Macdara Ferris reports from Dalymount Park
Bohemians booked themselves a place in the quarter-final of the FAI Cup at the expense of their Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 victory.
After Pico Lopes cancelled out Ali Coote’s stunning strike for Bohs, Andy Lyons scored the winner for the Gypsies three minutes from the end of a hard fought but deserved victory over the Hoops.
It was a match that ended with both teams playing with ten men after Georgie Kelly and Ronan Finn were sent off 12 minutes from time.
The results of these Dublin derby games between Bohs and Rovers have gone in sets. Between July 2017 and June 2019 Bohs reigned supreme over Rovers in an eight game winning seven and drawing one.
The Hoops then won the next five before Georgie Kelly was the match winner for the Gypsies earlier this season in Dalymount Park but now it is back-to-back win for Bohs over Rovers and boy did the 800 Bohemians fans enjoy their Sunday afternoon’s entertainment.
The opening half was a hectic affair typical of a Bohs Rovers derby. The home team were the better side but the closest either team came to scoring was when Graham Burke’s effort bounced back out off the post with James Talbot just looking on.
With a host of defensive injuries, and the departure of Liam Scales to Celtic, Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley deployed Sean Gannon on the right side of his defensive three and Aaron Greene at left wing back.
A feature of the first half was some strategic fouling from Rovers who it seemed to rotate the oh-too-robust tackles around their team, starting with Lopes taking down Liam Burt inside 15 seconds of the match kick off.
Coote hit that free kick straight into the wall and his deliveries into the box from other fouls from Lopes on seven minutes, Joey O’Brien three minutes later and Aaron Greene on 13 minutes were all cleared by the resolute Rovers defence.
By then Burke had hit the frame of the goal after Richie Towell and Greene combined down the left.
Burke was definitely the player that the Bohs were having to pay most attention to but Ciarán Kelly was well placed to get timely tackles in to prevent the Hoops getting the opener.
Lyons meanwhile needed to be aware of Greene popping up on the back post as Rovers looked to exploit space on the Bohs right.
Rovers ‘keeper Alan Mannus had little to do and at the other end Talbot on a couple of occasions just needed to be on his toes to jump out in front of a couple of long Rovers balls over the top.
Referee Neil Doyle’s patience with the Rovers fouling ran thin at the end of the first half when Gary O’Neill took down Burt as he broke on half way to earn the Kerryman a yellow card.
In first half injury time only a brave Gannon header over his own bar from inside his own six yard box prevented Kelly getting his head on Coote’s whipped in cross from the right and keep the game scoreless at the break.
And within a minute of the break again Gannon thwarted Kelly by getting back to block Kelly’s goalbound effort to concede a corner.
When the opening goal arrived ten minutes into the second half, it came from a Rovers foul from Finn that saw him go in the book before Coote rifled the shortly taking free kick into the top corner of the goal from 30 yards with a stunning strike.
Stephen Bradley brought on ex-Bohs men Danny Mandroiu and Dylan Watts in place of McCann and O’Brien with O’Neill slotting in on the left of the back three as the Hoops looked to get back in the game.
They managed to do so 12 minutes from time when a former Bohs player scored. Mandroiu had been fouled and when Burke headed down the free kick at the backpost, Finn squared for Lopes to slot home from inside the six yard box.
Bohs should have gone back into the lead two minutes later when Ross Tierney blasted the ball back out off the Rovers cross bar. In the melee that followed Kelly squared up to Finn and received a straight red card, while the Rovers skipper picked up a second yellow to also get his marching orders.
Lyons then popped up with the winner three minutes from time as his effort from the edge of the box beat Alan Mannus to lift the one remaining rood in Dalymount Park.
Talbot had to make a couple of saves in the six minutes of injury time but the Bohs defence did enough to see their team through.
The Gypsies have yet to make a cup final at the Aviva Stadium in the revamped Lansdowne Road but have had great success in that venue this year winning all three of their UEFA Europa League Conference League qualifiers.
They are now just two games away from a return to the Dublin 4 venue.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Ciaran Kelly (James Finnerty 76), Rob Cornwall, Anto Breslin; Ali Coote (Rory Feely 90), Dawson Devoy, Liam Burt, Keith Buckley (c), Ross Tierney (Promise Omochere 83); Georgie Kelly.
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Tyreke Wilson, James McManus, Keith Ward, Conor Levingston, Jamie Mullins.
Booked: Anto Breslin (50), Rob Cornwall (65).
Sent off: Georgie Kelly (80).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O'Brien (Dylan Watts 65), Roberto Lopes, Sean Gannon; Ronan Finn (c), Gary O'Neill, Chris McCann, Aaron Greene; Richie Towell (Aidomo Emakhu 73), Rory Gaffney, Graham Burke.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Max Murphy, Dylan Duffy, Dean McMenamy, Daniel Mandroiu, Conan Noonan.
Booked: Gary O'Neill (45) ,Chris McCann (47) ,Ronan Finn (54) ,Roberto Lopes (65) Ronan Finn (80).
Sent off: Ronan Finn (80).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Andy Lyons (Bohemians)