REPORT | Shamrock Rovers 2-4 Dundalk - Dundalk win the FAI Cup

15th November 2023

Dundalk FC were crowned the winners of the 100th FAI Cup Final by defeating Shamrock Rovers in the Aviva Stadium.  A David McMillan inspired hat trick earned Dundalk their twelfth cup win in a game that went to extra time.  While both sides had ear

Dundalk FC were crowned the winners of the 100th FAI Cup Final by defeating Shamrock Rovers in the Aviva Stadium. 

A David McMillan inspired hat trick earned Dundalk their twelfth cup win in a game that went to extra time. 

While both sides had early periods of dominating possession the first chance on goal fell to Shamrock Rovers with Graham Burke on the edge of the area hit a powerful shot towards Dundalk’s goal but Gary Rogers was equal to the effort.

Shamrock Rovers next phase of attacking play saw Liam Scales cross from the right was met by Aaron Greene but he couldn’t direct his header goalward and it flashed wide. Brian Gartland had the first chance on goal for Dundalk when an initial free-kick from Michael Duffy was cleared and the return ball by Chris Shields towards goal was headed by Gartland but it was well held by Alan Mannus.

Gary Rogers was called into action once again as he had to palm away an Aaron McEneff effort. David McMillan had a shot on goal following a clever one-two that saw Gannon evade his marker to cross it into the area but the strikers effort went wide of the mark.

Gary Rogers produced a top-class save to deny Graham Burke from a free-kick by pushing it around the post with one hand. The resulting corner saw Dundalk’s defence clear the danger on the second time of asking. Jack Byrne had an opportunity with a long-range effort but it just went past Gary Roger’s right-hand post.

Dundalk had a good chance with Cameron Dummingan coming in from the wing-back position as he opted to cut inside on his right foot and his curling effort went wide of Alan Mannus post.

Shamrock Rovers got off to the perfect start in the second half when a corner sent into the area by Jack Byrne was met by Lee Grace who headed it towards Aaron Greene whose header nodded past Rogers to open the scoring. Rovers nearly added a second when Jack Byrnes free-kick was curled in however Roberto Lopes back post header went wide.

Shamrock Rovers continued to pressure with Liam Scales going close to adding a second with a header from a corner that just went over the crossbar.

In the space of five minutes, three goals were scored as the game came to life in the Aviva. Dundalk got their equaliser after McEleney’s cross was headed down by David McMillan initially and then he hit a low strike to Mannus’s near post that struck the post and in. Dundalk was rewarded a penalty just moments later when Liam Scales fouled Daniel Cleary and Robert Harvey pointed to the spot. David McMillan despatched the penalty sending Mannus the wrong way. In Shamrock Rovers next phase of attack Roberto Lopes looped the ball over Gary Rogers with an excellent header to equalise following a Jack Byrne corner.

Both sides had chances to clinch a winner in normal time with both Gary Rogers and Alan Mannus called into action but to no avail. The stand out chance fell to Graham Burkes as his cross in the last minute evaded the oncoming Shamrock Rovers attackers and Rogers had to palm the cross away out of the path of Lopes to send the game into extra time.

The first attack in extra time fell to Dundalk when a Michael Duffy corner was met by David McMillan and Mannus had to get down low to save. Dundalk continued to put pressure on the Shamrock Rovers backline and McMillan came closest with an effort at the near post which Scales had to put behind for a corner.

Shamrock Rovers broke free with Aaron McEneff broke free down the right and set Graham Burke who was one on one with Rogers but he couldn’t keep his effort down. Jack Byrnes free-kick was excellently saved by Rogers right on half time, the curling effort was tipped over the bar.

Dundalk went back into the lead following a free-kick sent into the area was met by John Mountney was hooked back into the area and Sean Hoare strike found its way past Mannus. In the final minutes of extra time, David McMillan sealed the tie when he broke free of the defence and slotted the ball past Mannus with a half volley to earn his hat trick and the cup for Dundalk.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Brian Gartland (Sean Hoare 106), Andy Boyle, Daniel Cleary, Sean Gannon (Darragh Leahy 95), Chris Shields, Greg Sloggett (Jordan Flores 87), Cameron Dummigan, Patrick McEleney (John Mountney 95), David McMillan, Michael Duffy (Daniel Kelly 110).

Subs: Aaron McCarey, Nathan Oduwa.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Liam Scales, Roberto Lopes, Joey O’Brien (Lee Grace 46), Sean Kavanagh (Danny Lafferty 83), Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts (Greg Bolger 83), Ronan Finn (Rhys Marshall 83), Graham Burke, Dylan Watts, Jack Byrne, Aaron Greene (Dean Williams 106).

Subs: Leah Pohls, Lee Grace, Darragh Nugent.

Booked: Dylan Watts, Joey O’Brien, Greg Sloggett, Liam Scales, Graham Burke, Brian Gartland.

Referee: Robert Harvey

Man of the Match: David McMillan.