DFC | Lilywhites book place in the semi-finals with win over Waterford

EA Sports Cup quarter-final | Dundalk FC 3–0 Waterford

Dundalk FC’s Thomas Stewart goes past Waterford’s Kenny McEvoy. PICTURE: CIARAN CULLIGAN

Ciaran Kilduff scored one and made one as Dundalk booked their place in the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup with a comfortable 3–0 victory over Waterford at Oriel Park.

The 28-year-old made the breakthrough in the 57th minute, guiding a Steven Kinsella cross past Anthony Connor to edge the 2014 cup winners in front.

Stephen Kenny’s side doubled their lead when Kilduff unselfishly turned the ball across the face of goal for Thomas Stewart to prod home before Conor Clifford put the seal on the win with a stunning effort from 25 yards.

This was the first meeting between the sides since the promotion/relegation play-off in 2012 when Dundalk preserved their top-flight status. Two survivors from that two-legged affair, Chris Shields and John Mountney, started for the Lilywhites here.

A poor first half ended with both goalkeepers having very little to do. Dundalk bossed possession early on but lacked a cutting edge while the first division side grew into it as the half wore on.

Things livened up momentarily when Paddy Barrett and Clifford were booked in quick succession in the 23rd minute. Derek Daly fired the subsequent free just over the Gabriel Sava’s crossbar.

Dundalk’s only real chance of note arrived in the 35th minute. It was a good one, Kinsella combining well with Kilduff on the edge of the penalty area only to steer his effort wide of the upright.

Matthew Connor was given a slight scare in the Waterford goal when a John Mountney effort cannoned off Shane O’Connor and flew over his crossbar with the half drawing to a close.

And the Waterford netminder watched on as Conor Clifford’s dipping half-volley cleared the bar, bringing a forgettable 45 minutes to a close.

Waterford full-back Jack Lynch flashed an effort just wide in the opening seconds of the second-half after a good exchange with Tom Smith and Anthony McAlavey.

Kilduff broke the deadlock as the game approached the hour. Substitute Michael Duffy’s ball to the back post was picked up by Kinsella and he made a yard of space to cross and pick out Kilduff who nodded home from close range.

The insurance goal arrived with 19 minutes to go. Kinsella, again, was the provider, picking Kilduff out with another good cross and the striker located Stewart who hooked home.

Sava had to tip a well-struck Tom Smith drive over the bar in the 76th minute and Dundalk wrapped the tie up shortly after when Clifford, who scored in the previous round against UCD, rattled a sensational effort past Connor from outside the penalty area.

DUNDALK FC: Gabriel Sava; Keith Dalton (Michael Duffy 55), Paddy Barrett, Niclas Vemmelund, Dane Massey; Chris Shields (Sean Hoare 80), Conor Clifford; John Mountney, Thomas Stewart, Steven Kinsella (Jamie McGrath 83); Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Emmet Hughes, Jake O’Connor, Jack O’Keefe, Ben Kelly (GK).

WATERFORD: Matthew Connor; Jack Lynch, Dave Mulcahy, Patrick McClean, Derek Daly; Kenny McEvoy (Garry Comerford 64), Jake Evans, Tom Smith, Shane O’Connor; Anthony McAlavey (Dean Walsh 75), David McDaid (Mark O’Sullivan 63). Subs not used: John Martin, Owen Wall, Matthew Sheehan.

REFEREE: Neil Doyle.

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