Hoare won­der strike keeps Lilies on track

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE - By Philip Quinn AT THE IVEAGH GROUNDS

FOR all of Dun­dalk’s deeds in Ir­ish club foot­ball, and there have been many in the reign of Stephen Kenny alone, the boys from the bor­der town have never reached the Ir­ish Daily Mail FAI Cup fi­nal three years run­ning.

It’s a rare feat, achieved by one only club, Sham­rock Rovers, whose dom­i­nance in the 95-year his­tory of the grand old com­pe­ti­tion is such that they have chalked up three or more suc­ces­sive fi­nal ap­pear­ances no less than five times – the last all of 30 years ago.

Ei­ther Dun­dalk, win­ners in 2015, or Cork City, the hold­ers, could join Rovers in that elite club should they avoid each other in to­mor­row’s draw for the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Along with Rovers, they are the teams most likely to emerge tri­umphant when the dust clears in the Aviva Sta­dium cor­ral af­ter the fi­nal on Novem­ber 5, Guy Fawkes Night.

While Dun­dalk and Rovers are al­ready through to the EA Sports Cup fi­nal in three weeks’ time, the FAI Cup is the big daddy, as it car­ries a €250,000 booty be­tween prize money and an au­to­matic Europa League place.

It ex­plains why Kenny took a trip to the pas­toral set­ting of the Iveagh Grounds se­ri­ously, back-bon­ing his team with a clus­ter of ex­pe­ri­enced hands such as Gary Rogers, Sean Gan­non, Chris Shields, Pa­trick McEleney and David McMil­lan.

While the League de­fence is be­yond Dun­dalk, there is the not in­signif­i­cant mat­ter of mak­ing up for last year’s last-gasp loss in the Cup fi­nal, to Cork City.

The 4.0pm kick-off clashed with events in Cro­ker but there was a de­cent crowd and the pitch­side burger vans and ice cream man were kept busy.

So, too, were the Crum­lin de­fence, who per­formed hero­ically to keep free-scor­ing Dun­dalk at bay and were hang­ing on grimly at 2-1 un­til Steven Kin­sella ap­plied gloss to the score­line for Dun­dalk when time was al­most up.

For Dun­dalk, cen­tre-half Sean Hoare shaded the Man of the Match hon­ours for a won­der strike in the first half – his first goal for the club – his fine dis­tri­bu­tion from deep, and tidy de­fen­sive play when­ever plucky Crum­lin man­aged to work a route into the Dun­dalk box.

There was an im­pres­sive con­tri­bu­tion too from the swivel-hipped Michael Duffy on the right-wing, while McMil­lan led the line with typ­i­cal self­less­ness and courage, even if he held his head at see­ing a late penalty saved.

It was McMil­lan who nod­ded Dun­dalk in front in the 19th minute, ghost­ing in unat­tended to head home Duffy’s free-kick from close range – it was a rare slack mo­ment by the Le­in­ster Se­nior League side, who might have gone in front them­selves ear­lier through Ger ‘Buzzer’ Rowe.

De­spite the set­back, Crum­lin re­sponded and were level within three min­utes. Af­ter Shields fouled Dean Hurley just out­side the box, Jake Don­nelly left Rogers flat­footed with a sub­lime left-foot de­liv­ery.

If that set-piece strike was good, there was bet­ter to come from Hoare just past the half-hour mark when he gath­ered pos­ses­sion just in­side the Crum­lin half, stepped for­ward and then let fly with a right-footer which ri­fled into the top cor­ner past Mikey Quinn.

At 2-1, Crum­lin still had hope but Dun­dalk were firmly on the front foot and the coupe de grace ap­plied by Kin­sella with a cush­ioned left foot vol­ley, af­ter yet an­other Duffy de­liv­ery, gave a sense of pro­por­tion to the score­line.

‘We beat Crum­lin 5-0 last year but to­day was dif­fer­ent, this was a match. We can play a lot bet­ter but were though and I’m pleased for Sean Hoare and Steven Kin­sella to score their first goals for the club,’ said Kenny.

STEP TOO FAR: Dean Hurley bat­tles Shane Grimes of Dun­dalk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.