An FAI Cup final against St Patrick’s Athletic awaited the winner of tonight’s replay in Tolka Park — but would it be Shelbourne or would it be Derry City?
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Shelbourne 0-3 Derry City
19.43 – Good evening and welcome to Tolka Park for this evening’s FAI Cup semi-final replay between Shelbourne and Derry City. St Patrick’s Athletic await tonight’s winners in an Aviva Stadium showdown — but who will it be?
Ninety minutes of football couldn’t separate these sides last Sunday. Hopefully it does tonight (it’s nippy in Drumcondra and nobody really fancies extra-time and penos, trust me).
Kick-off is at 8pm, so you won’t hear a huge amount from me for a while. But first, the team news…
19.44 – First up, tonight’s hosts. Alan Mathews names an unchanged starting XI from the side which drew at the Brandywell on Sunday.
Shelbourne: Bennion; Boyle, S Byrne, Paisley, Ryan; Cassidy, Cronin, Dawson, Kavanagh; P Byrne, Hughes. Substitutes: Byrne, Shortall, Skinner, Clancy, Hurley, Gorman, Murphy.
19.45 – One change for Derry City as Barry McNamee comes in up front alongside David McDaid. Rory Patterson, who made a surprise return from injury in Sunday’s drawn game, drops to the bench.
Derry City: Doherty, Madden, Greacen, McCaffrey, S McEleney, P McEleney, Deery, Molloy, McLaughlin, McDaid, McNamee. Substitutes: Ferry, Higgins, Patterson, McBride, Farren, Brolly, Curran.
19.56 – I think “sparse” might be the best word to describe the attendance in Tolka tonight. A Wednesday night’s not a great night for a game, it seems, even if it is a cup semi-final replay.
Five minutes to kick-off…
19.58 – St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley has settled into his seat in front of the Tolka Park press box. I wonder who he fancies meeting in the final?
Here come the teams.
19.59 – Headwear watch: Shelbourne striker Paul Byrne is wearing a bandage. Derry’s Barry McNamee is sporting that Marouane Fellaini-esque afro again.
20.01 – KICK-OFF: Derry City, wearing their yellow change strip, get us underway. They play into the Ballybough End in this first half.
20.05 – Stewart Greacen clashes with Kevin Dawson over on the right and it’s the Derry man who comes off second best. No free-kick though and Greacen picks himself up and dusts himself off.
20.09 – Philly Hughes drops deep to try to spark a Shelbourne attack but Dermot McCaffrey is able to get to his weighted chip before Kevin Dawson does.
20.11 – Stephen McLaughlin appeals for a penalty, claiming he was nudged in the back as he jumped to contest Simon Madden’s cross. but referee Anthony Buttimer is having none of it.
20.14 – A quarter-chance for Paddy Kavanagh as the ball drops to him on the edge of the box. By the time it’s at a manageable height, Barry Molloy is across to get his body between ball and goal.
20.16 – Philly Hughes beats Shane McEleney to a ball over the top and does well to find the space to get a cross in. Stewart Greacen clears the danger with a diving header. 15 minutes played here.
20.20 – Brilliant clearance by Dermot McCaffrey who gets up to cut out David Cassidy’s tempting cross from the left, turning it behind for a corner. Cassidy can’t produce as good a delivery second time around and it’s easily cleared.
20.22 – The first real chance of the game as the ball breaks to Paddy Kavanagh on the right of the area. His pull-back is everything it needs to be but Kevin Dawson is sliding in under pressure and doesn’t trouble Doherty.
20.23 – Sean Byrne sees his name in lights and tries a 30-yard howitzer but it’s always rising and is cheered into the stand by the Derry fans in the Riverside Stand.
20.31 – Cracking inswinging corner from David Cassidy and it very nearly deceives Ger Doherty to dip in at the back post, but the keeper tips it behind for another corner.
20.33 – Ooooh, Derry are living dangerously here. Cassidy’s corner is delivered to the penalty spot where it’s met by the head of Andy Boyle. Patrick McEleney has dropped back on to the line and stops a certain goal.
20.37 – Alan Mathews must be this close to banging his head off the dugout in frustration. With 10 minutes to play, Shelbourne should be at least one up but a combination of Ger Doherty and the post somehow deny Kevin Dawson the opener. He breaks into the box on the right, drills a low shot across the face of Doherty’s goal and then watches in amazement as it spins back across the line before Greacen scrambles it behind.
It’s all Shelbourne now and this game has really come to life.
20.39 – Another half-chance for Shels as Philly Hughes gets free on the right and fires a low, dangerous cross into the six-yard box. Dawson arrives fractionally too late to make any contact.
20.41 – How is this game still scoreless? As if they needed one, there’s a warning for Shels with just over five minutes to play in this first half. Patrick McEleney has Bennion beaten all ends up with a shot from the left side of the box but it comes back off the crossbar. That really would have been against the run of play but it stays 0-0.
