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04th Nov 2018

Dundalk beat Cork in Fai Cup final with brilliant team goal

Robert Redmond

The game was won with a great team goal.

The Fai Cup final between Dundalk and Cork City took place on Sunday afternoon at the Aviva Stadium.

Dundalk were aiming to complete the double, having won the Premier Division title back from Cork. While the Leesiders were looking to clinch their third Fai Cup trophy in three consecutive seasons.

In front of over 30,000 spectators in Dublin, Dundalk emerged victorious from a gripping contest.

The match sprang into life after 18 minutes.

Dundalk defender Sean Hoare rose above the Cork defence to guide home Michael Duffy’s pinpoint corner.

In what appeared to be a training ground routine, Hoare started at the back post, got away from his marker and scored with a towering header from the six-yard line.

The goal sparked a joyous reaction from the Dundalk supporters in attendance at the Aviva as Hoare ran off celebrating. However, they were soon brought back down to earth.

Just after the game got back underway, the Dundalk defender mistimed a challenge on Karl Sheppard in the penalty area.

Hoare stretched for the ball and failed to make any connection with it. Kieran Sadlier dispatched the penalty, squeezing the ball under Gary Rogers who had guessed right but couldn’t stop the shot.

The match between Ireland’s two best sides was very competitive and the atmosphere at the Dublin venue was excellent.

Cork pressed Dundalk high up the pitch and tried to disrupt the passing game of Stephen Kenny’s side. Both sides had their chances after the break. Sheppard headed wide from close range for Cork.

Just before the hour-mark, Mark McNulty was forced to make a save on his goalline from Robbie Benson’s header.

Then, with 18 minutes to play, Dundalk took the lead with a wonderful team goal.

Cork were dispossessed in the midfield before Jamie McGrath found Sean Gannon who burst forward from right-back.

The Dundalk defender curled a brilliant cross into Patrick McEleney, who headed past McNulty after making a late run into the penalty area.

It was a goal worthy of winning a final. Gannon’s pass was excellent and McEleney timed his run perfectly.

Cork pushed for an equaliser which would have taken the game to extra-time.

Sadlier’s shot from distance in stoppage time was deflected and forced Rogers into a crucial save. However, that was as close as Cork came to scoring again, and Dundalk were able to see out the game to win the double.

Since taking charge of Dundalk in 2013, Kenny has helped the team win four league titles and two Fai Cups. Overall, they deserved their victory on Sunday.

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