Dundalk 0-0 Bohemians: FAI Cup
Goalkeeper Peter Cherrie proved the hero as he kept Dundalk’s chances of a tenth FAI Cup alive with a spectacular injury-time to deny Jason Byrne a late, late winner for Bohemians at Oriel Park on Friday night as the ten-man Lilywhites held out for a well deserved draw, leaving the sides to do it all over again next Tuesday. In a game full-in-energy but low-in-quality, few clear-cut chances were created, but two fell the way of the visitors in the second half. Firstly, Joseph Ndo saw his header cleared off the line by Shaun Kelly – who was later sent off – before Cherrie somehow pushed Byrne’s thumping close-range drive wide in the dying seconds.
Prior to the match, Dundalk were hit with a cruel blow when it was confirmed that Chris Turner, the side’s top scorer this season with 10 goals, failed a fitness test. The home side started brightly, though, and, in the opening minutes, Alex Williams looked to have won the ball clearly ahead of Brian Murphy before being dragged to the ground by the Ipswich Town-bound ’keeper, only for referee Damien Hancock to award a free out. Bohs threatened sporadically and went close with an offside-effort, before Gary Deegan drove a 30-yard shot just past Cherrie’s right-hand post midway through the half.
In a half of few chances, Bohs created their best five minutes before the break when Ndo broke quickly and supplied a cross for Killian Brennan who couldn’t connect properly, his effort easily gathered by Cherrie. It was Dundalk who were forcing the game, however, as they caused their opponents all sorts of problems with wave after wave of attack. Their closest effort of the first half was reserved for the final seconds, though, as Shaun Kelly’s ambitious shot from long range flew over the Bohs crossbar. However, after the break, it was the visitors who threatened and they forced two corners in succession, with Paul Keegan going close with a cross-cum-shot before Shaun Kelly headed an Ndo header off the line after rising to meet Keegan’s corner.
On 65 minutes, Byrne headed over from a Keegan free-kick on the left as Bohs remained on the front foot, looking threatening at every attack. However, backed by a vociferous home support, Dundalk almost created an opening of their own moments later when Thomas Heary’s long ball out of defence was almost latched on to by Williams only for Murphy to get there first. Once again, though, the referee was to have a leading role in meetings between these sides as Shaun Kelly, one of Dundalk’s best performers on the night, was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. It was a decision which all but killed the hosts’ chances of winning the tie on the night, and Bohs almost stole it deep in injury-time when Cherrie performed heroics to keep his side in the cup.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Michael McGowan, Thomas Heary, Liam Burns, Simon Kelly; Shaun Kelly, Michael Collins, Michael Daly, Kevin McKinlay; Ger Rowe, Alex Williams (Darren Mansaram 84).
Booked: A Williams (33), G Rowe (36), T Heary (59), Shaun Kelly (59, 77).
Sent Off: Shaun Kelly (77).
Unused Subs: Chris Bennion (GK), Tiarnán Mulvenna, Mark Griffin, Paul McAreavey, Michael Coburn.
BOHEMIAN FC (4-4-2): Brian Murphy; Mark Rossiter (Owen Heary 84), Brian Shelley, Ken Oman, Conor Powell; Paul Keegan, Gary Deegan (Anto Murphy 64), Joseph Ndo, Killian Brennan; Paddy Madden (Neale Fenn 76), Jason Byrne.
Booked: P Keegan (59), K Oman (66).
Unused Subs: Matt Gregg (GK), Glen Crowe, Glen Cronin, Marc Hughes.
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin).