It was a successful night for the Airtricity League sides involved in this year’s Setanta Cup quarter-finals, with wins for Cork City, Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers.
Crusaders 1-3 Cork City
Cork City became the first side to qualify for this year’s Setanta Cup semi-finals with a 4-1 aggregate win over Crusaders. Having led 1-0 after the first leg in Turners Cross, Cork City knew a good performance would see them advance.
After an evenly matched first-half, the Rebel Army opened the scoring in the 62nd minute through Daryl Horgan. The talented winger steered in a Denis Behan cross to give the visitors the lead. Darly Kavanagh doubled City’s lead on the night with a well-struck goal from twenty-five yards, as the Cork side edged closer to a semi-final spot.
Crusaders improved after the concession of the second goal and pulled one back in the 89th minute through Paul Heately. However, the Hatchetmen’s misery was compounded in injury time when David McGowan put the ball into his own net. A 4-1 aggregate win for the Leesiders, as they continue their impressive run of form.
Shamrock Rovers 4-1 Linfield
Shamrock Rovers were far too strong for Linfield at the Tallaght Stadium, dominating them throughout and finishing the game three goals to the good.
Rovers applied the pressure from the first whistle, their dominance reflected by the accumulation five corners in the first five minutes. They continued to impress but could not force the opening goal, with Robert Garrett and Ciaran Kilduff spurning early chances. However, Rovers’ persistence finally paid dividends in the 34th minute when the Linfield keeper could only parry a Seán O’ Connor free-kick into the path of Ronan Finn. Finn made no mistake and gave the Hoops a first-half lead.
Rovers doubled their advantage just on the stroke of half-time when Kilduff got on the end of a Ronan Finn cross. 2-0 at half-time and Rovers were cruising.
Linfield improved at the beginning of the second-half and pulled themselves back into the tie with a long-range effort from Billy Joe Burns. However, it would only prove to be a temporary reprieve for Linfield, as Kilduff grabbed his second of the night on 73 minutes. Good work from Pat Sullivan provided Kilduff with a close-range chance and the Rovers front-man struck the ball just inside the far post.
Rovers were well on top at this stage and increased their lead on 83 minutes, super-sub Stephen Rice with the inevitable finish after an excellent through ball from Ronan Finn. Linfield were given a lifeline in injury-time from the penalty spot, but Murphy saved. The rebound was struck wide from all of two yards, as a miserable night for the Blues finally came to an end.
Sligo Rovers 5-0 Glentoran
It was business as usual at the Showgrounds, as reigning Airtricity league champions outclassed Glentoran on Monday night. In truth, the scoreline could have been a lot worse for Glentoran, with Rovers controlling the game from start to finish.
The flood gates opened after just two minutes, when Lee lynch got on the end of an Anthony Elding pass and finished with aplomb. Glentoran were stunned and never really recovered, conceding a second after twenty minutes. Lynch repaid the favour by crossing to Elding, who made no mistake to score his début Sligo goal.
Sligo added a third and fourth before half-time to put the game, and tie, to bed. Ryan Connolly scored his first competitive goal for the Bit O’ Red, getting on the end of Joseph Ndo cross, before Lynch got his second of the night.
Sligo continued to outclass their Northern opponents in the second-half and extended their lead on 52 minutes through Evan McMillan, the centre-back getting on the end of another precise cross from Ndo.
The game finished 5-0 to Ian Barraclough’s side, with Monday night’s scintillating performance effectively booking Sligo Rovers’ place in this year’s Setanta Cup semi-finals.
Derry City 1-1 Drogheda United
An evenly contested affair between Derry City and Drogheda United took place at the Brandywell on Monday night, with both teams heading into next week’s second-leg honours even with the tie finely poised at 1-1.
Derry began the brighter of the sides and broke the deadlock through a long-range Rory Patterson free-kick. In truth, Drogheda keeper Gabriel Sava made a meal of Patterson’s effort and will no doubt be disappointed with the mistake.
Derry continued to apply the pressure and should have doubled their lead in the 15th minute when Patterson headed over from close range. However, the scoreline remained the same and Drogheda found themselves a goal behind at the break.
Drogs improved in the second-half and began to take the game to Derry right from the whistle. Their persistence paid off in the 53rd minute when an a lack of communication in the Derry defence gifted the Boynesiders an equaliser. Ryan McBride and Stewart Greacen failed to clear the ball between them, and Declan ‘Fabio’ O’ Brien poached a valuable equaliser.
The game ebbed and flowed for the remainder, with neither side able to register another goal. It finished 1-1 and sets up a tasty second-leg at Hunky Dorys Park on Monday.