Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 26 January 2022

Sligo swat Students aside to book their place in FAI Cup semis

Ronan Coughlan’s early goal sets Bit O’Red on their way to victory.

Buckley and Sligo join Shamrock Rovers in the final four (file photo).
Buckley and Sligo join Shamrock Rovers in the final four (file photo).
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 4-0 UCD

SLIGO ROVERS PROGRESSED to the last four of the FAI Cup for the first time in six years after they cruised past UCD at the Showgrounds.

Rovers led by two at the break courtesy of a Ronan Coughlan strike and a Conor Kearns own goal.

While the Bit O’Red controlled the second half, securing their first victory over the Dublin side in this competition with supplementary strikes from Regan Donelon and Niall Watson.

Sligo welcomed back striker Coughlan for this last-eight tie and he showed his worth just eight minutes in as Rovers hit the lead.

The Limerick native took full advantage of a mix-up between Kearns and Aaron McGrath to fire past the UCD netminder for his tenth of the year.

The home side dictated the majority of this game, and could have gone two up on 18 minutes only for the intervention of Dan Tobin who robbed the ball from Donelon’s toe as he looked favourite to turn in Kris Twardek’s cross.

Sligo had a goal chalked off six minutes later. John Mahon nodded Donelon’s corner to the net, but the referee’s assistant ruled it out as Coughlan was placed in an offside position while stationed on the goal line.

The visitors did enjoy a small first-half spell where they looked like they might come back into this tie.

Ed McGinty had to go full stretch to deny Richie O’Farrell from the angle, while the same man went close again from a corner 60 seconds later.

Sligo however gradually settled again and doubled their advantage on 33 minutes. Cawley’s close range effort came back off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing off the unfortunate Kearns and to the net.


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Rovers looked set for a first semi-final appearance in six years 10 minutes into the second period when they hit their third. Harry McEvoy tangled with Romeo Parkes inside the UCD area before Donelon comfortably dispatched the subsequent spot-kick.

The Premier Division’s basement side tired as the half wore on. McGinty had to move quickly to dive on Yoyo Mahdy’s drive at the target ten minutes from time, but this was to be the vistors’ only glimpse of goal of the half.

There was some late worry for Liam Buckley when he was forced to withdraw top scorer Parkes after he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring strain.

Watson scored his maiden goal for the club on his second appearance in added time, the beleaguered Kearns unable to keep out the Accrington loanee’s strike from the angle.

SLIGO ROVERS: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, John Mahon, Kyle McFadden, Lewis Banks; Kris Twardek, David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Niall Watson 71); Romeo Parkes (Brian Morley 81), Ronan Coughlan (Ronan Murray 65).

UCD: Conor Kearns; Dan Tobin (Isaac Akinsete 63), Harry McEvoy, Luke Boore, Evan Farrell; Aaron McGrath (Ciaran Behan HT), Dara Keane; Richie O’Farrell; Yoyo Mahdy (James Daly 81), Sam Byrne, Jason McClelleand.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Attendance: 1,927.

About the author:

David Goulden

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