Derry City 2, Shamrock Rovers 0
DERRY CITY booked their place in the 2014 FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium in spectacular fashion following a dramatic semi-final replay against 10 man Shamrock Rovers in front of a 3,000 strong Brandywell support.
And the ‘Candy Stripes’ who will meet St Patrick’s Athletic in a repeat of the 2012 Blue Riband showpiece, left it late as Michael Duffy netted with 60 seconds remaining before Rory Patterson made certain with a terrific finish in stoppage time.
Patterson had missed from the spot on 64 minutes after Ryan McBride was wrestled to the ground by Jason McGuinness who saw red for a second bookable offence.
With the Super Saints manager, Liam Buckley present in the Glentoran Stand, Peter Hutton’s troops sent out a real message of intent with their second half display.
The action packed second half was in stark contrast to the first where neither side could manage a single shot on target during a tense affair.
Both teams, however, had their chances to take control of the tie and the lively Patrick McEleney probably should have done better when bursting through on goal on seven minutes.
The City striker raced down the left flank and turned inside Rovers defender, Conor Kenna but the Derry man curled his shot harmlessly high and wide.
McEleney was at the centre of the action once again on 15 minutes when he sent Stephen Dooley scampering down the right side.
Dooley crossed dangerously into the Rovers’ penalty area but it was marginally behind Rory Patterson who failed to get it under control and the chance was lost.
The home side were dealt a huge slice of luck on the half hour mark following a mix-up between Dean Jarvis and Gerard Doherty as both players failed to deal with a long punt upfield.
Simon Madden crossed into the area with Doherty out of his goal but when the ball was headed towards the edge of the penalty area, Kieran Marty Waters volleyed his effort wide.
Derry burst out of the traps at the start of the second half and when McNamee split the Rovers defence with a terrific pass, Patterson muscled his way past McGuinness and Kenna but scuffed his shot into the hands of Barry Murphy under pressure from the two central defenders.
Patterson and the majority of the Brandywell support claimed for a penalty but referee, Paul McLaughlin was having none of it and waved play on.
The home lot missed another gilt edged chance to take the lead on 52 minutes when McEleney swung his free-kick into the area and Aaron Barry failed to get a touch before the ball somehow evaded Dooley at the far post.
And the cup tie swung heavily in favour of Derry on 64 minutes when McBride went down under the challenge of McGuinness as McEleney’s free-kick was swept into the Rovers penalty area.
The referee’s assistant waved his flag to signal a penalty and the referee pointed to the spot before giving McGuinness his second yellow card of the evening.
Patterson claimed responsibility for the spot-kick but his low shot was superbly saved at full stretch by Murphy.
With the numerical advantage Derry continued to press and when McNamee’s shot hit the chest of David O’Connor, Lowry’s first time strike from just inside the area bounced back off the foot of the post with just 13 minutes to go as Rovers were living on the edge.
Derry finally broke the deadlock with 60 seconds on the clock when Duffy latched onto a Molloy pass before poking the ball beyond Murphy. And Patterson settled the tie one minute later when finding the roof of the net with a splendid finish from Dooley’s cross to spark joyous scenes at Brandywell.
Derry City: G. Doherty; B. Molloy, R. McBride, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; S. Dooley, P. Lowry, B. McNamee, M. Duffy; P. McEleney, R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - C. Gallagher, S. McEleney, N. Boyle, S. Dunlop, S. Houston, M. Timlin, R. Curran.
Shamrock Rovers: B. Murphy; S. Madden, C. Kenna, J. McGuinness, D. O’Connor; D. Kelly, P. Cregg, R. Brennan, S. McPhail (S. Robinson 60), K. Waters (Ciaran Kilduff 78); R. Finn; Subs Not Used - C. Hyland, R. Cornwall, G. McCabe, K. Sheppard, S. O’Connor.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)