SUPERSUB Seán Boyd earned Finn Harps a dramatic FAI Cup replay against Dundalk.
Boyd came off the bench to score a late, late double as Ollie Horgan’s ten-man Harps came back from the brink.
Pat Hoban’s brace looked to have got out-of-sorts Dundalk back on track.
The Cup holders seemed safe as they led 3-1 when the Galway man headed in his second goal on 65 minutes.
But Harps had other ideas and Boyd rose to head in from Karl O’Sullivan’s corner six minutes from the end.
As Harps surged forward, Boyd was denied by Daniel Cleary, and Kosovar Sadiki flicked over the top from inches out.
Their chance seemed gone, but when Ryan Rainey’s ball found Boyd, time seemed to pause.
The 23-year-old recruit from Shamrock Rovers stayed composed to slot home and Finn Park went wild.
Puffs of blue smoke swept across Ballybofey as Harps kept their Cup dreams alive.
The Donegal side, who have only been in one semi-final in the last 22 years, dared to dream when they took the lead on 24 minutes, Tunde Owolabi firing low past Peter Cherrie after Barry McNamee robbed possession down the right channel.
Dundalk, the 12-time FAI Cup winners, drew level through a controversial penalty that came with the added blow for Harps of Jordan Mustoe being sent off.
Hoban’s double, either side of Sean Murray’s strike, had Dundalk well in front, but battling Harps pulled one back when Boyd powered home a header six minutes from the end and the Dubliner would have the decisive say.
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A wretched run of form, including defeats to Longford Town and Sligo Rovers in the last week, saw Dundalk go to Ballybofey in the relegation play-off position.
However, they drew level five minutes after Owolabi’s opener when Hoban drilled home a debatable penalty.
Harps left-back Mustoe was sent off when referee Damien MacGraith deemed he had blocked Murray’s shot with his hand on the goal-line.
The Harps bench were incensed, making their ire clear to fourth official Paul McLaughlin.
After reviewing a video of the incident, the fury of the Harps management went up a notch, claiming that the ball had struck the shoulder of the Englishman.
When Ethan Boyle went down moments later under Cameron Dummigan’s challenge, Harps’ appeals for a penalty were waved away — drawing further ire from the big home support.
DUNDALK PULL AHEAD
Dundalk hit the front when Murray’s low drive from 30 yards beat Mark Anthony McGinley.
The intervention of Mark Coyle on the goal-line prevented a third Dundalk goal on the stroke of half-time, the midfielder thwarting Sam Stanton’s attempt.
Murray whizzed just over the top from a free-kick on the hour mark as Dundalk sought to put the game to bed.
A 2-1 defeat to Bohemians on Monday night was Harps’ first loss in eight, but they struggled to compete once Mustoe was sent off.
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Dundalk added a third when Hoban headed home from Murray’s cross in the 65th minute.
That seemed to be that, but Boyd pounced right at the death, sending the old place into raptures.
The teams will go again at Oriel Park on Tuesday night.
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Seán Boyd (Finn Harps)
FINN HARPS: McGinley 6; Boyle 6, Sadiki 6, Webster 6, Mustoe 4; Coyle 6 (Rudden 86, 5), Dunleavy 6 (Doherty 73, 5); O’Sullivan 7, McNamee 6 (Foley 73, 5), Rainey 7; Owolabi 7 (Boyd 73, 8).
DUNDALK: Cherrie 7; Dummigan 7, Boyle 6, Cleary 6, Jurkovskis 7; Stanton 6, Sloggett 7; Patching 7; Duffy 6 (Leahy 92, 4), Hoban 7, Murray 7 (Animasahun 87, 5).
REFEREE: D MacGraith (Dublin) 6.