EA Sports Cup round-up: Cobh shock Dundalk while Derry City edge past Sligo
Cobh Ramblers 1 Dundalk 0
Chris Hull was the toast of Cobh after firing Ramblers into the EA Sports Cup final.
Hull struck for the winner with 15 minutes remaining at St Colman’s Park after being put through by Stephen Christopher’s wonderful through-ball.
Dundalk made nine changes to the team that started their Europa League defeat by AEK Larnaca in Cyprus last Thursday, with Dylan Connolly and Daniel Cleary the only two survivors as Stephen Kenny rested plenty of his regulars.
Cobh began full of intent and Dundalk goalkeeper Gabriel Sava made a good save to keep out Christopher’s curling effort early on.
Disciplined without the ball and purposeful on it, Ramblers went close once more when Shane O’Connor played a beautiful ball through for Denzil Fernandes.
With Connolly starting to cause problems out wide for the Cobh defence, Dundalk went close to taking the lead in the 28th minute, when Stephen Folan headed the ball just wide from a John Mountney free-kick.
Cobh, however, stuck to their task and Hull sparked wild scenes of celebration among the Ramblers faithful when he scored, sparking memories of the club’s four-match 1983 FAI Cup semi-final epic against Sligo Rovers.
Sligo Rovers 0 Derry City 1
Goalkeeper Gerard Doherty broke Sligo Rovers’ hearts at the Showgrounds as Derry booked their place in the final with a smash-and-grab victory.
Rory Hale scored the only goal of the game, but Doherty was Derry’s real hero, making three sublime saves to keep Sligo at bay.
Sligo, who beat Derry in the league last Friday, started well and Lewis Morrison twice came close to putting them ahead before Derry took the lead against the run of play after 24 minutes.
The goal was a bit special as Hale controlled a pass from his brother, Ronan, at the edge of the box and curled a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney into the top corner of the net.
Rovers thought they had levelled things up before the break when Mikey Drennan’s flick-on from Regan Donelon’s free-kick was destined for the net before Doherty made a fingertip save.
Rovers brought Raffaele Cretaro off the bench as they tried to force a way back into the tie and he almost found the net on 70 minutes, but his close-range effort was brilliantly palmed away by Doherty.
The Derry stopper then pulled off another superb save with three minutes left to deny Cretaro again after Drennan had set up the chance.