Macdara Ferris reports from Dalymount Park
Bohemians were just three minutes away from making their first FAI Cup final for a decade at the expense of back-to-back cup winners Cork City before the Gypsies conceded a dramatic late equaliser to send the tie to a replay at Turners Cross.
The Gypsies were leading at Dalymount Park thanks to a second half goal from Dinny Corcoran goal. It looked like Keith Long’s men were going to make it ten consecutive wins in all competitions until they conceded a controversial penalty which Kieran Sadlier dispatched with three minutes remaining.
City have shown their resilience in the FAI Cup over previous seasons having come through unscathed from 13 consecutive cup ties and they needed to dig deep to keep in this year’s competition. Having all but conceded their league title to Dundalk last week, they weren’t about to lose their FAI Cup crown to a Bohemians side without a fight.
The sold out signs had been up for the home supporters all week with the prize of a place at the Aviva at stake. It was a scrappy enough first half with the game being somewhat season defining for both sides.
Bohemians had the best chances in the half with Keith Ward bringing the best out of Mark McNulty while a Kevin Devaney driven shot beat the City ‘keeper but not the post in the final minute of the opening 45 minutes.
City did put certain pressure on the home side in the opening half but it was mostly from set pieces. They earned seven first half corners with Kieran Sadlier and Shane Griffin putting the ball under the bar from the left and right respectively. At all stages though Shane Supple dealt with them using a mixture of clean catches and punches to clear the pressure from the Leesiders.
The teams traded headed chances within a minute of each other. Devaney ran onto a delightful Ward cross on seven minutes but he couldn’t direct the ball on target. It was a similar story at the other end when Karl Sheppard picked up a throw in and on the end line found Kieran Sadlier whose header was always rising.
On the half hour mark, it was City ‘keeper Mark McNulty who stood up to save Ward’s effort from inside the box. The chance came from a Bohs corner that was cleared by City but Keith Buckley’s challenge outside the box saw the ball fall to Dinny Corcoran whose deft touch played Ward in on goal.
Ronan Coughlan did take up a headed chance getting on the end of a Gearoid Morrissey cross but he couldn’t force Supple into a save. Griffin went in the box for taking down Daniel Kelly who was looking to exploit his pace down the Bohs right whenever the opportunity arose.
With a couple of minutes of the first half remaining the play opened up for Garry Buckley but his curled effort cleared the bar only to go into the City supporters at the School end of Dalymount Park.
The referee blew the half time whistle soon after with the ping of Devaney’s effort off the post from all of 35 yards having only just dissipated.
Bohs came out of the traps quickly in the second half with a couple of quick chances within two minutes of the restart. Kelly really should have scored when set up by Buckley but his effort was way to weak. He then played in Devaney but McNulty once again stood up to repel a Bohs shot.
The Leesiders lost Steven Beattie to a hamstring injury mid-way through the half and the game began to open up at this stage. Alan Bennett went close from a City corner before Bohs broke to take the lead on 68 minutes.
Ward moved the ball wide to Darragh Leahy who delightfully fed Devaney whose ball bisected the City defence to allow Corcoran, who timed his run to perfection, to tap home from two yards.
Supple needed to stretch to his full height to save substitute Cummins’ flicked header off a Conor McCarthy cross. Sheppard went close with a shot along the ground that went just wide of the Bohs post.
A Leahy lunge though handed City a lifeline with four minutes remaining. With a ball dropping in the box, he seemed to get a touch on the ball but ended up going through Conor McCarthy too.
Referee Rob Rogers pointed to the spot. Bohs defenders surrounded the additional assistant behind the goal in complaint – with Dan Casey going in the book for his protest – but the officials were not going to change their minds.
Kieran Sadlier took the spot kick sending Supple the wrong way to make it 1-1 and take the tie back to Turners Cross on Monday week for the replay.
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Derek Pender, Ian Morris, Dan Casey, Darragh Leahy; Daniel Kelly (Danny Grant 90+2), JJ Lunney, Keith Buckley, Kevin Devaney; Keith Ward (Dan Byrne 76); Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Colin McCabe, Rob Cornwall, Oscar Brennan, Eoghan Stokes, Ali Reghba.
Booked: Daniel Kelly (56), Dan Casey (85).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie (Conor McCarthy 65), Alan Bennett, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey (Aaron Barry 74), Jimmy Keohane,; Kieran Sadlier, Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard; Ronan Coughlan (Graham Cummins 56).
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Damien Delaney, Conor McCormack, Barry McNamee.
Booked: Shane Griffin (30).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Dinny Corcoran (Bohemians).