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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 27 January 2021
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Sligo book FAI Cup semi-final date with Shamrock Rovers after shoot-out win

The Bit O’Red beat Derry City on penalties at The Showgrounds.

Ronan Coughlan of Sligo Rovers with Colm Horgan of Derry.
Ronan Coughlan of Sligo Rovers with Colm Horgan of Derry.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

SLIGO ROVERS WILL take on Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup semi-final this Sunday after their penalty shoot-out victory over Derry City at The Showgrounds.

City missed three of their four penalties in the shoot-out, with the Bit O’Red scoring three of their four, following a scoreless 90 minutes and extra-time.

The hosts were hoping to carry their end of season form into this tie, which finally took place following two date changes.

Liam Buckley’s side secured fourth place on the final day of the season, and will be playing European football in 2021 should they, or Dundalk or Shamrock Rovers win the FAI Cup.

Declan Devine’s side endured a difficult season, and their seventh place finish was below the expectations of many.

They knew coming into this game that the winners will take on current cup holders Shamrock Rovers in the semi-final at Tallaght Stadium this Sunday afternoon.

The Bit O’Red would have been confident, particularly considering their two defeats over the Candystripes this season in the league, but the absence of both Jesse Devers and Niall Morahan due to suspension was a blow.

In a first half that will not live long in the memories of those fortunate enough to be there, opportunities were hard to come by. But, it was the visitors who had the best of the early chances, with Sligo goalkeeper Ed McGinty certainly the busier of the two early on.

James Akintunde’s early header from a good cross was saved by McGinty, who returned following international action with the Republic of Ireland Under 21s last week.

Rovers had to soak up a lot of pressure for a period, with John Mahon’s heel blocking a powerful drive from on 24 minutes.

The Bit O’Red almost opened their account just after the half hour mark when former Derry man Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe intecepted a Derry ball, and played in the onrushing Coughlan who burst into the penalty area before just managing to send his shot straight into the legs of Peter Cherrie who made his presence known.

sligo-and-derry-stand-for-a-minute-silence Sligo and Derry stand for a minute's silence. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Garry Buckley’s long range effort was well over following Akintunde’s clearance from a corner, and the hosts should have gone ahead shortly after the restart.

Regan Donelon’s cross was nodded into the path of Alex Cooper by Coughlan, but the Scot could not direct his header on target.

Cherrie had to be alert to force Lewis Banks’ cross-come-shot away from goal.

Derry enjoyed a good spell again, but were left frustrated at their failure to put chances away. An inviting ball across the box from Akintunde was utilised by no-one, while Stephen Mallon should have beaten McGinty from close range, but the Rovers netminder made himself too big to avoid.

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The best chance fell to Cameron McJannett whose header from a corner hit the underside of the crossbar and was scrambled out of danger by the home rearguard on 80 minutes.

The prospect of extra-time didn’t speed up the urgency from either side, and the early stages of added time were similar.

Ogedi-Uzokwe nodded a Donelon corner straight into the hands of Cherrie, with Derry going down the other end instantly, although Conor McCormack’s long range effort gave McGinty little trouble in the home goals.

Twenty-three minutes into extra-time, Cherrie again had to be on his toes, this time to tip over Donelon’s free-kick from 20 yards.

john-mahon-with-james-akintunde Sligo’s John Mahon with James Akintunde of Derry. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

And then came the penalty shoot out, which will be one the visitors will want to forget. Coughlan and Clifford scored their respective spot-kicks, with Ogedi-Uzokwe and McCormack missing theirs.

Alex Cooper’s penalty put Rovers 2-1 up, and Figueira’s miss gave them the advantage heading into the fourth penalty.

Garry Buckley scored his, with Ibrahim Meite missing his, sending Rovers into the cup semi-final.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Lewis Banks, John Mahon, Garry Buckley, Regan Donelon, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Will Seymore, David Cawley (Darragh Noone, 85), Alex Cooper, Ryan De Vries (Danny Kane, 91), Ronan Coughlan.

Subs not used: Luke McNicholas, Mark Byrne, Darren Collins, Scott Lynch, Sigitas Olberkis.

Derry City: Peter Cherrie, Colm Horgan, Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll, Stephen Mallon (Walter Figueira, 81), Conor McCormack, Jack Malone (Ciaron Harkin, 61), Adam Hamill (Conor Clifford, 111), Gerardo Bruna (Joe Thomson, 81), James Akintunde (Ibrahim Meite, 87).

Subs not used: Nathan Gartside, Ronan Boyce.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

About the author:

Jessica Farry

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