It took a fortuitous Anto Flood goal at Dalymount Park on Tuesday night to separate Bohemians and Dundalk after two legs and 203 minutes of football. Flood's goal eight minutes into the second half of extra-time made Bohs the third team after St. Pat's and Sligo Rovers to make it through to the draw for the FAI Cup semi-finals.
A fairly drab match saw few chances on either side, particularly in the second half. Dundalk were the better side in the first half, but didn't help their cause with the second half sending-off of midfielder Dean Bennett for dissent. Manager Ian Foster was also sent off late into extra-time.
Ger O'Brien could have scored for Bohs in the first attack of the match. Captain Owen Heary went past Nathan Murphy on Dundalk's left flank and found O'Brien just to the left of the goal, his header falling wide of the post. From then on it was Dundalk who had the better chances in a first half which showed early promise of being an exciting one, but slowed down as the half went on.
Barry Murphy saved an almost certain Dundalk goal with a fantastic save on 15 minutes. Mark Griffin spun away from his marker a few yards outside the Bohs box, finding the space to pass to Nathan Murphy on the wing. His cross from the right found Mark Quigley at the far post, but Quigley's acrobatic side-volley was pushed wide with both hands by Barry Murphy.
Mark Griffin threatened to spur Dundalk into action on several occasions in the first half, setting up Johnny Breen and Greg Bolger for shots on goal. Griffin looked a bit light up front on his own though and struggled to get on the end of most of Dundalk's long passes forward. Bohs had most of the first-half possession, but looked toothless up front. Aidan Downes missed right in front of goal on 22 minutes with a header, but even including that the chances for the home side weren't too numerous in the first half.
Where the first half had been light on chances, the second was almost completely devoid of them. Poor build-up play on both sides meant that most attacking moves broke down in their early stages. Simon Madden looked threatening when he went forward down the wing from his usual full-back position, setting up Johnny Breen and Mark Quigley on separate occasions. But no Dundalk player seemed to be able to put a good ball into the Bohs box, particularly in the opening minutes of the half.
The main talking point of the second half came after 76 minutes. Dean Bennett fouled Killian Brennan on the left side of the Dundalk penalty area and was booked. He was then sent off, apparently for dissent. Dundalk defended the resulting free though and minutes later had a genuine chance to win the tie. Mark Quigley took a free-kick 40 yards from the Bohs goal and looked like he had scored a wonder goal to knock the Gypsies out, only to see it drift wide.
Fans were forecasting extra-time and penalties since half-time and the match never looked like being settled in regulation time. Killian Brennan and Mark Quigley both had long range chances late in the second half, but both were straight at the opposing goalkeeper. Peter Cherrie rushed out wide with seconds left and was almost caught out when Keith Buckley crossed the ball behind him towards an open goal. But Anto Flood was outmuscled by his markers and the match went into extra-time.
Bohs attempted to turn the screw on their visitors straight away in the first half of extra-time, with Robert Bayly having their best chance so far in the match eight minutes in. Bayly received the ball from Keith Buckley in the Dundalk box and volleyed narrowly over. Dundalk saw very little of the ball and it looked like holding on for penalties might be their best bet.
But Bohs had other ideas and at last took the lead three minutes into the second half of extra-time. Anto Flood was credited with the goal, but it was a lucky one. Killian Brennan took a short free-kick to the left of the Dundalk box short and found Mark Rossiter unmarked on the edge of the box. Rossiter's shot was going wide but hit Flood's head and went past the helpless Peter Cherrie.
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Owen Heary (c), Mark Rossiter, Liam Burns, Aidan Price; Glenn Cronin, Ger O'Brien (Keith Buckley 66), Robert Bayly, Killian Brennan; Anto Flood, Aidan Downes (Christy Fagan 85).
Unused Subs: Craig Sexton, Roberto Lopes, Kevin Feely, Stephen Hurley, Stephen Traynor.
Yellow Cards: Price (104), Fagan (120).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden (c), Cian Byrne, Dean Bennett, Carl McHugh; Johnny Breen, Greg Bolger, Keith Ward, Nathan Murphy; Mark Quigley (Jason Byrne 66), Mark Griffin.
Unused Subs: Paul Murphy, Philip Duffy, Stephen McDonnell, Conor McDonald, Glen Trainor.
Yellow Cards: N Murphy (68), McHugh (87), Greg Bolger (117).
Sent Off: Bennett (76).
Referee: Tomas Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Owen Heary.