Bohemians 0-0 Dundalk (Bohs win 4-2 on penalties)
Paul Keegan struck the decisive spot kick as holders Bohemians squeezed through to the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup after being pushed all the way by Dundalk at Dalymount Park on Tuesday night. Bohs dominated most of the game, although the best chances were shared as firstly Darren Mansaram broke through and forced Brian Murphy into a fine stop, before the hosts almost won it late on when Owen Heary’s deflected effort was cleared off the line by Paul McAreavey.
However, in the end, it was McAreavey who proved one of the villains for the Lilywhites as he and Kevin McKinlay both missed in the penalty shootout as Sean Connor’s men suffered a heartbreaking exit. It continued a barren run for them against Bohs as they remain without a win or even a goal against the Gypsies since the 2002 FAI Cup final. It was the first shootout that Dundalk have been involved in since being defeated by Kilkenny City in the same competition over nine years ago, while it was the first time that they have recorded three straight 0-0 draws since November 2005.
Like the first game four days earlier, Connor again had selection problems as he had to make do without top scorer Chris Turner and Shaun Kelly, who served an automatic one-match ban after he was dismissed in the Oriel Park encounter. Indeed, it was not long before another red card was seen in the tie as Gary Deegan was sent-off after just five minutes for striking Alex Williams. The sides were soon levelled once more, though, as, for the second time in just over five weeks, Michael Daly was issued with a straight red card against Bohs after what referee Damien Hancock deemed an over-the-top challenge on Conor Powell.
Despite plenty of energy, there was little in the way of goal-mouth action in the opening half-hour, with the first opening not falling to either side until 33 minutes in. And, it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal but Williams couldn’t keep his effort down after latching on to a Michael McGowan pass. Shortly before the break, Bohs responded with a chance of their own when Jason Byrne and Neale Fenn combined well. However, the former Cork City striker was thwarted brilliantly as he prepared to pull the trigger by Kevin McKinlay, whose superb last-ditch tackle was matched by McGowan in stoppage time as he blocked Joseph Ndo’s goal-bound effort.
After the interval, Bohs continued to dominate in the possession stakes but they were almost caught cold on 58 minutes when Mansaram did well to create a chance for himself as he turned Heary before unleashing a powerful effort which was well pushed away by Murphy in the home goal. An even better opening fell the way of Pat Fenlon’s side five minutes from time when Heary’s shot deflected off Byrne and appeared to be heading for the net only for McAreavey to get back and hook it off the line. And that clearance almost helped Dundalk to a dramatic late winner as, with the last kick of the game, a free-kick broke to Mulvenna just inside the area but his low drive was well saved by the Bohs netminder.
Dundalk were unable to repeat that during extra-time as they struggled to get out of their own half, but despite the home side’s constant waves of attack, they failed to seriously trouble Peter Cherrie. That was until almost the final action of the game when the Scottish ‘keeper somehow denied Ken Oman whose header from a corner brought out a terrific one-handed reflex stop. Cherrie then denied Byrne from the spot as the Lilywhites took an early advantage in the shootout but it was wiped out straight away as McAreavey cracked the crossbar. McKinlay then saw his spot kick saved and Bohs converted their final three to keep their hopes of retaining the cup alive.
BOHEMIAN FC (4-4-2): Brian Murphy; Owen Heary (Jason McGuiness 93), Mark Rossiter (Paddy Madden 95), Ken Oman, Conor Powell; Killian Brennan (Anto Murphy 67), Gary Deegan, Paul Keegan, Joseph Ndo; Jason Byrne, Neale Fenn.
DUNDALK (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Michael McGowan, Liam Burns, Thomas Heary, Simon Kelly (Tiarnán Mulvenna 64); Michael Daly, Michael Collins (Darren Mansaram 14 – James Creaney 97), Paul McAreavey, Kevin McKinlay; Ger Rowe, Alex Williams.
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin).