St Patrick's Athletic took a step closer to ending their 53-year wait for an FAI Cup as their ten men saw off Bohemians in a thrilling Dublin derby at Richmond Park last night.
Greg Bolger was given his marching orders for picking up two yellow cards in the space of five second-half minutes but it was Pat's who sealed their place in the last four.
The Saints struggled to gain a foothold in the game early on and Bohs punished them for their stuttering start. Kevin Devaney found Derek Pender with a clever through ball and the full-back showed remarkable composure to dink the ball over the onrushing Brendan Clarke to spark rapturous scenes in the away end.
The home side weren't behind for long, however, and once again it was Christy Fagan who bailed his side out of trouble.
Bohs held the lead for no more than two minutes: when they failed to deal with Killian Brennan's free-kick, Fagan was on hand to knock the ball in from close range for his 20th goal of the season.
Pat's had three great chances to take the lead before the break but they were met by an in-form Dean Delaney on each occasion.
The 'keeper firstly denied Fagan before he raced off his line to deny Keith Fahey who tried to lift he ball over him. Mark Quigley's worked an opening for himself but his curling effort was tipped over the bar by Delaney at full stretch.
Delaney couldn't do anything about Brennan's free-kick three minutes after the restart, however.
Fagan won a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Brennan stepped up to brilliantly bend a shot beyond the hapless 'keeper.
And it went from bad to worse for Bohs when Fagan notched his second goal of the game.
Conan Byrne played Fagan through on goal and despite Delaney getting a slight block on the ball, it looped up and spun into the back of the net.
Bolger didn't help Pat's cause by picking up a needless red card but the ten men of Pat's saw out the remaining 20 minutes.
Eoin Wearen's deflected shot looked like it had beaten Clarke but he somehow kept it out with a stunning instinctive save.
Aidan Price's header from Devaney's corner gave Bohs late hope of a comeback but it was a mere consolation as Pat's repelled their relentless pressure to advance.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; O'Brien (c), Oman, Hoare, Bermingham; Bolger, Fahey, Brennan (Chambers 85); Quigley, Fagan, Byrne.
Bohemians: Delaney; Pender, Mulcahy (c), Price, Beattie; Devaney, Wearen, Lopes, Moore (Kavanagh 56); Corcoran, Byrne (Forrester 90).
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).
FAI Ford Cup quarter-final preview
Avondale United v Finn Harps
Avondale Park, tomorrow, 2.00pm
Odds: Avondale United 10/3, Finn Harps 4/5, Draw 9/5
Referee: G Kelly (Cork)
Team news: Avondale have Michael Mulconry and Graham McCarthy suspended, while Harps also have two players, Sean McCarron and Damien McNulty, serving bans. Darragh Black (shoulder) is also out, while Kevin McHugh and Packie Mailey are doubts.
Talking point: Each team has arrived at this point having avoided Premier Division opposition, Avondale accounting for Carrigaline United, Collinstown and St Michael's, and Harps beating Belgrove and Wexford Youths. Harps boss Ollie Horgan is nervous. "They might be a non-league side but believe me, they are an experienced outfit who would fancy their chances against most sides in the League of Ireland," he said.
Verdict: Away win