Date: 7:45 p.m. July 16, 2010
Venue: Dalymount Park
This game started at a cracking pace with Mark Quigley instrumental in some early moves for Bohemians that might have yielded a goal within the opening two minutes. After a soft shoe shuffle that set him free in central midfield, Quigley put Paddy Madden away down the left. He in turn found Rafaele Cretaro, who fired a ball across the Sligo box that Gareth McGlynn only narrowly failed to meet.
Moments later, Quigley made more space for himself and almost succeeded in chipping Brush from fifteen yards. But if these early moments suggested a Bohemians romp, Sligo had other ideas.
Just six minutes in a Joseph Ndo corner was glanced wide of the far post by John Russell and a minute later Padraig Amond sprung the off- side trap but lobbed both Barry Murphy in the home goal and the crossbar.
Sligo defender Gavin Peers provided the next moment of drama when he met a Conor Powell cross and almost turned it into his own net. He’ll be buying Richard Brush a pint for clawing the ball out from under the crossbar.
Quigley might have done better with a 15th minute header from a Paddy Madden cross before Sligo went back on the offensive, a dangerous Ndo cross being headed behind by Brian Shelley. From the resulting corner Sligo worked the ball across the field where Alan Keane met a dropping ball full on the volley from 20 yards. His shot was fizzing towards the top corner of Murphy’s net until the ‘keeper’s flying save tipped the ball onto the post and behind.
Two minutes later Ndo set up Amond again with another pinpoint cross from the right, but the striker powered his header wide from just six yards out.
It was a miss that the Bit o’ Red would have cause to regret because on 28 minutes Madden broke down Bohemian’s left flank and dragged a low cross back behind the on-rushing hordes, Paul Keegan met it crisply and the ball flew pat Brush and into the Sligo net.
Despite the unstinting efforts of the traveling fans, complete with enthusiastic drummer, the goal drew Sligo’s sting for a short while and it was Bohemians who were next to raise the heartbeat with a neat free kick on the edge of the Sligo box. Ruaidhri Higgins slipped a ball past the wall and into the path of Quigley, but the invention of the moment did not stretch to the finish as the winger blasted over the bar from 15 yards.
With just seven minutes until the half time break, Cretaro really should have done better than become entangled with Brush on the byline. Madden had wrestled the ball from Jim Lauchlan wide on the right and the Tubbercurry man skipped in to steal the loose ball. A simple pull back would surely have yielded a second goal but that two goal half time deficit would have been grossly unfair on the visitors.
However, by the time the second goal did come, in the 59th minute, it was thoroughly deserved. Bohemians had shown all the initiative in the second half, Keegan driving just wide from twenty five yards and Cretaro clipping the ball millimetres over the bar following a magnificent 40 yard pass from Mark Quigley.
And it was Quigley who provided the crucial ball again when his free towards the back post was met by Ken Oman. Somehow the defenders header bounced into the goal between a frozen Richard Brush and the post.
Sligo did show some signs of life as Richie Ryan, Amond and substitute Gary McCabe all had shots on goal but none of them really threatened Barry Murphy, and it was the home side who could have added a third when a superb run and cross from Gareth McGlynn was just inches too high for the onrushing Madden.
Jason Byrne and Glen Cronin came on for Bohemians in the final quarter, a declaration of the Champion’s strength in depth and, despite a Richie Ryan free that Murphy gathered low down, they were entirely comfortable as the dying minutes ticked away.
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Brian Shelley, Owen Heary, Ken Oman, Conor Powell; Gareth McGlynn, Paul Keegan (Glen Cronin, 73), Ruadhiri Higgins, Mark Quigley (Killian Brennan, 89); Rafaele Cretaro, Paddy Madden (Jason Byrne, 79).
Subs not used: Chris O’Connor, Jason McGuinness.
Bookings: Keegan (57).
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, James Lauchlan, Iorfhlaith Davoren; Eoin Doyle (Conor O’Grady, 85), Richie Ryan, John Russell (Danny Ventre, 85), John Dillon (Gary McCabe, 58), Joseph Ndo; Padraig Amond.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Mark McGoldrick.
Bookings: Lauchlan (88).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Mark Quigley.
Referee: Dave McKeon.
Attendance: 2,500 (estimate).