace struck.

Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Jack Lynch, Stephen Walsh, Killian Brouder, Marc Ludden; Donal Higgins, Joe Collins (Chris Horgan 59), Maurice Nugent, Stephen Christopher; Conor Melody (Vinny Faherty 75), Conor Barry (Iarfhlaith Davoren 83).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Gary O’Neill, Roberto Lopez, Lee Grace, Danny Lafferty (Greg Bolger 67); Dylan Watts, Graham Burke, Ronan Finn, Sean Kavanagh; Aaron McEneff, Aaron Greene.

Referee: Derek Tomney

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John Fallon

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