Ciaran Kilduff's strike sends reigning champions into FAI Cup last four
UCD 0 Dundalk 1
Ciaran Kilduff marked his return from injury with a vital goal against his old club, UCD, as Dundalk booked their place in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup with victory at Belfield.
As the clock ticked past the 65th minute, this tie looked as though it might be heading for a replay on Monday night, which is the last thing that Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny would have wanted.
Kilduff, however, spared his manager a sleepless night when he rose to head home a Daryl Horgan cross 60 seconds later to maintain Dundalk’s push for a second consecutive league and cup double.
The 27-year-old, who was a surprise name on the team-sheet after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a knee injury, could have finished the game with a hat-trick, with a host of chances falling his way.
An entertaining first half saw the hosts create two good openings of their own, an unmarked Ryan Swan firing over from 12 yards, before Cathal Brady rattled the post with a blistering drive in the 19th minute.
Kilduff should have opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Slipped through by Dean Shiels, he lifted his effort over Niall Corbett but it lacked accuracy.
Dundalk didn’t really create anything too clear-cut in the opening stages of the second half but that all changed in the 66th minute when Horgan seized on a loose ball to deliver a beautiful cross for Kilduff to head past Corbett and move Dundalk one step closer to another date at the Aviva.
UCD – Corbett; Langtry, Kouogun (Collins 76), Boyle, Scales (Byrne 90); Brady, Sloggett, O’Neill, Waters; Swan, Watson (Kelly 80).
DUNDALK – Sava; Poynton, Keane, Barrett, Grimes; Shields, Benson; C O’Connor (Horgan 45), Shiels (Boyle 75), M O’Connor (McEleney 54); Kilduff.
REF – D Tomney