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Dundalk Deny Cork City Their Third Straight FAI Cup

After Cork City’s dominance last season, Dundalk have done the domestic double this time around.

Despite their imperious form, the Louth side were on the back foot in the early going of the FAI Cup final today at the Aviva Stadium.

Cork’s attack were only settling into the game though, and it was the league champions that drew first blood.

Michael Duffy whipped in a dangerous corner with almost 20 minutes gone, and a well-placed Sean Hoare was able to head it into the net just before the on-rushing Mark McNulty in the Cork goal could punch it clear.

Not even a minute later however, Hoare went from hero to villain at the other end of the pitch.

The defender brought down Karl Sheppard in the box, earning City an immediate response from the penalty spot. While Pat Fenlon on commentary duty felt that it was a somewhat soft decision, there was undeniable contact made from an impatient Hoare.

Sheppard stepped up to take the penalty, and though it wasn’t struck overly well, it still went under goalkeeper Gary Rogers for a timely equaliser.

Dundalk had woken up by this stage, and had the better of the chances before the break despite Cork playing well in their own right.

Both teams had chances after the restart – with Sheppard and Benson having headed opportunities miss for City and Dundalk respectively.

The Leinster side had to wait until the 72nd minute to retake the lead, and it was a deserved one through Patrick McEleney. His header was too powerful for McNulty to hold, and Sean Gannon’s delivery was worthy of going back in front.

The Leesiders valiantly chased the equaliser to force the tie into extra time, but Dundalk looked comfortable.

Their best chance came at an unlikely time. Kieran Sadlier had a speculative shot from 40 yards which took a deflection. A very good save from Rogers in the 91st minute spared some potential blushes.

With City committing fully to a second goal, Dundalk were on the break with Duffy. Instead of setting up Patrick Hoban in the box for what would likely have been the insurance goal, Duffy instead aimed a shot straight at McNulty.

Two goals would prove good enough nonetheless for a league and cup double for Stephen Kenny’s charges, winning out 2-1 in a hotly-contested showdown against their biggest rivals.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.