Andrew Dempsey reports from Dalymount Park
Shamrock Rovers eased past bitter rivals Bohemians in the final of the Enda McGuill Cup to dash the Gypsies hopes of a second cup win on the spin.
Man of the match Darragh Nugent struck twice, as both Evan Smithers and Sinclair Armstrong netted to put Craig Sexton’s side to the sword.
Katlego Mashigo was dismissed after giving away a penalty, as Michael O’Keane’s first-half strike proved to be nothing more than scant consolation for the hosts.
Looking to secure their second Enda McGuill Cup on the spin – Bohemians hosted bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers in front of a well populated Dalymount Park.
Stephen Rice’s side reached the final thanks to a 3-1 win at home to Sligo Rovers – with Thomas Oluwa, Eric Abulu and Martins Olakanye firing for the Hoops.
Sexton’s Gypsies on the other hand saw off Shelbourne in their last four clash, with the highly-rated Dawson Devoy and Brandon Bermingham both getting on the scoresheet for the hosts.
The Hoops could not have asked for a better start to the game – with forward Armstrong giving the visitors the lead after just five minutes.
Evan Smithers’ superbly taken free-kick found the head of the highly-rated forward who saw his thundering header crash into the net off the post.
Luke Kelly very nearly made it two for the Hoops just moments later, as he cut inside to shoot on goal, but Sean Bohan was more than equal to the danger – tipping the ball over the bar.
The Gypsies were however dealt a fatal blow just moments later as Mashigo was dismissed for taking down Smithers inside the penalty area.
The midfielder was given his marching orders as Kelly stepped up to fire his spot-kick home. Bohan got his fingertips on the ball – but he was unable to keep the ball out – with Rovers in dreamland after a brilliant start.
Bad went to worse just halfway through the opening period for the hosts, with Nugent profiting from some superb attacking play from Eric Abulu.
Abulu galloped on goal, with the home defence just about hacking the ball clear – but Nugent was on hand to score from the resulting break in play – leaving the Bohs shot-stopper with no chance.
Armstrong almost made it four-nil via the energy of Abulu, but the full-back’s cross was left untouched by the forward who were overrunning their hosts.
Just moments after being introduced, Marlon Marishta provided a glimmer of hope for the Gypsies, as his ball from the right was met by the foot of Michael O’Keane.
O’Keane swept the ball home past Rovers keeper Alex Moody who was left with no chance as the Phibsborough outfit scored with their first real attack of the game.
Despite enjoying much of the ball and play as the half drew to a close, Bohs were very nearly caught once more, but the alert Bohan was on hand to save from Armstrong – to maintain their two-goal deficit at the break.
After a high-octane first-half, the second half began in a rather low-key affair, with Rice opting to reshuffle his pack into a 3-5-2 – with the impressive Abulu placed in a more attacking role on the flanks.
However, after the hour mark – Rovers sealed the Enda McGuill Cup thanks to a superb strike from Nugent who fired home into the top corner of the net.
Shamrock Rovers relentlessly kept up the intensity and ought to have extended their lead as the rain hammered down on a visibly soaked Dalymount Park pitch.
Bohan was once again called into action to deny Armstrong as the game petered out in a rather limp fashion.
The Northsider’s, to their credit, refused to give up without a fight – but, somewhat indicative of their prolificacies’ in front of goal – with substitute Gavin O’Brien firing a weak effort at Moody after some good play from Robbie Mahon.
However, it was not to be for the hosts, and it was Shamrock Rovers who secured victory – on a weekend that may prove to be one of the most significant in the club’s recent history.
Bohemians U19: Sean Bohan; Andy Lyons, Mitchell Byrne, Denis Smith (Gavin O’Brien, h/t); Jack Moylan (Michael O’Keane, 17), Gavin Molloy, Katlego Mashigo, Thomas Considine (Marlon Marishta, 25), Ross Tierney; Brandon Bermingham (Robert Mahon, 72).
Subs not used: Robert Mahon, Jamie Cleary, Jack Casey, Peter Adigun.
Booked: Denis Smith (36), Andy Lyons (84).
Sent off: Katlego Mashigo (15).
Shamrock Rovers U19: Alex Moody (Shane O’Rourke, 87); Martins Olakanye, Adam O'Connor, Alex Dunne, Eric Abulu; Evan Smithers (Darren Prendergast, 85), Toby Owens (Jordan Tallon, 85), Darragh Nugent (Jordan Carroll, 80), Luke Kelly (Danila Bogdanov, 70); Sinclair Armstrong.
Subs not used: Cole Omorehiomnan, Josh Bumale.
Booked: Alex Dunne (50), Jordan Carroll (83).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Oliver Moran.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Darragh Nugent (Shamrock Rovers).