Derry City to host Treaty United in FAI Cup semi-finals after dumping out Shamrock Rovers
Derry City 3 Shamrock Rovers 1 (AET)
FORMER Shamrock Rovers players Brandon Kavanagh and Danny Lafferty came off the bench to dump their old club out of the extra.ie FAI Cup at Brandywell as five times winners Derry City marched confidently into the semi-finals where they meet First Division Treaty United at Brandywell Stadium on Sunday, October 16th.
Jamie McGonigle fired the home side into the lead on 19 minutes with a well taken header which ended his recent goal drought dating back to the first round of the competition when he scored in the 7-0 victory over Oliver Bond Celtic last July.
Cameron Dummigan crashed an effort from distance off the crossbar and Will Patching also struck the woodwork from a penalty 38 minutes into the first half after Lee Grace was shown a straight red card for a foul inside the box on Patrick McEleney.
Derry were dominant but Rovers got back in the game thanks to Rory Gaffney's close range strike on 66 minutes as the Dubliner's 10 men forced extra-time.
Up stepped another former Hoops player to swing the tie back in Derry's favour as experienced former Burnley defender, who won the cup with Rovers back in 2019, came off the bench to head his hometown club back in the lead six minutes into extra-time.
Derry never looked back and substitute Kavanagh put the seal on the win on 110 minutes when running onto James Akintunde's pass before sending the ball into the bottom corner of the net to spark wild celebrations.
Ten years on from the club's last triumph in the FAI Cup when Ruaidhri Higgins formed part of the team alongside current players Michael Duffy, Patrick and Shane McEleney, the club will be huge favourites to reach the Aviva Stadium showpiece with Waterford hosting Shelbourne in the second semi-final.
The Brandywell club were seeking to progress to their first FAI Cup semi-final since 2016 and they came into the match in fine form after a run of five wins and five clean sheets.
Higgins made one change from the team which won 1-0 at home to Sligo Rovers last Tuesday and it was a tactical one with Sadou Diallo coming in for Ryan Graydon with Patrick McEleney starting on the right wing.
Stephen Bradley freshed up his team from their 3-0 defeat to Gent in the Europa Conference League last Thursday with four changes with captain Ronan Finn, Dylan Watts, Gary O'Neill and Alan Mannus dropping to the bench.
Mannus, who saved a penalty from Patching on his last visit to Foyleside when Rovers secured a scoreless draw was replaced by Leon Polhs as Bradley kept faith with the German goalkeeper who played in the previous two rounds of the competition.
Aaron Greene, Neil Farrugia and Sean Kavanagh also came back into the starting line-up for the Dubliners.
Rovers appeared to be feeling the effects of their midweek trip to Belgium and Derry weren't prepared to allow them to settle into the game.
Indeed, the Candy Stripes began sharply and when Patching's free-kick was curled towards the back post to find the run of Dummigan who was unmarked, the Lurgan man had time to take a touch but his right footed strike from an angle was blocked superby by the chest of Polhs who made himself big after just six minutes.
Rovers threatened down the Derry left wing and McJannet did brilliantly to block Aaron Greene's strike which went behind for a corner kick on 13 minutes.
Derry broke the deadlock on 19 minutes when McJannet's inswinging cross was picked up by Mark Connolly at the far post and the defender clipped the ball back into a crowded penalty area where McGonigle nipped in front of Sean Gannon and headed into the net to send the home support into raptures.
Three minutes later the ball was worked back into the centre of the pitch to Dummigan whose side footed strike cannoned off the top of the crossbar before going behind.
Tempers flared on the touchline when Gannon went down holding his face after Patching's attempts to hold off the Rovers full-back on the halfway line. Match referee Rob Hennessy blew for a foul and Patching went into the notebook while City manager Ruaidhri Higgins was also shown a yellow card for his protests at the decision.
Brian Maher sent a long punt down the middle of the pitch to find the run of McEleney who ran from deep to get in behind Grace inside the Rovers penalty area and the City skipper was barged to the ground by the Hoops defender.
The referee made no hesitation when pointing to the penalty spot and flashed a red card in the direction of Grace who was the last man.
With Rovers down to 10 men, Patching, who successfully converted four penalties this season, stepped up to take the spotkick but fired his effort off the crossbar with 38 minutes on the clock.
Rovers responded well and after a quick counter Rory Gaffney cut inside before firing just wide of the near post on 41 minutes.
However, Derry were very much in control as the first half reached its conclusion and the Candystripes went in at the break with that slender advantage when they really should've been out of sight.
Derry were quickly out of the traps again at the start of the second half and almost capitalised on a neat move on the right side as Patching's perfectly timed reverse pass found the overlapping run of Boyce who shot low towards the near post but Pohls saved well.
Rovers were under pressure and from a Michael Duffy corner Patrick McEleney flicked it on at the front post but Gannon managed to get a vital flick with his head to take it away from Boyce who was lurking in the six yard box.
Gaffney raced onto a lovely first time pass from Jack Byrne but his strike on the half volley from wide on the right was saved comfortably by Maher on 57 minutes.
McGonigle forced a smart save from Pohls on the hour mark when the striker tried to beat the keeper at the front post from a tight angle as Derry piled on the pressure.
Against the odds Rovers fought their way back into the game after a jinking run from Farrugia who skipped past his marker before cutting the ball back into the path of Andy Lyons. The full-back's first time strike was parried away instinctively by Maher but the rebound fell kindly to Gaffney who fired it home from eight yards with a clinical finish to level the tie.
Derry substitute Joe Thomson's snapshot from just inside the Rovers penalty area was smothered by Polhs and Duffy's deflected strike from distance was also dealt with smartly by the keeper as the home side looked desperately for the winner with 12 minutes remaining.
With five minutes of stoppage time signalled Derry came close to a late winner in the second of those additional minutes from Duffy's inswinging corner but McJannet's diving header flashed just wide of the post.
With the final action of normal time Derry almost won it at the death as former Rovers defender Danny Lafferty crossed for fellow substitute, Joe Thomson but the Scotsman's diving header was narrowly off target.
The first period of extra-time got underway and Gannon needed to be alert to head Boyce's cross towards the back post behind for a corner with Brandon Kavanagh ready to pounce.
Derry were back in front six minutes into the first period of extra-time from Duffy's corner kick as Lafferty rose above O'Neill and powered home his header from four yards.
From a long throw-in substitute Dylan Watts found himself in space inside the Derry area but his shot on the turn didn't have enough on it to cause an issue for Maher who saved smartly.
Another Rovers old boy, Kavanagh then decided the tie on 110 minutes when Akintunde slipped the midfielder through on goal and he finished expertly into the corner with his left foot to score his first goal for the club.
Graham Burke flashed a shot wide of the post in added time in the second period of extra-time as Rovers tried in vain to get back in the match.
Derry were fully deserving of the victory as they stretched their winning run to six matches with their cup dream intact.
Derry City: Maher: Boyce, Connolly, S. McEleney (Lafferty 74), McJannet; P. McEleney, Diallo (B. Kavanagh 83), Dummigan, Duffy (Graydon 113); Patching (Thomson 71); McGonigle (Akintunde 71): Subs Not Used - Lemoignan, Glass, McEneff, C. Kavanagh.
Shamrock Rovers: Pohls; Gannon, Grace, Cleary, Lyons; Farrugia (Watts 97), McCann (Finn 84), Byrne (Burke 87), Kavanagh; Greene (O'Neill 40)m Gaffney (Power 88, ); Subs Not Used - Mannus, Serdeniuk, Ferizaj, Tetteh.
Referee: Rob Hennessy.