TREVOR CROLY is one step closer to his first trophy as Shamrock Rovers manager as his Hoops side brushed past Linfield in Belfast last night and eased into the semi-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup, where they will face Cork City.
And while progress was comfortable for Rovers, who won 3-1 on the night and 7-2 on aggregate, there was drama at Hunky Dorys Park as an injury time goal from Gavin Brennan saw Drogheda United edge out Derry City, with Drogheda now facing Sligo Rovers in the last four.
"We're happy to win the tie, that was the main objective but to get three goals last night was a bonus, we're delighted," said Croly.
"We knew Linfield would come at us and they did. They caused us some problems, but we caused ourselves some problems as well and I was glad to see we were better in the second half.
"We came to Belfast to win the game, instead of sitting back on the lead from the first leg. Linfield pressed us a lot in the first half."
Linfield, 4-1 down from the away leg, were given a lifeline when David Armstrong scored on 26 minutes and that sparked hopes of a Blues revival, but the tie was effectively over on 32 minutes when former Linfield man Tommy Stewart equalised for Rovers. Stewart then scored his second on 69 minutes and Rovers added another goal late on from Billy Dennehy.
At Hunky Dorys Park the Drogheda United-Derry City tie was heading for extra time as the teams were level at 1-1 on the night - Michael Rafter giving Derry the lead and Derek Prendergast equalising for United - and 2-2 on aggregate, but deep into injury time Gavin Brennan popped up with the winner.
Sligo Rovers inflicted more misery on Glentoran as they won 3-0 at the Oval, an 8-0 aggregate win. Lee Lynch scored early to put Rovers in control, Raff Cretaro doubled that lead midway through the first half and sub Liam Martin added a third on 85 minutes.