FAI Cup Final Report: Dundalk 1 - 1 Cork City AET (City win 5-3 on penos)

Sun, Nov 05 2017

Cork City lift the trophy after their shootout win over Dundalk Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Cork City clinched a historic double after a 5-3 penalty shootout win over Dundalk in the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.


The game was scoreless after normal time but couldn’t be separated in extratime with the score 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes when Niclas Vemmelund's header was cancelled out by an Achille Campion volley.


Michael Duffy, easily the best player on the pitch for 120 minutes, had his penalty saved by Mark McNulty, and Kieran Sadlier scored the winner to give Cork football it's first double since Cork Athletic did it in 1951.


The atmosphere and colour were out in force in the stands of the Aviva, plenty of flags and passion – and flares, despite the previous appeals from the FAI, and the respective club captains.


The spirit from the stands was translated onto the pitch, with an open game developing between the two, Dundalk finding a lot of space to work with in the middle of the park while City aimed to outwork their opponents early.


Karl Sheppard has been firmly in the spotlight with muted rumours of an impending transfer to the Lilywhites, and it was he that had the Leesiders’ opening chance of the game, hooking a shot wide after five minutes.


Sheppard was not afforded many chances in the first half but a glorious one did fall to his feet after 12 minutes, a well-worked corner routine by City saw Stephen Dooley's driven cross stabbed at by the Dubliner, drawing a good reaction save from Gary Rogers.


The Dundalk ‘keeper was called upon again in the 18th minute, after a casual shrug of a stop from a Dooley effort, he had to propel himself across the goal-line to claw out Sheppard's volleyed rebound.


That was it from a City perspective in the first half, as Dundalk took control of the game with David McMillan going close on three separate occasions to giving the Louth side the lead – hooking two consecutive chances wide from Michael Duffy passes around the half hour mark.


A 29th minute's applause for recently passed Dundalk fan Robert McLoughlin was impeccably respected by both sets of supporters.


Dundalk held the majority of the ball from then on, without creating too much trouble for McNulty.


The champions retreated and retreated and ended the first half firmly on the back foot, virtually camped on the edge of their own box, content to let Stephen O'Donnell and Robbie Benson dictate the game for Dundalk.


It was Benson's cross that almost handed them the lead a minute into the second half, but the cut back from Jamie McGrath was agonisingly missed by McMillan.


McNulty quickly became a figure of derision for the Lilywhite faithful behind him with an over-the-top reaction to a nudge by Brian Gartland after claiming a corner.


With their pantomime villain firmly established, McNulty was hammered vocally from the stands at each opportunity – not helped by the fact he made the most of slight contact off McMillan and Gartland again later in the half.


A noticeably tired Dundalk didn't make much of the second half, a well-worked dribble from Duffy just after the hour mark their only real incisive run throughout the whole of a very quiet second half.


City did not contribute much at all, with a couple of pot-shots from Jimmy Keohane and Garry Buckley that were easily saved the only contributions of note, other than that of McNulty, to the whole of the second 45.


Dundalk made one last push in the 87th minute, and after a dropped cross from McNulty, Gartland won a corner off Alan Bennett.


However neither Duffy nor McMillan could convert, as a game that looked destined for extra-time once more after about five minutes of the half duly took us there.


Rogers was on hand to make one last outstanding save in the final minute of normal time, stopping a Buckley deflection off a Keiran Sadlier header that almost stole the cup for Cork.


Duffy had an early chance off an O'Connor ball that was blocked, before the breakthrough finally came in the 96th minute, and it was the men in white that took a deserved lead.


Man-of-the-match Duffy floated in a fine free kick from the right-wing, and it was the big Dane Niclas Vemmelund who rose highest to meet it with a powerful header to finally open the scoring.


John Caulfield immediately introduced Greg Bolger and Achille Campion, but the long ball game to the 6' 3'' centre forward was uninspiring from City and Dundalk looked to have enough to hold out.


Or, so they thought, but with just nine minutes to go, a lob over the top from Sheppard fell right at the feet of Campion and, after Dane Massey kept him onside, he slotted home under Rogers into the right bottom corner to level things.


It came down to penalties, and after seven successive scores, it was the unlucky Duffy who had his penalty saved by McNulty.


Sadlier stepped up, and slotted home, giving Cork the double for the first time in their history.


Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Niclas Vemmelund, Dane Massey, Brian Gartland (Sean Hoare 91); Michael Duffy, Robbie Benson, Stephen O'Donnell, Jamie McGrath (Dylan Connolly 71), Patrick McEleney (John Mountney 108); David McMillan.

Subs Not Used: Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Chris Shields, Thomas Stewart.

Booked: Stephen O'Donnell (80).


Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Jimmy Keohane (Kieran Sadlier 58), Conor McCormack, Gearoid Morrissey (Greg Bolger 98), Garry Buckley (Achille Campion 98), Stephen Dooley; Karl Sheppard.

Subs Not Used: Alan Smith, Robbie Williams, Conor McCarthy, Connor Ellis.

Booked: None.


Referee: Paul McLoughlin

Attendance: 24,210

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Michael Duffy (Dundalk)