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Dublin: 2°C Saturday 23 January 2021

You've got to score one, right?

Watch the penalty shoot-out heroics that won the cup.

CIARAN KELLY WAS the hero for Sligo Rovers yesterday as the Bit O’ Red won a FAI Cup final penalty shoot-out against league champions Shamrock Rovers yesterday.

The Tallaght side missed all four of their spotters after a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes.

Before the drama, as Paul Cook gathered his players for the last time this season, Kelly retreated to the tunnel to compose himself. He told the Irish Independent’s Daniel McDonnell that he was getting into a postive frame of mind:

Think happy thoughts, as the man says. Just stay relaxed. It’s something I do when it comes to shoot-outs.

I knew the boys would be on to me saying: ‘You can do it, you can do it’, and the gaffer would be on to me as well. I took a few minutes to relax and then when I came back, it was time to go.

Kelly, of course, gave away a crucial penalty in last year’s cup final defeat to Sporting Fingal. He reflected on the turnaround in fortunes, 12 months later.

From zero to hero. To save four, it’s something you can’t dream about.

Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O’Neill defended the decision to play for penalties – especially after they were reduced to 10 men in extra-time:

Penalties was an attractive option at that point in time,. But I suppose it doesn’t seem that way now.

You’ve got to commend the goalkeeper who has saved all their penalties; we’d asked the players beforehand to make sure they got all their penalties on target and they did.

Sligo played very well, and the game swung to and fro. Both teams had chances and it was a good cup final. I felt we had good periods in the game but we have to accept that there had to be a loser.”

It was certainly a very unusual shoot-out:

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