REPORT: Dundalk secure FAI Cup final spot
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final - Result: Dundalk 1-0 UCD AFC
Goal: Patrick McEleney (40)
Report from SSE Airtricity League reporter Ciaran Callan at Oriel Park
Dundalk will be part of the showcase final once again for their fourth season in a row and despite much anticipation of those days they have left the Dublin 4 venue only once with silverware in tow.
As far as chances go, Dundalk had the lions share of the efforts with Gartland, Hoban and Mountney all going close. There were two big calls in the first half that could have changed the complexion of the game.
Daniel Cleary, on another night, could have seen red for a robust tackle mid-way through the first-half and Sean Gannon looked as if he had earned Dundalk a penalty only for the referee to wave the protests away.
The goal came in the 40th minute as Patrick McEleney took the ball down in the UCD half and turned on a six-pence, he cut inside onto his right foot and hit a sweet-shot that was only going to one place.
Kearns was well positioned for the attempt but could do nothing to stop it. It was a goal fit to win any contest. The second-half started off in the same vein as the first but UCD did cause quite a stir by nearly scoring an equaliser.
Gary O’Neill is known for his set pieces and following a foul by Benson, he sent in a low free-kick which Rogers had to be alert to in order to force it around the post. UCD continued to press but a series of second-half chances didn’t have the desired effect.
Neil Farrugia went closest after he turned Brian Gartland, leaving him in his wake but his effort was well saved by Rogers. UCD continued to frustrate the hosts and buoyed by a vocal home support Dundalk continued to look for a second.
Hoban did have a chance at the end to put the tie to bed but his effort went wide when it looked easier to score. In the end, the single goal was enough in order to secure another Aviva Stadium date but who the opponents are remains to be seen with Bohemians and Cork City set for the second semi-final on Sunday.
If Dundalk is to win the famous old trophy, they will need to take lessons from this tie with UCD who were more than a stern match for the Premier Division leaders on the night.
For all of the match statistics, teams and how it happened, head to the SSE Airtricity League website here: http://www.sseairtricityleague.ie/match/dundalk-vs-ucd/id-024MFO6J280000...