Bohs 3-2 Cork

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Des Byrne’s 117th minute strike was enough to secure passage to the League Cup Semi Final for Bohs as they came out on top in a five goal thriller at Dalymount Park last night. Although some of the football played was less than inspiring the game proved to be a nerve shredding affair. The match seemed destined for a penalty shootout before Byrne popped up to steal victory for Bohs. Cork had done well to battle back into the game after being two gaols behind inside twenty minutes, and had, in truth, done enough to warrant taking the tie to penalties at least. However Byrne’s late back post header edged Bohs one step closer to Setanta Cup qualification and Sean Connor one step closer to his first piece of silverware at the club.

All eyes were on Cork midfield duo Colin Healy and former Bohs manager Gareth Farrelly before the match as they prepared to make their competitive debuts for the club. The pair would have to play second fiddle to the best midfielder in the country on the night though, as it was Joe Gamble who ran the show from the centre of the park for the visitors.

The game started at a reasonably high tempo with O’Flynn firing just over the bar after a Pooley mistake on 2 minutes. A couple of moments later Farrelly blasted high and wide from the edge of the penalty area as Cork tried to assert themselves. However just as the visitors looked like they might begin to dominate they fell behind. Stephen Rice was left completely unmarked on the edge of the six yard box from Neale Fenn’s corner and had the simplest of tasks to head Bohs in front.

The goal obviously stung Cork and they were halted in their tracks as the game began to settle down thereafter. Things were to get worse for Damien Richardson’s men shortly afterwards though. Once again failure to deal with a set piece would prove costly. Fenn’s initial free kick was only half cleared and the ball broke to him once again wide on the left. He then skipped past two Cork defender and cut the ball back into the path of the unmarked Dean Pooley who slotted home into the bottom right hand corner to double Bohs advantage.

If it was looking like being plain sailing for Bohs then the facade did not last very long. This time it was Bohs turn to be punished for failure to deal with a set piece. Cork were awarded a free kick just outside the 18 yard area and while the Bohs defence were busying themselves inside the penalty area they failed to pick up Lordan’s run down the right flank. Gamble played the ball quickly to the full back and he in turn found Kelly who made no mistake from 6 yards and in the blinking of an eye Bohs lead had been halved.

The lead was almost wiped out on 25 minutes when some good work from Behan saw his cross drop to the feet of Gamble who fired over from just inside the area. Cork began to dominate from there on, with Gamble influential as ever in the centre of the park. MacSweeney was giving Powell a torrid time down the right hand flank for Cork and it was almost inevitable that the Bohs full back would find his name in the referee’s notebook sooner or later.

The next chance of note came on 37 minutes when MacSweeney swung a cross to the back post after another raiding run down the wing only for O’Flynn to drag his volleyed effort well wide of the post. The last incident of note in the first half was the dubious decision by the referee to book Des Byrne after he clashed with McNulty in the Cork goal as they both looked to pounce on a Harkin cross.

The second half began much as the first half had finished and O’Flynn really should have done better when he fired straight at Murphy from 12 yards out. Farrelly flashed another shot wide moments later as Cork pushed in search of a quick equaliser. Bohs did manage to create a chance of their own on 50 minutes when a quick one-two between Crowe and Byrne saw the former fire his volley straight at McNulty in the Cork goal. Nevertheless it was only a brief respite for Bohs as Cork were back in the ascendancy only moments later. MacSweeney’s cross found Behan in the middle of the Bohs penalty area and his looping header was well touched over the bar by Murphy.

The Cork equaliser was now ineluctable although the way it finally came about was less than predictable. MacSweeney, who was making a big impression on debut, swung yet another cross into the Bohs penalty area only for Rice to fling himself at the ball and, in doing so, direct a bullet header past Murphy. The bizarre equaliser gave the visitors further momentum as Bohs looked to regroup.

Sean Connor made a double substitution on 62 minutes with Mansaram and Thomas Heary replacing Crowe and Hunt much to the chagrin of the Bohs faithful. Mansaram kept up a high work rate throughout but with Crowe off the pitch Bohs always lacked that killer instinct in front of goal for the remainder of the game.

Farrelly and Gamble both saw long range efforts fly wide as Cork continued to push forward in search of a winner. Gamble was having things entirely his own way at this stage as Cork maintained possession for long periods although they were finding it hard to break down a stubborn Bohs defence.

