Dundalk booked a cup final date in the Aviva with a two nil win over a lacklustre Longford in Oriel Park. Goals from Paddy Barrett and Ronan Finn kept dreams of a double alive for the Lilywhites.
In a game that didn't boast a great deal of clear chances, Dundalk seized on the opportunity provided by a 36th minute corner to take the lead before a deflected Ronan Finn effort in the second half sewed up the match for the Lilywhites.
The opening goal came courtesy of a right footed cross from left winger Daryl Horgan and it was nodded home by center-back Paddy Barrett.
Five minutes previous, Towell did well to etch out some premium space at the edge of the Longford box to get a shot away. That aside, despite dominating the game, Dundalk were shy of shots on-target.
The Lilywhite's John Mountney was proving a real handful on the right and really asserted himself in the game. He had an early cross-turned-shot palmed clear and was a real thorn in Longford's side. The home fans would have been disappointed and concerned when he went to ground as the first half approached its close.
In keeping with his robust performance, Mountney had just snuffed out a Longford breakaway but hurt himself as he returned to the ground. He trotted off down the tunnel as Darren Meenan readied himself to fill the right wing berth.
Longford's best chance of the half, and indeed the game, came when Stephen O'Donnell's undirected clearance header from a free on the left fell to his opposite number six, Stephen Rice, who drove the ball into the box. A bit of ping pong ensued before the ball was finally pumped clear.
On the 49th minute the second goal came; Ronan Finn scored via a deflection. His shot looked a askew and set to busy nobody other than the ball Oriel ball-fetchers, but it was pinged neatly into the top left of goal to make it two when it came off the back of a Longford defender.
Having scored their second, Dundalk seemed content to see the game out and leisurely passed it around their visitors. In some respects this was a game of two halves but a common denominator was complete Dundalk dominance. The first half was played predominantly in Longford's half and the second in the Lilywhites'. Both occurrences dictated by the slick Louth outfit.
Longford were watching their cup dream fizzle out in slow motion as the game's tempo had a marked lull after Finn's goal. The Lilywhites are now just two wins away from a league and cup double, and perhaps they had an eye on that in the second half. By the time the hour had elapsed, and as a cold mist crept across Oriel Park, the game as a contest and spectacle had gone cold.
The men from the O'Farrell County did probe as the game ticked out but it was too little too late and the league champions elect, marshalled by defender Andy Boyle, proved more than capable of absorbing the uncoordinated closing pressure. Rogers a safe pair of hands for the shots that David O'Sullivan and Gary Shaw succeeded in getting away.
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers, Seán Gannon, Paddy Barrett, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Stephen O’Donnell [C], Daryl Horgan, Ronan Finn (Chris Shields 75), Richie Towell, John Mountney (Darren Meenan 42), Ciaran Kilduff ( David McMillian) 81.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Kurtis Byrne, Sean Maguire.
Longford Town: Paul Skinner, Noel Haverty, Stephen Rice, Lorcan Shannon (Martin Deady 86). Mark Salmon [C] (David O'Sullivan), Gary Shaw, Connor Powell, Pat Sullivan, Kaleem Simon (Jamie Mulhall 66), Philip Gorman, Rhys Gorman
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Keith Beirne, Mark Rossiter.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Man of the Match: Andy Boyle