Runners-up last season, Dundalk had to come from behind to defeat a plucky Bohemians side 3-1 in the fourth round of this year’s Leinster Senior Cup at Oriel Park on Tuesday night.
Bohs had taken a well-deserved first half lead from the penalty spot through JJ Lunney but goals from Ronan Murray, Sam Byrne and Krisztian Adorjan in the second period saw Dundalk march on to the quarter-finals, where they will face a trip to Shamrock Rovers with a date yet to be confirmed.
The Lilywhites were boosted by news that both Sean Hoare and Jamie McGrath had earlier in the day signed new contract extensions with the club, though neither featured in this cup tie as both managers named an experimental starting eleven.
That said, there was still some considerable talent on display despite the very reasonable admission fee of five euros, including internationals Adorjan and Karolis Chvedukas, but it was 18-year-old winger Pablo Cavalcante who stole the show on the night for Dundalk, providing assists for both Byrne and Adorjan late on.
Bohs started brightly and Lunney and Andy Lyons both saw their efforts go wide before Marco Tagbajumi had the hosts first chance of the evening but fired straight at Sean Bohan, who was making his debut in goal for the Gypsies.
The visitors were then awarded a penalty in the 25th minute after Daniel Grant, who was to begin his Leaving Certificate exams the following morning, was fouled by Gavin Smith and Lunney stepped up to score from the resulting spot kick, sending Gabriel Sava the wrong way.
Cavalcante was causing problems for Bohs on the right and he shot wide after a wonderful pass from Adorjan before his corner found Tagbajumi, who’s header was well wide of the mark as Dundalk went in behind at the break.
Dundalk came out much stronger in the second half though and Murray blazed an effort over the bar before Dean Jarvis saw his superb volley sail just over the bar as Stephen Kenny’s side went in search of an equaliser.
The Lilywhites then missed a glorious chance to draw level when Tagbajumi rounded the outrushing Bohan before squaring it to Sam Byrne, who shot straight at the Bohs keeper when he really ought to have done better.
The equaliser did come twenty minutes from time however, when a delightful ball over the top from Jarvis was expertly controlled by Murray who proceeded to lob the ball over the advancing Bohan.
Keen to avoid extra-time, the hosts upped the ante and went in search of a late winner and Murray’s free-kick from the left was met by the head of Tagbajumi, who forced the Republic of Ireland U17 keeper into a remarkable save.
Tagbajumi really should’ve put the Lilywhites ahead when he broke through on goal after getting the beating of Mitchell Byrne, but he shot straight at Bohan when it looked much easier to score.
The match looked destined for extra-time before the outstanding Cavalcante produced a pinpoint cross from the right which was headed home by Sam Byrne, who scored his first goal for the club since signing on loan from Everton.
Dundalk sealed their passage into the last eight minutes later when Cavalcante was again the creator, this time sliding a beautiful pass into the path of Adorjan, who rifled his shot high into the net to set up a quarter-final clash with Shamrock Rovers.
Dundalk: Gabriel Sava; George Poynton, Gavin Smith (Sean Gannon 40), Stephen Folan, Dean Jarvis; Pablo Cavalcante (Jack O’Keefe 89), Karolis Chvedukas (Karl Fitzsimons 68), Krisztian Adorjan, Sam Byrne; Ronan Murray, Marco Tagbajumi.
Subs not used: Ross Treacy, Adam Finnegan, Cian Flynn.
Booked: Adorjan (42).
Bohemians: Sean Bohan; Andy Lyons, Mitchell Byrne (Luke Nolan 88), Lee Rock, Patrick Kirk (Jamie Hamilton 61); Rob Manley, Dylan Thornton, JJ Lunney, Ryan Graydon (Promise Omochere 80); Ali Reghba, Daniel Grant.
Subs not used: Jamie Cleary, Cian McMullen, Stephen Nolan.
Booked: Kirk (58).
Referee: Tom Dempsey
Attendance: 500 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Pablo Cavalcante (Dundalk)