Derry fight back to earn replay with Dundalk
DUNDALK 2 DERRY CITY 2
Dundalk and Derry City will have to do it all again at the Brandywell on Tuesday after a stunning second half comeback from the Candystripes set up an FAI Cup semi final replay, writes Daniel McDonnell.
The extra game on the schedule is the last thing that Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny wants at the moment but his team only have themselves to blame after letting a two-goal half-time advantage slip away.
They now face a total of ten games in the month of October in an attempt to complete back-to-back doubles and compete in Europe.
He made eight changes from the side which secured a famous win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday night yet they appeared to be in control at the halfway point.
It was two August signings - brought in to cope with fixture congestion - that put the holders ahead.
Right full Alan Keane came out of retirement to contribute to the Dundalk cause and he burst down the right flank to leave Ryan McBride for dead and square for Dean Shiels who stooped to bravely convert against the team managed by his father Kenny.
Unfortunately, the ex-Rangers midfielder sustained an arm injury in the process and was immediately withdrawn. That setback casts doubt over his availability for the rest of the campaign.
Kenny was able to bring on a first choice replacement in the shape of ex-Derry star Patrick McEleney and he became a major influence. His clever pass set up Thursday's hero Ciaran Kilduff for a close range finish just before the break.
Dundalk could have been out of sight after the interval when another McEleney delivery found Kilduff for a header that came back off the woodwork.
Keane then made a fine interception to deny Rory Patterson with the addition of Ronan Curtis giving Derry an extra threat.
The away side were right back in the game with 25 minutes remaining as stand-in Dundalk keeper Gabriel Sava, who had earlier made a fine stop from Patterson, was finally beaten by Derry's top scorer when a driving run and deflected shot from the excellent Aaron McEneff forced a fumble.
Kenny worked his bench in an attempt to close the game out but Derry had the fresher legs and their attempts paid off when the impressive Curtis wriggled free in the area to unleash a right footer that Sava was incapable of keeping out.
Dundalk: Sava, Keane, Barrett, Boyle, Grimes; O'Donnell, Shields; Mountney, Shiels (McEleney 24), Horgan (Benson 72); Kilduff (McMillan 82)
Derry: Doherty, McDermott, Vemmelund, McBride (Doherty 60), Jarvis; McEneff, McCormack; Schubert (Daniels 80), McNamee, Boyle (Curtis 52); Patterson
Referee: G Kelly (Cork)