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Daly's late late show gives Drogheda a second chance

MICK DALY's 85th-minute equaliser in Ballybofey kept Drogheda United's FAI Cup hopes alive.

Kevin McHugh had netted for Harps in the first half and the First Division side had a famous win in their clutches until Daly struck to set up a Monday night replay.

Paul McVeigh had a poor attempt at a through ball to McHugh intercepted by Jason Marks. Drogs broke and David Cassidy squared for Daly to net the equaliser.

It was a much-needed boost for the Drogs after a week when the club announced it would not be renewing manager Mick Cooke's contract, while player Gary O'Neill was diagnosed with testicular cancer – players wore special t-shirts in his honour last night.

In a riveting Cup tie, the hosts took a shock lead in the 22nd minute. McHugh and Thomas McMonagle worked the space before the Harps skipper found the top corner for his 170th Harps goal.

Drogheda had looked threatening themselves and it took a fine save from Ciaran Gallagher to keep the stalemate intact, the Harps 'keeper brilliantly turning Gavin Brennan's free over the bar.

Gallagher got out bravely to thwart Ryan Brennan, but it was Harps who had the best chances of the opening half. Just a minute after McHugh's goal, Ciaran Coll got in behind, but Michael Slingermann saved well before the busy Drogheda goalkeeper denied Pat McCann with a double save.

Harps had to play the last 24 minutes with 10 men after Ciaran Coll was given a straight red card for his involvement in an off-the-ball clash with Cassidy.

Manager Peter Hutton was banished, too, after a lengthy protest. Harps looked set to cling on and book their first sem-final berth since 1999, but Daly's late leveller denied them an upset and Drogheda were relived at the conclusion.

FINN HARPS – Gallagher; McNulty, Mailey, Cowan, McMonagle; Funston (McVeigh 76), McGowan, McCann, Bonnar (Forker 62), Coll; McHugh.

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DROGHEDA UNITED – Slingermann; Daly, McNally (Foley 80), Prendergast, Grimes (Hynes 64); Cassidy, Byrne, O'Connor, R Brennan, G Brennan (Marks 55); O'Brien.

REF – T Connolly (Dublin).

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