Dundalk defeat Shamrock Rovers to win FAI Cup final

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The match finished 4-2 after extra time.

The Aviva Stadium was the venue this evening as Shamrock Rovers took on Dundalk in the FAI Cup final. Both teams also contested last year’s final, with Shamrock Rovers winning on penalties that time around. There was to be no change in fortunes this year as Rovers retained their title.

The match itself was an edgy, but entertaining affair. Both teams defended well for large periods of the first half, limiting the opposition to half chances.

The second half was a different story, however. Both teams appeared more open leading to a succession of chances for both teams.

Rovers drew first blood with a goal in the 49th minute. Aaron Greene struck for the Tallaght side after being played in by a Lee Grace header. Gary Rogers did his very best to close down the striker but his efforts didn’t pay off as Greene headed comfortably into the net.

Despite Rover’s second half domination, Dundalk managed to equalize in the 68th minute. David McMillan controlled a cross into the box before finishing low off the post and into the back of the net.

In another surprise twist, Dundalk were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute. Liam Scales was the culprit as he was deemed to have held his man unfairly in the box. David McMillan stepped up to take the penalty and he made no mistake as he finished low into the bottom right corner.

Shamrock Rovers’ scored the equalizer in the 73rd minute to end a frantic few minutes of football. Roberto Lopes thumped a header into the left-hand corner from a Jack Byrne corner. A cup final goal was a fitting end to Lopes’ year. The Cape Verde international has had a fantastic season, leading to a nomination for PFAI Player of the Year.

Both teams attacked with intent thereafter but neither could find the equalizer in regular time. 90 minutes finished with the sides level on 2-2.

After a handful of chances for both teams, Dundalk scored the first goal in extra time. The goal came in the 110th minute and through an unlikely source. Seán Hoare was the goalscorer after the ball fell to his feet from a free kick. He dispatched coolly into the corner to put his side in the lead.

It was all but over for Shamrock Rovers in the 116th minute as David McMillan got his hat trick goal to make it 4-2. McMillan deservedly picked up man of the match in an outstanding striker’s performance.

David McMillan’s goal would prove to be the last. The match finished 4-2 to Dundalk after extra time. Tonight’s victory marks Filippo Giovagnoli’s first taste of silverware as Dundalk manager.

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