Rice had a chance to atone for his earlier error on 75 minutes but he failed to take a gilt edged chance. A storming run by Byrne down the left culminated in a excellent delivery into the Cork six yard box. Rice ran onto the ball unmarked but headed tamely at McNulty with the goal at his mercy. Shortly afterwards Mansaram found himself in the clear after a long punt forward from Powell. His lack of experience in front of goal was to show though. Head down, he failed to spot Byrne unmarked at the edge of the penalty area waiting for a cut back, then he took too many touches before attempting to get his shot and was closed down.

O’Flynn almost won the game for the visitors on 81 minutes but the quality of his finish did not match that of his jinking run in the build up. The game now seemed destined for extra time as both sides were finding it hard to create clear cut chances. However, as is usually the case with cup games, there was to be one chance left. A bustling run from Mansaram down the left the Cork defence at scrambling to recover. He cut inside Murray and pulled the ball back into the path of Fenn who was unmarked 12 yards out from goal with Kelly closing in on him. It was at this point that Fenn completely fluffed his lines, instead of having a first time shot on goal he tried to flick the ball past Kelly and in attempting to do so spurned the last chance of the game in normal time.

So to extra time, and the hope that Bohs full time set up would see their extra fitness show and see them through. Rossiter replaced Harkin right at the start of the first period of extra time but there was little in the way of action. O’Flynn had a shot blocked and Murphy held a trickling effort from Behan. Murray dealt well with a Mansaram cross with Rice lurking at the back post before Rossiter shanked his shot wide and to the left when he really should have hit the target. The last chance of the half fell to Behan but he could not connect with his attempted bicycle kick from MacSweeney’s cross.

With fifteen enervating minutes left to endure nerves began to fray as both sides became ragged. Powell failed to clear his lines early in the second period of extra time but a brilliant tackle by Byrne saved the day as Behan looked to find space to shoot. Then Owen Heary brilliantly tracked back to intercept an O’Flynn cross that was destined to find the unmarked MacSweeney at the back post after Rossiter had lost possession deep in the Cork half.

The game looked to be up for Bohs when with only 5 minutes remaining when Pooley’s hesitation allowed Behan to race clear and bare down on goal. Only a poor first touch and some alert goalkeeping by Murphy saw Bohs escape unscathed. The game seemed destined for penalties and it probably would have made it there if not for a magnificent piece of play from Thomas Heary. With only 3 minutes left he raced onto a long ball forward and took an excellent touch to bring the ball down. That touch pushed him wide though and he collected the ball at the byline. With defenders streaming back and Mansaram steaming in towards the near post Heary kept his cool. Spotting the run of Byrne he floated his cross to the back post. Byrne made no mistake as he header squirmed past McNulty and into the bottom corner with 117 minutes on the clock. Byrne ran to the Dalymount faithful and celebrated in exuberant style. Cork had no time to get back into the game and the full time whistle came right on the stroke of 120 minutes.

The game itself was the epitome of cup football but Bohs will only concern themselves with the end result. Passage to the League Cup semi final is secured where UCD, Derry City or Shamrock Rovers await. Bohs will no doubt be hoping for a home tie regardless of the opposition with the possibility of a first League Cup since 1979 and a Setanta Cup spot for next season on offer.

Bohemians : Murphy, O Heary, Powell, Pooley, Burns, Hunt, Rice, Harkin , Byrne, Crowe , Fenn

Substitutions : T Heary- Hunt (62), Mansaram - Crowe (62), Rossiter - Harkin (92) Man of the Match : Owen Heary

Post edited by: Flano, at: 2007/07/04 12:10

You wont beat the Rovers.

British army bohemians against Cork village fc - hard to find anything positive in that

Cork Village FC. the corkonian in me isn’t very happy with that, 140,000 people is hardly a village.

yeah FR !!.
sure everyone knows they’re known as CARK village !!

hey bozo’s -see you in the final .

140,000 people is closer to large village than a small city

hopefully hammarby do us all a favour friday

the “village” are only 1 victory away from equalling the Hoops european record.
can’t see them doing it against Hammarby.
I’d say a draw is most likely.
should be a decent crowd down there anyway