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Kelly the hero as Sligo retain FAI Cup

A year on from his penalty heroics in last season's final, Ciaren Kelly saved twice in the shoot-out as Sligo Rovers FC defeated Shelbourne FC from the spot to retain the FAI Cup.

Ciaran Kelly saved two penalties as Sligo Rovers defeated Shelbourne to retain the FAI Cup
Ciaran Kelly saved two penalties as Sligo Rovers defeated Shelbourne to retain the FAI Cup ©Sportsfile

Goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly was again the hero for Sligo Rovers FC as he saved twice in a penalty shoot-out to help his club retain the FAI Cup against second-tier Shelbourne FC at the Dublin Arena.

The 31-year-old saved four times in Sligo's 2010 final shoot-out victory against Shamrock Rovers FC, and he was introduced from the bench with minutes of extra time remaining against Shelbourne to repeat the trick with the scoreline 1-1. Kelly held his nerve to deny Kevin Dawson and Colm James, and that allowed Raffaele Cretaro to hit the winning spot kick as Sligo prevailed 4-1 on penalties.

Shelbourne had earlier gone ahead in the 30th minute through Philip Hughes, but midfielder Barry Clancy was dismissed for two bookable offences before the break as the momentum swung. Iarfhlaith Davoren then fired in at the near post in the second period to level the game up and leave Kelly the chance to secure Sligo's fourth FAI Cup triumph.

Victorious manager Paul Cook said afterwards: "I decided when the game went into extra time that I would bring Ciaran on, and it worked out. He is brilliant at saving penalty kicks. When you have someone who can read a player's body language and save penalties the way he does, you have to give him a go. It is a brilliant achievement to win the cup for a second year in succession, but I have to give credit to Shelbourne."