Shamrock Rovers came out on top in a bad tempered affair against St Patrick's Athletic at Richmond Park on Friday night to progress to the FAI Cup semi-finals.
The Hoops opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a fine header from Ronan Finn and secured that lead 10 minutes from the break as Shane Robinson volleyed home from close range.
Both teams had a man sent off late on a tempers flared. Greg Bolger for Pats and Pat Sullivan for Rovers.
It was a lively start to the game, both sides showing glimpses of attacking threat. Christy Fagan had a headed chance for the home side that was tipped over whilst Ronan Finn’s attempt cleared the bar of its own accord.
Daryl Kavanagh had been making inroads toward the Rovers box from the off and he had the first real shot on goal in the game. Some smart interchanging passing from Kavanagh and Conan Byrne provided the opening for the former but his shot flew inches over the bar.
It was the Hoops who opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Powell provided an inch perfect left wing cross for Finn and he directed a looping header over Brendan Clarke and into the net.
Pats were dealt a further blow midway through the first half as top scorer Killian Brennan was forced off to be replaced by John Russell.
The Saints looked shell shocked by the goal and it took them until the 28th minute to muster any kind of response. Fagan broke free of the visitor’s defence but his shot could only find the side netting.
Rovers should have doubled their lead on the half hour. Lovely interchanging passes between Robinson and Stewart culminated in the latter finding Gary McCabe at the edge of the area.
The crafty attacking midfielder, playing just off the front man, turned Conor Kenna with a shimmy before brushing his shot off the top of the crossbar. Clarke lucky it hadn't been centimetres lower.
The Hoops did double their lead on 33 minutes. A Powell free kick was lofted to the backpost. Ken Oman headed the ball down in the area and Robinson acrobatically volleyed the ball home from the edge of the six yard box.
Saints were almost handed a lifeline before the break. Byrne broke past Powell on the Pats right and he struck a low cross toward goal. Kavanagh rushed in but could not connect and it flew to safety.
The second half started slowly but seven minutes into the second half came a controversial moment. Finn and sub Russell got in a scuffle and Finn appeared to use his head. Referee Alan Kelly disarmed the situation but chose to only book Finn to the dismay of the Saints players.
Pats could have got one back. A Byrne free-kick was cleared as far as Ger O'Brien. The full back took one touch before driving the ball towards the top corner. Barry Murphy got himself up high to tip the ball around the post. A stunning save from the former Pats player.
Murphy again denied Pats a goal on 64 minutes. Russell picked up the ball at the edge of the box and drove a low shot into the corner. The Hoops keeper was equal to that, tipping it away for a corner at the second attempt.
Rovers may have nabbed a third soon after. A long ball flicked on by Tommy Stewart found McCabe and he dinked the ball under the crossbar from range. Clarke had scrambled back though and managed to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Things got worse for the Saints with 17 minutes left. Bolger had been booked four minutes previously and then preceded to foul McCabe.
Referee Kelly appeared to have only awarded a free kick before Bolger placed his foot in the vicinity of McCabe's face and gave the referee no choice but to produce a second yellow card.
Just 11 minutes later, Sullivan was adjudged to have left his elbow in while challenging for a header with Russell and was subsequently given an early bath for his troubles.
Shamrock Rovers progress as Pats wait for a cup triumph goes on.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Shane McFaul (Chris Forrester 39), Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan (John Russell 23); Conan Byrne, Christy Fagan (Anthony Flood 77), Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin (GK), Aidan Price, Jake Kelly, Sean Gannon.
Booked: Fagan (9), Browne (52), Bolger (69).
Sent off: Bolger (73).
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Pat Sullivan, Ken Oman, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell; Ronan Finn (Karl Sheppard 65), Shane Robinson, Richie Ryan, Billy Dennehy (Sean O'Connor 90); Gary McCabe (Conor McCormack 87); Thomas Stewart.
Subs not used: Richard Brush (GK), David Elebert, Stephen Rice, Eamon Zayed.
Booked: Powell (12), Dennehy (41), Finn (52), Sheppard (74), Sullivan (84).
Sent off: Sullivan (84).
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Richie Ryan (Shamrock Rovers).