EA Sports Cup: Rory Hale's goal earns Derry victory over Sligo in semi-final

Derry City boss Kenny Shiels celebrates after his team's semi-final win in Sligo
Kenny Shiels now looks to have a glorious chance to guide Derry to their first trophy since the 2012 FAI Cup

Rory Hale's first-half goal earned an under-strength Derry City a morale-boosting victory in Monday's EA Sports Cup semi-final against Sligo Rovers.

The Candystripes will face Cobh Ramblers in the final after the First Division side shocked holders Dundalk in Monday's other semi-final.

Derry keeper Gerard Doherty made a string of superb saves as the visitors reversed Friday's home defeat by Sligo.

Hale struck the winner on 25 minutes after good work by Aaron Splaine.

Derry have not won a trophy since Kenny Shiels took the Candystripes job in 2015 but they now look to have a glorious chance of clinching a first piece of silverware since their 2012 FAI Cup triumph.

There will be a toss for the final venue with Derry hoping that they avoid the long trip to St Colman's Park for the decider.

Gerard Doherty made a series of brilliant saves in Monday's semi-final
Kenny Shiels says keeper Gerard Doherty produced a "captain's performance" for the Candystripes

Doherty should be made mayor of Derry - Shiels

After the game a delighted Shiels quipped that Doherty "should be made mayor of Derry" following his performance.

"He has been a sensational captain. I'm really pleased for him because he put in a top captain's performance," said the Candystripes boss.

Shiels had to parade a young side with Jamie McDonagh, Darren Cole, Gavin Peers and Eoin Toal all missing because of suspension, recent signing Ally Roy cup-tied and Conor McDermott and Nicky Low also unavailable because of injury.

"The players rallied around each other. You could see the young lads were overawed but the experience they get from this will certainly stand them in good stead," added Shiels.

"It (the win) means so much to me personally and you can see it with the players too.

"They gave a message. The answered that question tonight. You could see the commitment levels, the energy and the work ethic that we didn't have in the second half on Friday night."

Morrison misses early Sligo chances

Lewis Morrison missed two great Sligo chances either side of Hale's goal as he failed to connect Kris Twardek's shot before blasting over on 34.

Hale struck Derry's goal as he lashed to the top corner of the net after Splaine's ball past John Mahon.

The first of Doherty's superb saves came before the break as he tipped over Mikey Brennan's powerful header.

As Sligo produced pressure following the restart, Regan Donelon fired inches over the Derry crossbar although the goalscorer's brother then had a chance to double the visitors' lead before being denied by home keeper Mitchell Beeney.

The keepers continued to make fine saves at either end with Doherty pushing away a Raffaele Cretaro effort before Beeney stopped an Aaron McEneff shot moments later.

Doherty's heroics continued until the end with him grasping another Cretaro chance as Derry held on to set up a chance to increase their record haul of 10 triumphs in the competition.

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