|04/11/18||15:40||Extra.ie FAI Cup||2018||30,412||RTÉ|
By Denis Hurley for the Evening Echo.
Patrick McEleney’s 73rd-minute header proved to be the winner at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon as Cork City fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dundalk
In a tight game, the Lilywhites re-took the lead as sub Jamie McGrath dispossessed Shane Griffin and fed Seán Gannon, whose cross was perfect for McEleney to head home, goalkeeper Mark McNulty getting a hand to the ball but unable to keep it out.
This was the fourth year in a row for the sides to meet in the final and the first not to go to extra time. It was also the first where either side scored in regulation time.
After a cagey start, Dundalk took the lead on 19 as Michael Duffy’s corner from the left was met by a header from centre-back Seán Hoare, who arrowed to the ball to the net.
However, a minute later, Hoare was adjudged to have fouled Karl Sheppard in the Lilywhites’ penalty area, with referee Neil Doyle pointing to the spot. Kieran Sadlier, who had scored a goal in every round, completed the set as sent his low shot to Gary Rogers’ left.
Brian Gartland almost restored the lead, with a Duffy corner again the source, but this time Shane Griffin headed off the line. At the other end, Garry Buckley was unlucky as his half-volley was straight at Rogers.
In the second half, chances were fewer, with McNulty saving well to deny Robbie Benson while Patrick Hoban also drew a save from the netminder. He could do nothing to stop McEleney, however, giving Dundalk the win on the day, and ultimately the cup.
Referee: Neil Doyle.