Flood's late clincher keeps Bohs on course
IT took 198 minutes of uninspiring fare to make a breakthrough, but Bohemians breathed a sigh of relief as they returned to the semi-finals of the FAI Ford Cup.
Anto Flood didn't know much about his winner against a 10-man Dundalk, who will feel hard done by. It was probably just as well, because nearly everything the Gypsies tried last night failed to come off, as, in the end, impulse got them over the line.
This was a poor cup tie, played in front of a disappointing crowd of 1,109. Dundalk were patched up, but full of courage, while Bohs were close to full strength, but strangely tepid.
Flood got the 2008 winners out of jail and they'll want to forget this encounter as quickly as possible before their league game in Galway on Friday.
Dundalk were furious when Dean Bennett was dismissed, apparently for dissent, with 14 minutes remaining and his manager Ian Foster joined him when he was sent off in the second half of extra- time for something he said to referee Tom Connolly.
Despite what was to follow, the game almost got off to an explosive start as the home side won a free within the opening minute and Ger O'Brien went agonisingly close to opening the scoring, heading over after Owen Heary had redirected Killian Brennan's ball into his path.
Liam Burns headed another Brennan delivery over, but it was Dundalk on the break who looked more threatening, with Mark Quigley drawing a fine save out of Barry Murphy with a volley and Johnny Breen forcing the stopper into another reaction save.
Scoreless at the break, things barely improved after half-time as the home side's inaccurate passing drew heckles from the frustrated home crowd. In contrast the large travelling support were boisterous, although their team were living on scraps.
Aiden Downes had a go from the edge of the box that failed to trouble, before Owen Heary got on the end of a Robert Bayly cross, only to miss the target.
Then came the bizarre case of Bennett. The centre-half's tackle on Keith Buckley was rash and Connolly booked him. The referee then consulted assistant Ciaran Delaney, before showing red. Dalymount Park was mystified, Foster livid.
Quigley almost followed the ridiculous with the sublime at the other end, shaving the post with a sweetly hit 35-yard free-kick.
Fenlon brought Christy Fagan on in an attempt to liven his attack up and win it in 90 minutes, but they couldn't make the breakthrough.
With midfielder Greg Bolger now in defence, Fenlon finally allowed Flood to operate up front, but the Lilywhites remained comfortable as extra-time continued in the same vein.
Dundalk made it to half-time in extra-time unscathed, escaping a Cherrie dropped ball as Buckley put his cut-back into the 'keeper's hands.
Penalties looked inevitable, but eventually the winner came. Simon Madden rashly fouled Fagan, Brennan pulled the free back to Mark Rossiter and his drive came off Flood's head and flew into the bottom corner.
He might not have known a lot about it, but it made all the difference as Murphy spectacularly denied Quigley an equaliser at the death and Bohs made it through.
BOHEMIANS -- Murphy; Heary, Burns, Price, Rossiter; O'Brien (Buckley 66), Brennan, Bayly, Cronin, Flood; Downes (Fagan 86).
DUNDALK -- Cherrie; Madden, C Byrne, Bennett, McHugh; Breen, Bolger, Ward, Murphy; Quigley; Griffin (J Byrne 66).
REF --T Connolly (Dublin).