Shelbourne 0 Derry City 3
They say that semi-finals are nervy affairs and Sunday’s first encounter certainly proved a tense encounter. In contrast, this evening’s game was a classic Cup tie with both sides determined the make sure that the game was done and dusted within the 90 minutes.
City made one change to Sunday’s side, with McNamee replacing Patterson as City started the game with a 4-5-1 formation. Shelbourne opted to start with the same eleven, Paul Byrne sporting a head band as a result of the head injury on Sunday. Whilt Derry started brightly in the opening ten minutes, it was the home side that bossed long periods of the first half. Patrick McEleney cleared off the line after Boyle’s header from a corner. Gerard Doherty’s heroics tipped a Kevin Dawson shot onto a post, it rolled across the line and was cleared. Shelbourne also had a number of half chances and Philly Hughes pulled a shout just wide from a great ball by Cassidy.
City were forced to hold on for long periods, but made a tactical switch and went to 4-4-2 with Patrick McEleney joining McDaid up front. McEleney struck the ball with a curling shot just after the half hour mark as City sought to impose themselves on the game. And Shels were left to rue their missed their chances just before the break. Madden produced a moment of sublime skill to beat three men and curl a terrific ball into the box. There and waiting was Stephen McLaughlin who turned it home, to spark wild celebrations from the travelling support.
Shels were stunned and tried desparately to get back into the game in the second half but there was to be no denying super City. Just after the hour mark McLaughlin picked the ball up on the right, skinned Paisley for pace and then crashed it home from 20 yards. Five minutes later it was three and City were on their way to the final. A hopeful ball forward by Molloy was chased down by McDaid who rounded Bennion and stroked it home to make it 9 goals in 10 games for the young striker and City had two feet and most of their torso in the final.
With twenty minutes it was party time for the City support who had seen their team come to Dublin and destroy Shelbourne. The home side emptied their bench to get back into the game but City introduced Higgins and put up a red and white wall across the midfield.
A terrific victory for City sees them advance to their first FAI Cup Semi Final