EA Sports Cup Semi-final Shamrock Rovers v St Patrick’s Athletic Report
Saints seal final spot with penalty win over Shamrock Rovers
St Patrick’s Athletic will play in this year’s EA Sports Cup Final after they beat Shamrock Rovers 4-2 on penalties after the game had finished 0-0 after extra-time.
Pat Fenlon made eight changes from the team that beat Drogheda 1-0 on Friday night, while Liam Buckley made just two alterations to the team that overcame Galway 3-1 in the league on the same night.
And the visitors probably shaded the opening half this afternoon despite the home side going close to scoring in the first minute.
Dylan Kavanagh intercepted a poor pass from Kenny Browne in midfield and delivered to the back post where Conor O’Malley’s hesitation in the Pat’s goal allowed Cian Kavanagh to shoot, but Greg Bolger recovered to clear off the line.
Pat’s, to their credit, took hold of the tie after that, and both Chris Forrester and Conan Byrne began influencing the play, while Killian Brennan and James Chambers were getting the better of Gary McCabe and Ryan Brennan.
A lovely curling effort from Forrester drew a brilliant save out of Barry Murphy on 12 minutes, with the goalkeeper tipping the ball onto the bar, while Lee Desmond was next to hit the woodwork with a header from close range.
Sandwiched between those two efforts was a chance for Waters, which he should have scored. Cutting in across the box he carved out some space for himself, but dragged a low shot just past the foot of the post.
Murphy was the busier of the goalkeepers in the minutes that followed as he tipped Brennan’s freekick wide and then had to be alert to watch O’Brien’s whistling strike from distance fly inches past his post.
A flurry of late action in the Pat’s box then brought the first period to a close. After a scramble in the box Mikey Drennan dug out a shot from six-yards that crashed of the upright, and less than a minute later David O’Connor headed off the woodwork.
And the home side began the second half just as they finished the first, with Brennan and Drennan shooting over and wide respectively, while an interception from the boot of Kenny Browne denied Waters a certain strike on goal from six-yards.
The swirling wind that had helped Pat’s in the first half was now giving Rovers the break of the ball, but with an hour played the visitors had dampened the Hoops’ threat.
Pat Fenlon sought to reignite his sides’ attack with the introduction of Brandon Miele, but it was Maxime Blanchard who had the next chance when he almost turned in a McCabe’s free kick at the far post.
The Rovers boss again turned to his bench on 80 minutes, introducing Danny North, while Tallaght man Aaron Greene came on for Pat’s, but neither team could break the deadlock before the end of the 90.
The opening half of extra-time proved just as frustrating for both teams, but six minutes into the second period a goal line clearance from David O’Connor was all that denied Conan Byrne a likely winner.
Ultimately neither team had the finesse required to win it and it came down to penalties. Killian Brennan skied the first for Pat’s while Gary McCabe scored for Rovers, but the Saints went on to net their next three, while Drennan and David O’Connor missed their spot-kicks for Shamrock Rovers.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Murphy, Madden, Blanchard, D O’Connor, Byrne, R Brennan, McCabe, D Kavanagh (North, 80), Waters (G Brennan, 102), C Kavanagh (Miele, 67), Drennan.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: O’Malley, O’Brien, Browne, Desmond, Desmond, K Brennan, Chambers, Bolger (Morris, 105), Byrne, Forrester (Greene, 87), McGrath (Langley, 110).