Bohemians reigned home a first piece of silverware in six years on Monday night as captain Roberto Lopes’ brace of headed goals either side of halftime plus a double for Kurtis Byrne, featuring a sublime half-volley, brought the Leinster Senior Cup back to Dalymount Park for a 32nd time with a 4-0 win over Wexford Youths.
Despite its age and rich history, Ireland’s oldest association football cup competition could not bring with it a massive crowd to Phibsboro. Less than 500 fans sat in the Jodi Stand to witness Lopes hammer home a deserved lead after 25 minutes before Keith Long’s side saw the game out with a composure and poise that has been absent in league performances this season.
They secured the game ten minutes later with a second from the cup’s top goalscorer this Kurtis Byrne, Lopes adding another nail in Youths’ coffin with an even better and more powerful headed goal, before Byrne added a fourth with just under half an hour to go.
Their opponents Wexford Youths were vying for the club’s second ever piece of silverware after winning the First Division just under twelve months ago, the club entering a second cup final after 2008’s League Cup defeat to Derry City in Ferrycarrig Park.
It was to be the set-piece mastery of the hosts and Lorcan Fitzgerald that would inflict constant headache and worry on the visitors. Following a more than promising opening spell from Wexford, Bohemians upped their tempo through the dynamic midfield of Keith Buckley and Paddy Kavanagh working to facilitate the runs of Kurtis Byrne up front.
Byrne made this year’s Leinster Senior Cup his own when he pulled out an outstanding display against holders Dundalk at the quarter-final stage, scoring two outstanding volleys and a free-kick against the club he struggled to secure a starting role in last year.
But it was Lopes that broke the deadlock just before the half hour mark when another of Fitzgerald’s corners was knocked into an unguarded corner of Graham Doyle’s goal via a glancing header at the front post from the club captain.
The Gypsies added to their lead no less than ten minutes later through another inspiring volley from their number 10. Byrne took advantage of a bouncing ball just outside the corner of the Wexford Youths goal and, sensing goalkeeper Doyle marginally off his line, scooped an outside of the boot volley clean into the goal’s top corner to send the few hundred who ventured into Dalymount into rapturous celebration.
Wexford were visibly stuck in the mud without the services of striker Danny Furlong, who amassed 30 goals throughout last season’s First Division. Eoin Porter and Aidan Keenan received little service up front with midfielder Shane Dunne particularly poor in dead ball situations, constantly arrowing free-kicks from promising positions over the line and wide of the goal.
This to the contrast of Fitzgerald for Bohemians whose every delivery instilled a heightened sense of panic and anxiety inside the penalty area. It was another of the defender’s devastating free-kicks after the hour mark which earned Lopes a brace and Bohemians a 3-0 lead.
Fitzgerald’s free-kick swung in from the right was met with a thunderous header which crashed into the back of the net at an astronomical velocity, giving goalkeeper Doyle no chance and putting any doubt of the night’s results firmly to bed.
Memories of Wexford’s only other cup final – a 6-1 defeat to Derry City eight years ago – reared their ugly head in a new form when Eoin Wearen’s through ball evaded the entire Youths defence, pushed up to the halfway line, unawares to the run of Keith Buckley behind enemy lines.
Buckley took the ball confidently in his stride before selflessly tapping the ball left to the unmarked Kurtis Byrne after goalkeeper Doyle had come from his goal-line. Byrne made no mistake and side-footed the easiest chance of the night into an empty net for his sixth of the competition, making it 4-0 to the hosts, meaning a first piece of silverware for Bohemians since a Setanta Sports Cup triumph in 2010.
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Lorcan Fitzgerald, Derek Prendergast, Roberto Lopes, Eoin Wearen, Dan Byrne (Warren O’Hora 77), Keith Buckley, Paddy Kavanagh, (Dean Casey 81), Dylan Hayes, Dean O’Halloran (Jake Kelly 68), Kurtis Byrne.
Subs not used: Dean Delany (gk), Ian Morris, Stephen Best, Dean Casey.
Yellow Cards: None.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delany, Peter Higgins (Chris Kenny, 76), Aidan Keenan, Aidan Friel (Vincent Quinlan 76), Conor Whittle (John Bonner, 76), Shane Dunne, Stephen Last, Andrew O’Connor, Eoin Porter.
Subs not used: Corey Chambers (gk), Conor O’Keefe, Conor Sutton, Owen McCormack.
Yellow Cards: Andrew O’Connor (55).
Referee: Michael O’Connor.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes (Bohemians).