FAI Cup semi-final replay: Derry City 1-2 Dundalk

Derry striker Ronan Curtis battles with Dundalk's Shane Grimes in the FAI Cup semi-final replay
Ronan Curtis put Derry ahead in the replay but Dundalk fought back to win

Holders Dundalk continued their superb season as they came from behind to beat Derry City 2-1 in the FAI Cup semi-final replay at the Brandywell.

Ronan Curtis put Derry ahead after three minutes but Ciaran Kilduff netted a penalty on 38 after Niclas Vemmelund was adjudged to have fouled Ronan Finn.

The outstanding Curtis went close to restoring Derry's lead after half-time before Finn headed the winner on 68.

Dundalk will meet Cork City in a repeat of last year's final.

After scoring the late equaliser in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Oriel Park, Curtis' inclusion was one of three Derry changes while Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny made five changes which included recalls for Sean Gannon and Brian Gartland, with in-form winger Daryl Horgan dropping to the bench.

Curtis immediately justified his selection as he netted from close range after Paddy Barrett had been caught in possession by Barry McNamee.

Dundalk regrouped to look the more comfortable side in possession as Finn and Robbie Benson began to control the midfield exchanges.

Ciaran Kilduff celebrates after scoring his penalty at the Brandywell
Ciaran Kilduff's penalty got Dundalk on terms at the Brandywell

Kilduff holds nerve to slot penalty

However, Derry's defence was not being put under major pressure before the game changed dramatically as Vemmelund was adjudged to have clipped Finn in the penalty area.

The home supporters protested vigorously about referee David McKeon's decision but Kilduff held his nerve to stroke the penalty right into the corner of the net beyond Gerard Doherty.

Derry regained control after the break with Dundalk keeper Gabriel Sava having to make a great save to deny the lively Curtis.

Rory Patterson also had a penalty claim turned down after a challenge by Brian Gartland while a dangerous cross by impressive youngster Ben Doherty somehow eluded all the Derry attackers as the home side continued to dominate.

But against the run of play, Dundalk took the lead on 68 minutes as Finn superbly directed a header past Doherty after a great cross by Darren Meenan.

As Derry produced late pressure, Patterson had an effort blocked by Gannon but Dundalk, managed by former Candystripes boss Kenny, held on to maintain their hopes of a second successive league and cup double in a season which has also seen them earn historic results in European competition.

Derry's defeat means they are left to concentrate on their remaining four league games with only three points required to guarantee them the fourth spot needed to clinch Europa League qualification.

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