Bohemians progressed to the final of this year’s Leinster Senior Cup with a 1-0 away win versus UCD, courtesy of an 88th minute Ismahil Akinade winner on Monday night at the Bowl. They will now play Wexford Youths in this year’s final, vying to add another title to the Gypsies record 31 in the competition.
Niall Corbet was tested constantly with efforts aiming to lob the UCD goalkeeper. First came a wayward cross from Bohemians defender Stephen Best which forced him to check himself as he receded back onto his line and plucked the ball from the air.
UCD fought back after the twenty minute mark however, pressing their Premier Division opposition back into their own half. Dylan Watts offered an effort that cannoned off the back of centre-back Derek Prendergast before another shot from distance from Tomas Boyle rebounded back toward Watts again, lobbing the ball into the top corner for Steacy to claw it away at the last.
Keith Long was forced into a substitution before the half was out as Mark Quigley went down injured before returning to the field of play and going down again - being replaced soon after by former UCD player Ayman Ben Mohamed.
The second half began with a bang as UCD went forward with intention. Kieran Marty Waters took advantage of Bohemians’ seemingly disjointed defence, inexcusably high up the pitch allowing the forward the opportunity of a one on one with Steacy - the Bohemians goalkeeper saving low and well to force a corner kick.
Jason Byrne looked set to give the Students the lead with an hour on the clock as Collie O’Neill’s side continued to push their visitors. Despite a lack of speed former Bohemians ace. Byrne managed to storm his way beyond the Gypsies midfield.
The forward was offered the opportunity to release a shot 15 yards from goal but decided to try a one-two with the unmarked Marty Waters. Waters tried to find Byrne again for an easy tap in but the pass was too far behind the advancing striker and the chance was cleared.
Bohemians were jerked back into life by the individual brilliance of Kurtis Byrne, the forward trying to rekindle memories of his Quarter Final hat-trick to dump holders Dundalk out seven weeks ago. with a draw-dropping effort from 25 yards that rattled the centre of the UCD crossbar, licking a spot of white paint with it as it rebounded back into play, but the chance was gone.
Gary O’Neill attempted to draw first blood with a menacing free-kick that was caught firmly by Steacy before Kurtis Byrne was presented another chance which he headed goalbound from three yards - saved well by the dive of Corbet.
Bohemians pushed on however as Akinade and Ben Mohamed linked up well in the final third as the game reached its final fifteen minutes. Captain Roberto Lopes broke through the middle of the park, exposing the space in the UCD middle before laying the ball off to Akinade who had dropped wide along the right.
Akinade dropped the ball between the legs of Ben Mohamed who provided a weak effort that trickled into the arms of Corbet, but the player – called into the Tunisia squad this week – provided a better account of himself with a piercing shot that rocketed toward the top left corner before being palmed away expertly in another brilliant save by UCD goalkeeper Corbet.
But the visitors finally opened the scoring with two minutes remaining on the clock. Akinade was presented with a gift of a chance as substitute Maxi Kouogun headed the ball down into his path which allowed the forward plenty of time to compose himself and toe-poke the ball beyond Corbet, in what proved to be the game’s last real chance.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Adam Harney, Sean Coyne (Ryan Swan 89), Josh Collins, Tomas Boyle (Maxi Kouogun 85), Dylan Watts, Jack Watson, Gary O’Neill, Daire O’Connor, Jason Byrne (Georgie Kelly 67), Kieran Marty Waters
Subs not used: Conor Kearns, Dan Tobin, Jason McClelland, Mark Langtry
Bookings: Dylan Hayes (60)
Bohemians: Lee Stacey; Stephen Best, Dylan Hayes, Derek Prendergast, Paul Rooney, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley (Dan Byrne 90), James Kavanagh (Eoin Wearen 69), Mark Quigley (Ayman Ben Mohamed 27), Kurtis Byrne, Ismahil Akinade
Subs not used: Dean Delany, Jason Caffrey
Bookings: Paul Rooney (75)
Referee: Michael O’Connor
Attendance: 150 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Kurtis Byrne (Bohemians)