Monday 22 January 2018

Madden on mark to send Bohs through

Bohemians 1
Shelbourne 0

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THERE was a time when the victors in meetings between these sides would have celebrated feverishly, with bragging and gloating the order of the day. Heck, they might even have poached a player from the other side to round off the evening.

Alas, the naughty Noughties are no more. As expected, Bohemians took the spoils here, but there was no fanfare around the achievement. The game was well contested alright, yet there was a notable lack of edge in the occasion; the Dalymount faithful neglecting to taunt Shels about their lowly status as a First Division club.

The fear around Phibsborough, of course, is that Bohs will end up going the same way as their old rivals unless they produce a considerable amount of cash in a short period of time.

Certainly, the superiority of their squad was in evidence here, although Shels put it up to them for periods. Quality came through in the end, even though the Gypsies failed to hit the high notes.

Pat Fenlon's main aim this year was a third successive league title, to match his haul while steering the ship at Tolka Park.

However, the prize money which accompanies a successful cup run would inject some badly needed cash into the bank. Every penny counts, and their progression to the quarter-finals opens up the possibilities.

Shels, under new boss Alan Mathews were combative and tried to make things difficult for the hosts by deploying a five-man midfield, with the experienced trio of David McGill, Paul Shiels and Ray Scully at the heart of it.

They contained with reasonable success in the early exchanges, restricting the Gypsies to speculative shots from outside the area, with Ruaidhri Higgins off target, before Ian Ryan blocked smartly from Paddy Madden and Gareth Whelan threw himself in front of a Jason Byrne shot.

Alas, they conceded at the midway point of the half when Owen Heary raced down the right flank in a style that the visiting fans would remember, crossing for Madden, who precisely volleyed beyond Dean Delaney.

It may have been Madden's last major contribution for the Gypsies with English clubs reported to be monitoring him as the transfer window comes to a close.


Lone Shels front-man Philip Gorman did test Chris O'Connor with a header before the interval, yet the Reds were mostly using their energy on defensive duties. A smart Byrne cross almost found the marauding Mark Quigley, a menace throughout, but Stephen Quigley bravely knocked the ball behind in the nick of time.

In fairness to Mathews' side, they clearly received a useful half-time tutorial as they burst out after the resumption with purpose. Scully advanced forward and fed Gorman, who was a little bit off balance with a left foot swipe that skied over.

They pressed in the period that followed, knocking Bohs out of their rhythm somewhat, with Byrne hobbling off. Quigley might have provided the insurance goal with another trademark dash that culminated with a cross when a shot was possibly the better option. Then, Heary nodded a corner back across goal, where McGlynn flapped instead of applying the finish.

Shels committed numbers forward as the minutes elapsed, with Dinny Corcoran introduced to offer support for Gorman. He helped cause some difficulty for the Bohs rearguard, who had been relatively comfortable until that point.

Ultimately, though, there was a lack of assurance about their final ball with promising moves breaking down when it came to the final delivery.

Indeed, their prowess in that department was summed up by their best moment of the game, when Gorman nipped away from Brian Shelley, who was forced to illegally stop his opponent's progress just outside the box. After a prolonged build-up, skipper McGill stood up and blasted the ball on to the roof of the Des Kelly Stand.

Fenlon drafted Aaron Greene and Killian Brennan into the fray, but his team started to give away possession cheaply, giving Shels some encouragement as full-time approached.

Nevertheless, there was a muted enough reaction from the Shels' section when the fourth official signalled for four minutes of extra-time. For all the endeavour, they didn't quite look capable of making serious inroads.

They will return to the business of First Division football. The powers that be at Bohs, engaged in a vigorous fundraising drive, will return to the business of avoiding that fate.

Bohemians -- O'Connor, Heary, Shelley, Oman, Powell; McGlynn (Brennan 67), Cronin, Higgins, Quigley; Madden, Byrne (Greene 59).

Shelbourne -- Delaney, Quigley (Corcoran 66), Ryan, Whelan, Byrne; O'Brien, McGill, Scully, Shiels, Hughes (Foley 75); Gorman

Ref -- Neil Doyle (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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