Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
Ali Reghba made it a double-winning season for Bohemians under-19s as his goal was enough to defeat Shamrock Rovers 1-0 in the National League final at Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Having already claimed the Enda McGuill Cup earlier this season, Bohs successfully defended the league crown they won last year to make it a season to remember for Craig Sexton’s boys.
Any Dublin derby between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians is going to be well contested and that was certainly the case at a cold Tallaght Stadium.
The biggest cheers in the first half from the home fans were for a couple of crunching tackles by Conor Gleeson, who managed to take ball and Bohs player at the same time, much to the delight of the Hoops supporters.
Aidan Price’s Rovers team were unchanged from their 3-0 semi-final win over St. Patrick’s Athletic.
He was able to call upon a couple of players who have accumulated 30 first team league appearances this season with Aaron Bolger and Brandon Kavanagh in the middle of the park.
However Sexton had six players in his starting line up who had got some game time with the Bohs first team and one of those – Ali Reghba – was the standout player on the pitch in the first half.
Six minutes before half time, Bohs made the breakthrough with a well worked goal from Reghba.
He turned the Rovers defence taking Promise Omochere’s through ball to round Kian Clarke and slot home into the empty net.
The Gypsies had had the better of the play until then, and created the better chances in the opening period, although the Rovers defence did well to keep the Bohs boys at bay reducing them to mostly long shots.
Twice Jamie Hamilton went close. First his free kick required a Rovers head jumping from the defensive wall to take the sting out of the shot and then Cian Collins bravely blocked his next effort.
After Rovers captain Sean Callan collide with Omochere, Ryan Graydon won a footrace to the ball, only for Clarke to neatly save as he came rushing from his goal.
Dean Williams, who made his Rovers first team debut last month, looked lively for the Hoops – and twice went close in the first half.
His shot from an acute angle beat Bohs ‘keeper Sean Bohan but also the outside of the post.
Bohan then pulled off a decent double save by blocking Williams’ next effort and the follow up from Kenny Cunningham.
Within four minutes of the restart Reghba was in on goal again and Rovers required Clarke to save from the Bohs striker.
At the other end, Kavanagh went down in the Bohs box, but referee Alan Patchell waved play on, to the disappointment of the home supporters in the 1,300 crowd.
Another long range Hamilton effort looked goal bound but didn’t have enough curl to take it inside Clarke’s right hand post.
Before the hour mark Rovers began to put concerted pressure on the Gypsies with a deflected Bolger shot just dropping outside of the frame of the Bohs goal.
Bohan then pushed away a firmly-hit Adam O’Connor header from a Bolger corner.
The pressure was being piled on Bohs and a mazy Bolger run ended with a shot that Bohan gathered to his left.
Graydon got another one-on-one racing onto substitute Christian Mageruson’s defence splitting pass with a quarter of an hour remaining.
He rounded the ‘keeper only for Clarke to put out a hand to take the ball off Mageruson’s toe as he looked to slot it home.
Kavanagh rattled the Bohs bar moments later as the game began to open up. Magersun twice had chances to double Bohs’ lead only to be wasteful in front of goal. Kavanagh struck a free kick wide deep in injury time but the Hoops couldn’t find a late equaliser on what proved to be a very satisfying Dublin Derby for the Gypsies.
Shamrock Rovers: Kian Clarke; Cian Collins, Sean Callan ©, Adam O’Connor, Conor Gleeson; Darren Prendergast (Thomas Oluwa 80 (Eric Abulu 90+2)), Aaron Bolger; Emmanuel Lawal, Brandon Kavanagh, Kenny Cunningham (Evan White 72); Dean Williams.
Subs not used: Adam Kenny, Darragh O’Connor, Luke Kelly, Richie English.
Booked: Sean Callan (27).
Bohemians u19: Sean Bohan; Andrew Lyons ©, Mitchell Byrne, Lee Rock, Peter Adigun; Dylan Thornton, Jamie Hamilton; Promise Omochere (Steven Nolan 80), Ryan Graydon (Cian McMullan 87), Danny Grant (Christian Mageruson 63); Ali Reghba.
Subs not used: Seamus Curley, Luke Nolan, Alex Kelly, Alex Nevin.
Booked: Mitchell Byrne (59), Andy Lyons (90).
Referee: Alan Patchell.
Attendance: 1,300 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ali Reghba (Bohemians).