20.43 – Kavanagh sees an opening from the edge of the box and decides to try his luck. Doherty scrambles but it’s a fraction too high and zips over.
20.44 – GOAL! Shelbourne 0-1 Derry City (McLaughlin, 44′) Football? Bloody hell. Having been under severe pressure for most of the last 15 minutes, Derry take the lead with a minute to play in this first half.
It’s a brilliant goal from the visitors’ perspective as Simon Madden beats three Shelbourne defenders before crossing to Stephen McLaughlin who beats Bennion from a couple of yards out. Great work by Madden and Derry lead.
20.45 – HALF TIME: Shelbourne 0-1 Derry City
20.52 – At least the man in charge of the jukebox here at Tolka Park has a sense of humour. David Bowie’s Oh You Pretty Things — with the opening line “Wake up you sleepy head” — plays as the teams head down the tunnel at the end of the first half.
Back in five.
20.56 – #NowPlaying: Robbie Williams – Angels. PA man has lost all of the respect he just earned.
21.01 – SECOND HALF: We’re back and Shelbourne are on the attack immediately, forcing Shane McEleney to clear behind for a corner.
21.05 – The official attendance here tonight is announced as 1,477.
21.07 – Ambitious by Patrick McEleney who tries to lob Bennion from 30 yards but sends the ball behind for a goal-kick instead.
21.10 – Stephen Paisley flies in on David McDaid and picks up a booking for his troubles. The home support seem to think that Paisley won the ball cleanly but it was a sliding tackle from behind and always likely to be whistled by referee Anthony Buttimer.
21.13 – Free in a dangerous position for Shels here as McDaid is penalised for jumping over the top of Paul Byrne. Hughes stands over it, about 22 yards out…
21.15 – … straight into the wall. As is Hughes’s attempt to make something of the rebound.
21.17 – A shout for a Derry penalty but the referee is in the perfect position and gives a free in on the right edge of the box. McNamee curls it just past the far post.
21.18 – GOAL! Shelbourne 0-2 Derry City (McLaughlin, 62′) Cracking strike by Stephen McLaughlin and Derry have one foot in the FAI Cup final. McLaughlin cut in off the right wing, took the ball back inside Stephen Paisley and beat Chris Bennion from 20 yards.
It’d be nice to see that again to see if Bennion might have done better but it’s academic now. Derry lead 2-0 and Shels are in trouble.
21.22 – Substitution: Our first change of the night as Philly Gorman comes on to replace Paul Byrne for Shelbourne.
21.24 – GOAL! Shelbourne 0-3 Derry City (McDaid, 68′) That might very well be that. Chris Bennion comes a long way out of his goal to clear a hopeful long ball but he’s beaten in a foot-race by David McDaid who nicks the ball past him and strolls it over the line.
Impossible to see any way back for Shels from here.
21.25 – Substitution: Ruaidhri Higgins comes on to replace Barry McNamee for Derry.
21.33 – Shelbourne are doing their best to find a way back into the game but Derry are happy to drop their midfielders back on top of the back four and crowd out the penalty area.
Paddy Kavanagh takes a tumble in the box but there’s no hint of contact. The winger just kicked the ground rather than the ball.
Just under 15 minutes to play.
21.37 – David McDaid thinks he’s in for another one-on-one as Stephen McLaughlin slips the ball through Shelbourne’s high defensive line. He’s marginally offside though and the linesman gets this one spot on.
21.38 – Substitution: With eight minutes to play, Conan Byrne comes on in place of David Cassidy for Shels.
21.41 – Paddy Kavanagh has been one of the more lively Shelbourne threats in the latter stages of this game and his jinking run earns a free when it’s stopped by Shane McEleney.
Kavanagh tries to be too clever with the free though, playing it short inside the box to Philly Hughes instead of taking a shot on. It’s overhit, as is Hughes’s cross, and the chance is wasted.
21.43 – Substitution: Derry make their second change as Mark Brolly comes on to replace Kevin Deery. Just under five minute plus stoppage time left here.
21.44 – Derry are very nearly in for a fourth to rub salt into Shelbourne’s wounds as McLaughlin plays a neat one-two to set Higgins free. Higgins snatches at the shot slightly though and it’s over Bennion’s bar.
21.46 – Stephen McLaughlin is named man of the match for his brace as the fourth official indicates three minutes of stoppage time.
It’ll all be over soon, Shels fans…
21.49 – FULL TIME: Shelbourne 0-3 Derry City — Derry play St Patrick’s Athletic in the 2012 FAI Cup final.
21.51 – That’s it from us from Tolka Park this evening. Looking at Derry boss Declan Devine and his players celebrate out on the Tolka Park pitch, you can see how much it means to them to be in the FAI Cup final at the end of a disappointing season.
For Shelbourne and Alan Mathews, it’s FAI Cup heartbreak again.
Thanks for reading.