Replay frustration as Derry comeback adds to Dundalk schedule
Two unhappy managers prowled the corridors.
Dundalk 2 Derry City 2
They were irked by having to do it all again tomorrow in an FAI Cup semi-final replay that Derry earned with a remarkable second-half comeback from two goals down at Oriel Park.
If Kenny Shiels was happy about that, he was hiding it well. He told an FAI official that his side simply couldn't play again so quickly.
The Candystripes boss later argued that he had three players involved in U-21 international football this week and could call for a postponement on that basis, but two of those are on standby so that is a void argument.
He said he was unaware that the Tuesday decider was pencilled into the schedule beforehand if a draw happened.
"Quality control tells you that players cannot play Sunday and then play Tuesday. Definitely not," said Shiels. "My view is that if we are forced to play it Tuesday, we should call it off."
His wish will not be granted: plans are in place for a game that Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny could do without. The holders now face into nine key matches in a 26-day period.
They were in control at the break when Shiels' son Dean gave his father a headache by converting a cross from Alan Keane, as the two August signings linked effectively.
Shiels damaged his elbow in the incident and was withdrawn but he avoided a fracture.
"I'm disappointed for him that he's missing out on a cup final now," said his father with deadpan delivery.
He was also insistent that Dundalk had actually strengthened their side with eight changes from the team that defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv.
First-choice Patrick McEleney replaced the younger Shiels, and he teed up Ciaran Kilduff for Dundalk's second.
Derry regrouped and, while Kilduff could have put the game out of sight when hitting the woodwork, Shiels showed he is a good manager by mixing it up.
Ronan Curtis strengthened their attack in support of Rory Patterson, who halved the deficit when Gabriel Sava fumbled Aaron McEneff's shot.
With four minutes left, Curtis found the space to beat Sava with a medium-strength effort.
Kenny was frustrated and again argued that the end of the league season should be pushed back from Friday, October 28 to the Sunday or Monday.
"It has been mentioned that the Dublin Marathon is on that Sunday and that's sponsored by SSE Airtricity," he said.
"But player welfare is more important than sponsors. We're involved in a proper marathon. That's a great event, but it shouldn't affect when our season starts and ends."
"Nothing in life is easy," he continued. "You don't just steamroll to a double double. You have to go through an epic number of games, you have to be resolute and show immense character."
Dundalk - Sava, Keane, Barrett, Boyle, Grimes; O'Donnell, Shields; Mountney, Shiels (McEleney 24), Horgan (Benson 72); Kilduff (McMillan 82)
Derry - Doherty, McDermott, Vemmelund, McBride (Doherty 60), Jarvis; McEneff, McCormack; Schubert (Daniels 80), McNamee, Boyle (Curtis 52); Patterson .
Ref - G Kelly (Cork)
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