Bohemians will play in their first FAI Cup Final in thirteen years thanks to Georgie Kelly’s 88th minute winner at a carnivalesque Dalymount Park.
Kelly redeemed himself for a first half penalty miss as he turned home Promise Omochere’s cross to give Bohemians a deserved 1-0 win over Waterford.
Bohemians came into their third semi-final in four years looking to advance to the decider for the first time since 2008, the last time they won the FAI Cup, while Waterford were looking to take a step closer to ending 41 years of hurt in the Cup.
When the cloud of red smoke cleared, we were treated to a rip-roaring encounter under the lights at Dalymount.
Waterford started brightly and had the first big opportunity of the game. A beautifully worked free kick from midway inside the Bohemians half saw Phoenix Patterson come short and delicately flick the ball into Niall O’Keeffe’s path and his header sat up nicely for Anthony Wordsworth but he fired a half volley over from 12 yards with the goal gaping.
Waterford struggled to get out of their own half as they were put under a wave of Bohs pressure who were roared on from a capacity crowd at Dalymount.
Andy Lyons attacked with zest and fervour all evening and had a couple of penalty appeals turned down by referee Rob Harvey.
Just after the half hour mark it looked like Keith Long’s side would edge in front after the returning Georgie Kelly was upended by Waterford stopper Brian Murphy who was second best to Ross Tierney’s chipped ball.
The keeper redeemed himself saving Kelly’s penalty with his feet.
The second half began with Bohs on top again and they had another strong penalty appeal waved away when Liam Burt’s cross struck Eddie Nolan on the arm who had turned his back on the action.
With the second period barely ten minutes old, the game took a dramatic twist when Kyle Ferguson was dismissed after two yellows for a clumsy tackle on Burt just outside the box.
The red seemed to spur Marc Bircham’s charges into life who went close through the lively Junior Quitirna.
The home crowd grew tense as the Gypsies final ball continued to let them down with Anto Breslin, Tierney and Ali Coote threatening to break the deadlock but without calling Murphy into action.
As the clock ticked inside the final 20 minutes Kelly rose highest to meet Coote’s corner and despite having a free header he couldn’t direct it on goal.
Bircham and his bench were left aghast when John Martin was not given a spot kick after a collision with Ciaran Kelly in the box.
With five minutes of normal time remaining the visitors went close as Martin’s acrobatic effort lacked power and was straight at Talbot after Bohs failed to deal with a long throw.
Cometh the hour and cometh the man, Georgie Kelly stepped up to prod the ball home after substitute Promise Omochere drilled a ball across the box. Queue pandemonium in the home stand as Waterford’s gallant rearguard was finally breached two minutes from time.
The night ended even worse for Waterford who had Niall O’Keeffe dismissed meaning the Blues finished the night with nine men.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Anto Breslin, Rob Cornwall, Ciaran Kelly, Andy Lyons; Keith Buckley, Liam Burt, Ali Coote, Dawson Devoy, Ross Tierney (Promise Omochere 68); Georgie Kelly.
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Tyreke Wilson, James Finnerty, Keith Ward, Rory Feely, Jamie Mullins, Conor Levingston, Roland Idowu.
Booked: Dawson Devoy (35).
Sent off: None.
Waterford: Brian Murphy; Jack Stafford, Darragh Power, Kyle Ferguson; Anthony Wordsworth, Junior Quitirna (Prince Mutswunguma 68), Phoenix Patterson, Niall O'Keeffe, Eddie Nolan, Shane Griffin (Greg Halford 55); John Martin.
Subs not used: Romero Ronaldo Greene, Paul Martin, George Forrest, Jeremie Milambo, Jamal Dupree .
Booked: Niall O'Keeffe (30) ,Kyle Ferguson (41) ,Kyle Ferguson (52) Prince Mutswunguma (76).
Sent off: Kyle Ferguson (52), Kyle Ferguson (53), Niall O'Keeffe (90).
Referee: Rob Harvey
extratime.com Player of the Match: Andy Lyons