Shelbourne, Derry City and Dundalk have reached the semi-finals of the FAI Cup while St. Patrick’s Athletic and Drogheda United must replay their quarter-final following a 0-0 draw at Richmond Park.
The surprise of the weekend came at Tolka Park as Airtricity League Premier Division new boys Shelbourne overcame Shamrock Rovers, with a brace of goals from Philip Hughes sealing a 2-1 home win for the Reds over last year’s league champions.
Hughes grabbed a goal in either half against a Rovers team that never properly recovered from the 42nd minute sending-off of Ken Oman.
Following a trio of narrow misses from the visitors, the home side took an undeserved lead on the half hour mark. There appeared little danger when former Cork City player Shane O’Connor received a pass near the half-way line but he dithered too long on the ball, which allowed Cassidy to gain possession and his run culminated in Hughes finding the net from 14 yards out.
Within two minutes, Rovers’ keeper Oscar Jansson produced a superb reflex save to deny Stephen Paisley’s volley as the Hoops once again failed to defend adequately and their task was made even tougher when Oman was given his marching orders three minutes before the interval.
An excellent pass from Cassidy sent Hughes racing through on goal and when Oman hacked Hughes down a few yards outside the visitors’ box, he left referee Alan Kelly with little option but to brandish the red card.
The second half maintained the high tempo of the end of the first period with Rovers chasing the equalizer and Shelbourne looking nervous at the back, though having chances of their own, particularly on the counter attack.
It was from one of those counter attacks that the home side took a 2-0 lead. Paddy Kavanagh availed of the extra space generated from the visitors being a man down with 19 minutes to play to pick out Hughes who headed home at the back post.
From there to the end, the visitors threw everything at Shels but could only muster a scrambled goal from Seán Gannon deep into injury time. That proved to be no more than a consolation as the final whistle was blown almost immediately after.
Bottom of the Premier Division Dundalk overcame Bohemians at Dalymount Park thanks to a free-kick from Mark Griffin.
Griffin struck on 75 minutes, curling an excellent 25-yard free kick round the wall and into the top corner of the net following a clumsy challenge by Bohemians’ Dave Mulcahy on Michael Rafter.
Midfielder Mulcahy almost made amends five minutes later but his half-volley from Keith Buckley’s corner shaved the top of the Dundalk bar. That was as close as the home side were to come however and Dundalk have reached the Cup semi-final for the first time since they last won it ten years ago.
At the Brandywell, Derry City showed no mercy to Mervue United with the Candstripes winning 7-1 against the only Airtricity League First Division side left in the Cup.
Mark Farren hit a hat-trick for the home side with his trio of goals seeing him overhaul Liam Coyle’s 112 goal record for the Ulster outfit.
The game was over as a contest before half-time with goals from David McDaid (12 minutes), Farren (34) and a screamer from Patrick McElaney on 40 minutes seeing the home side into a more than comfortable 3-0 lead at the break.
Mervue came out of their shell in the second half and reduced the deficit on 50 minutes when Pat Hoban beat Gerard Doherty in the Derry goal with a magnificent low shot from 35 yards, but City bounced back with McDaid netting his second four minutes later.