Goals from Dave McMillan, Patrick McEleney and Tommy Stewart gave Dundalk their first EA Sports Cup since 2014 as they coasted to a 3 nil victory against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The opening goal of the game came inside five minutes as a corner swung in towards the front post was met by the head of Dave McMillan hitting the underside of the bar before finding it’s way into the back of the net leaving Chencinski flat-footed whilst giving the Lillywhites a perfect start.
The Hoops almost responded straight away as a low corner to the edge of the box by Ryan Connolly was met by the right foot of skipper Ronan Finn but he got too much height on the shot and it just went over Sava’s crossbar.
Stephen Kenny’s side nearly doubled their lead a few minutes later as David McMillan gathered a loose ball on the right putting in a low cross to the front post which was met by Robbie Benson who tried to back heal it into the far corner but was denied well by Chenchinski in the Rovers goal.
Rovers almost had an leveller in the 35th minute corner from the left was curled in to the front post, David Webster got a touch on it to directing it towards goal probably not knowing much about as his effort hit the post before the Dundalk defence went into panic stations before clearing the ball.
Dundalk went up the other end soon after as a ball was played into Michael Duffy’s feet inside the area, he did good work to cut onto his right foot but all his good work was wasted as his effort was hit straight at Chencinski who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
The start of the second half was not as eventful in terms of chances, but both sides came out fired up for it especially Rovers who flew into some feisty challenges, Stephen Kenny’ responded in the same manner with Vemmelund picking up a booking for his troubles from his challenge on Aaron Bolger.
Not long after, Aaron Bolger was sent off for a second yellow as his challenge was late and high on Dundalk centre half Niclas Vemmelund much to the widespread disbelief of Bolger and his Rovers team-mates when referee Derek Tomney.
McMillan almost doubled Dundalk’s lead with 15 minutes to go as he latched onto a long ball from Hoare, getting away from Dave Webster in the process, but his effort was well struck and was unlucky not to end up in the back of the net as it just flew past Chencinski’s who got a touch on it to put it past his left hand post.
The Lillywhites all but wrapped the game up ten minutes from time. Lovely build up down the right hand side between Sean Gannon and Patrick McEleney got full-back Gannon into an advanced position on the right. McEleney then found a pocket of space on the edge of the box before receiving the ball from Gannon, before hitting a fantastic strike into the top left hand corner with the ball slicing off the post on its way in leaving keeper Chencinski with no chance of getting a hand to it.
Thomas Stewart added salt to the wounds in injury time. A pass from Stephen O’Donnell played a ball into space, Stewart then managed to latch onto it before slotting home with his right foot to send the Dundalk support into delight.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; David Webster, Roberto Lopez, Simon Madden, Trevor Clarke; Ryan Connolly(Cameron King 55), Ronan Finn, Aaron Bolger, Brandon Miele, David McAllister(James Doona 84); Michael O’Connor (Gary Shaw 69)
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan, Dean Carpenter, Luke Byrne, Sam Bone
Bookings: Aaron Bolger (48) Sent off (65) Second Yellow
Dundalk: Gabriel Sava; Sean Gannnon, Chris Shields, Michael Duff, David McMillan(Thomas Stewart 90); Jamie McGarth(Steven Kinsella 87), Niclas Vemmelund, Shane Grimes, Sean Hoare, Robbie Benson; Patrick McEleney (Stephen O’Donnell 88)
Subs not used: Gary Rodgers, Brian Gartland,Dane Massey, Conor Clifford,
Bookings: Niclas Vemmelund (51) Chris Shields (83)
Referee: Derek Tomney
Man of the Match: Dave McMillan