Crusaders 1-3 Cork City (Agg 1-4)
Shamrock Rovers 4-1 Linfield
Sligo Rovers 5-0 Glentoran
Derry City 1-1 Drogheda United
This year’s Setanta Sports Cup looks set for an all Airtricity League semi-final line-up after Cork City beat Crusaders 4-1 on aggregate and Glentoran and Linfield were handed heavy defeats by Sligo and Shamrock Rovers.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Cork knew that any kind of draw would see them through and were content to sit back and soak up the Crusaders pressure during an uneventful first half.
However, the game kicked into life after the break as City went on the attack and all but killed the tie in a five minute spell.
Daryl Horgan opened the scoring on 62 minutes before Daryl Kavanagh curled home a stunning effort from 25 yards out that left Crusaders needing four goals.
Paul Heatley did manage to pull one back for the home side with just a minute to go as he blasted the ball home from just inside the penalty area. However Jason Abbott struck seconds later to cancel out Heatley’s strike and complete a miserable night for Crusaders.
There was a similarly one-side match in Tallaght as Shamrock Rovers cruised to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Linfield.
Expectations were high for a meeting of the League of Ireland and the Irish League’s most successful sides but it was Hoops who dominated in a one-side encounter.
Rovers were on the front foot from the very start but it wasn’t until the 34th minute that their pressure paid off. A free-kick from Sean O’Connor was spilled by goalkeeper Ross Glendinning and Ronan Finn was on hand to tap home.
The Dublin side doubled their lead just on the stroke of halftime with Finn again at the centre of things as his clipped cross was headed home by Ciaran Kilduff.
A half-time team talk by Linfield boss David Jeffrey appeared to pay dividends as his side remerged with coherency to their play and they halved Rovers’ lead on 62 minutes when Billy Joe Burns found the net with a stunning strike from 25 yards.
That was as good as it got for Linfield though and Rovers re-established their two goal lead 11 minutes later when Kilduff scored his second of the night before Stephen Rice made it four when he got on the end of a fine through ball from Finn before slotting home.
There was time for some late drama when Linfield were awarded an injury-time penalty. Brian McCaul’s spot-kick was saved by Barry Murphy but with the Rovers goalkeeper on the ground Ryan Henderson somehow side-footed the rebound wide from just two-yards out.
Sligo Rovers claimed an even more emphatic win at the Showgrounds as they thumped Glentoran 5-0.
There were only two minutes on the clock when the home side took the lead. A clever pass from Anthony Elding to Lee Lynch gave the midfielder the opportunity to fire a powerful strike past Elliott Norris in the Glentoran goal.
Elding and Lynch combined again after 20 minutes, this time Lynch was the provider as Elding headed into the net from his cross.
Sligo were totally dominant and further extended their lead nine minutes from the break after a lung-bursting run from David Crawley ended with a cross into the penalty area that Ryan Connolly bundled home.
Two minutes later and it was 4-0, with Elding and Lynch again combining. Elding flicked Connolly’s cross into the path of Lynch and he calmly fired past Norris.
Glentoran were reeling by the break and any hopes they had staging an unlikely comeback were put to rest on 53 minutes when Evan McMillan met the cross of Joey Ndo to head to the back of the net.
In the night’s only all Airticity League clash, Drogheda United earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Derry City at the Brandywell.
City stormed into the early lead when Rory Patterson fired a stunning free-kick past Drogheda shot-stopper Gabriel Sava from 30-yards out.
The visitors levelled things eight minutes into the second half after some defensive confusion allowed Declan O’Brien to nip in on goal and he managed to slip a low and powerful shot past Gerard Doherty in the Derry goal.