Dundalk booked themselves a place in the FAI Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 replay win over Finn Harps on Tuesday night.
The cup holders, having trailed to an early Sean Boyd goal, took the game into extra-time thanks to a Sean Murray strike. The tie was won in the additional 30 minutes after goals from skipper Pat Hoban and a superb Michael Duffy free kick as they held onto their 3-1 lead right to full time.
Harps striker Sean Boyd continued as he left off in Finn Park last Friday. He scored twice late on to force the replay and put Harps 1-0 up after just six minutes in Oriel Park.
Like his late equaliser last week, he took the ball down out of the sky – this time from Ryan Rainey’s ball over the top – before slotting it home after his touch on the edge of the area allowed the ball to bounce up before he sweetly struck it by Peter Cherrie.
Sean Murray squared the tie six minutes before the break as he was quickest to react to Pat Hoban acrobatically sending on Michael Duffy’s throw in to drill the ball home.
Boyd came oh so close to claiming his second just after the hour mark when he headed Barry McNamee’s corner kick against the cross bar. When it bounced back out, Cherrie did really well to push away Tunde Owolabi’s follow up effort.
Neither side could win the tie inside the 90 minutes and there may have been an expectation that Dundalk would struggle with their limited squad due to injuries and COVID-19 in the additional period but they started extra-time really strongly.
Cherrie almost allowed an early Hoban shot slip by him and then the Dundalk skipper headed over from inside the six yard box moments later. He made no mistake from 12 yards on 97 minutes though when he put Dundalk into the lead from the penalty spot after David Webster took down Sami Ben Amar.
Just before the break in extra-time, substitute Ryan Connolly clipped Hoban’s heels as the Lilywhite captain skipped across the front of the Harps box.
Michael Duffy lifted the resulting free kick up and over the wall into the top corner to give Dundalk a 3-1 lead – a lead they never relinquished.
The teams will face each other in the league in a fortnight’s time as the two teams battle to remain in the Premier Division but the Lilywhites will be buoyed by this win as they join Bohemians, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford in the cup semi-finals to come next month.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Darragh Leahy, Cameron Dummigan, Mayowa Animasahun; Will Patching, Sean Murray (Enda Douglas 105), Raivis Jurkovskis, Michael Duffy, Greg Sloggett; Patrick Hoban (c) (Ebuka Kwelele 120), Sami Ben Amar.
Subs not used: Cameron Yates, Jack Kavanagh, Ryan O'Kane, Jeff Nwodo, Mark Hanratty, Michael Keyes.
Booked: Sami Ben Amar (40).
Finn Harps: Gerard Doherty; Shane McEleney, Ethan Boyle, Kosovar Sadiki, David Webster (Dan Hawkins 105); Mark Coyle, Barry McNamee (Luke Rudden 105), Karl O'Sullivan, Ryan Rainey (Ryan Connolly 88); Sean Boyd (Adam Foley 71), Tunde Owolabi (Nathan Logue 113).
Subs not used: Patrick McGarvey, John Dunleavy, Stephen Doherty, Mark Timlin.
Booked: Ethan Boyle (7), Mark Coyle (76), Kosovar Sadiki (118).
Referee: Ben Connolly.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Pat Hoban (Dundalk)