Kelly The Hero Again As Sligo Rovers Retain FAI Cup

Sligo Rovers have won their second successive FAI Cup by beating Shelbourne on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Aviva stadium.

The Bit O`Red prevailed 4-1 on penalties with goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly once again proving the hero. Kelly was introduced as a substitute at the end of extra time , replacing Brendan Clarke. It was Kelly’s heroics that saw Sligo overcome Shamrock Rovers in a penalty shootout last year and he saved two penalties this time to ensure the blue riband heads west again.   

Shelbourne will feel hard done by after midfielder Barry Clancy was wrongfully dismissed in the first half.

The Dublin side took the lead towards the end of the first half when top scorer Phillip Hughes found the back of the net, sliding the ball past a despairing Clarke. Moments earlier Clancy had hit the bar as Alan Matthews men went all out for the win.

The second half had barely begun when Sligo pulled level, with Iarfhlaith Davoren restoring parity with a fine finish.

The westerners piled on the pressure from their on with substitute striker Matthew Blinkhorn forcing a fine save from Dean Delaney. Blinkhorn again went close but was thwarted by Delaney.

Stephen Paisley headed over from a Shels corner while Conan Byrne`s effort from distance crept narrowly wide of Clarke`s post.

Into extra time and Shels were again under severe pressure.  Davoren, Alan Keane and top scorer Eoin Doyle all went close as Shels battled defiantly. The Dubliners held on , managing to take the tie to a penalty shootout for a second successive season.

Queue the entrance of the heroic Kelly who denied both Kevin Dawson and Colm James before Raffaele Cretaro struck home the winning penalty for Paul Cook`s side.

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