Football | Hoops beat Dundalk on penalties to win FAI Cup

Shamrock Rovers have beaten Dundalk 4-2 on penalties to win the FAI Cup for the first time in 32 years.

Gary O’Neill scored the winning penalty for the Hoops after a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium.

Michael Duffy and Dan Cleary missed their spot kicks for Dundalk, with the Lilywhites falling just short of winning the domestic treble.

Aaron McEneff had given Rovers the lead from the penalty spot in the 89th minute, but Dundalk’s Michael Duffy responded with an excellent strike in stoppage time to send the game to extra time.

Rovers started well in front of the 33,111-strong crowd, with Aaron Greene firing wide in the early stages following a pinpoint pass from Jack Byrne.

Sean Murray dragged a shot wide at the other end in a rare chance for Dundalk, before Hoops captain Ronan Finn failed to get enough purchase on his flick from Greene’s low cross after Cleary was caught in possession.

Graham Burke then stung Gary Rogers’ palms with a free kick.

League champions Dundalk did look dangerous from set pieces, with Brian Gartland – picked over Andy Boyle – forcing Alan Mannus into a save from a Murray free kick, with Cleary glancing another set piece wide.

Murray forced Mannus into a save early in the second half after good work from Patrick Hoban.

Jamie McGrath then flashed a first-time shot wide, with Burke firing a shot over the bar at the other end.

The Hoops looked to have won it late on when Greene was taken down by Rogers in the box after Burke played him through.

Referee Derek Tomney pointed to the spot, and McEneff finished emphatically from 12 yards to give Rovers the lead in the dying minutes.

However, the Tallaght club were unable to see the game out.

Duffy equalized in the 93rd minute with a superb left-footed volley after Patrick Hoban’s cross fell kindly to him in the box, sending the final to extra time.

There were few chances in extra time as both teams tired.

Lee Grace’s header from Byrne’s excellent delivery cleared the Dundalk crossbar, before Lilywhites substitute Georgie Kelly almost snatched a late winner, forcing Mannus to push a low strike around the post.

Both sides were forced to settle for penalties, which were taken at the end with the Rovers fans behind the goals.

Duffy took the first penalty of the shootout, but his driven effort crashed back off the crossbar.

Byrne scored Rovers’ first penalty, before Mannus made a good save to deny defender Cleary from Dundalk’s second spot kick.

Hoops defender Joey O’Brien made it 2-0 to the Dublin club, before McGrath coolly slotted past Mannus.

Greg Bolger converted Rovers’ third successful penalty, with Jordan Flores also finding the net for Vinny Perth’s men to keep Dundalk in it.

The decisive fourth penalty fell to O’Neill, who joined Bradley’s men mid-season from UCD.

O’Neill sent Rogers the wrong way to seal a 4-2 shootout win, and Shamrock Rovers’ first FAI Cup triumph since 1987.

It is also the first trophy of Bradley’s tenure.

Finn – playing against his old cup – lifted the cup in the stands.

Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Cleary, Massey; Hoare (G Kelly 90); McGrath, Benson (Mountney 111), Murray (D Kelly 61), Duffy; Hoban (Flores 99)

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, O’Brien, Lopes, Grace; Finn, O’Neill, McEneff, Kavanagh (Farrugia 68); Byrne; Burke (Bolger 90), Greene (Lafferty 110)