Football | Dundalk claim EA Sports Cup with shootout victory

Dundalk have beaten Derry City on penalties in the EA Sports Cup final.

Chris Shields scored the winning penalty as the Lilywhites beat Derry 6-5 in the shootout after a 2-2 draw in normal time at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

The Candystripes had taken the lead in just the second minute, with David Parkhouse benefiting from a goalkeeping howler from Aaron McCarey.

McCarey spilled Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe’s shot into Parkhouse’s path, and the striker duly converted from point blank range.

Peter Cherrie made a superb stop at the other end nine minutes later; tipping Michael Duffy’s header over the bar following great work on the wing from Jamie McGrath.

Parkhouse – who scored four goals in Derry’s semi-final win over Waterford -then fired an effort narrowly over in the 25th minute, before Dundalk drew level seven minutes before the interval.

Former Derry winger Michael Duffy – who would later be named man of the match – cut in from the left and curled a sublime strike past the helpless Cherrie.

The league leaders almost took the lead before the break, but Sean Gannon’s teasing cross just eluded Pat Hoban.

Derry were forced into a change at half time, with Darren McCauley replacing the injured Gerardo Bruna.

The Candystripes – playing on home soil – regained the lead in the 51st minute.

Ogedi-Uzokwe cut inside and got a shot off on his left foot, and his effort beat McCarey via a fortunate deflection off Sean Hoare.

However, Declan Devine’s men suffered a huge blow just six minutes later when Grant Gillespie was sent off.

Gillespie, already booked for a foul on Patrick McEleney in the first half, committed a cynical foul on McGrath in the Dundalk half, and was deservedly shown a second yellow.

Shields forced Cherrie to tip an effort from distance over the bar as Dundalk pushed for an equalizer.

Vinny Perth’s men drew level in the 69th minute through Gannon, who was on hand to find the net after Cherrie spilled Duffy’s shot from 25 yards.

Both sides pushed for a winner in normal time, but the scoreline remained locked at 2-2 heading into extra time.

Duffy and Michael McCrudden had great chances for their respective teams in extra time, but neither could make their opposition pay.

Jamie McDonagh, McNamee, McCrudden and Ciaron Harkin found the net for Derry in the shootout, with Jack Malone’s effort flying wide.

Hoban, Duffy, Daniel Cleary and Jean Darvis converted from 12 yards for Dundalk, with Robbie Benson seeing his effort saved by Cherrie.

Eoin Toal and Sean Hoare then both scored in the first round of sudden death.

Ally Gilchrist then stood up to the spot for Derry, but saw his penalty come back off the crossbar.

Shields kept his cool to win the shootout and Dundalk’s first trophy of the season.

The Lilywhites’ dream of a treble is alive and well.