BYRNE BABY BYRNE
April 5, 2016
BOHEMIANS 4 DUNDALK 3
An action-packed night that’ll be remembered for both shambolic Dundalk defending and a Kurtis Byrne hat-trick master class, as Bohemians overcame a weakened but resilient Dundalk side in a thrilling encounter. The Dalymount faithful were treated to what was possibly one of the most memorable nights in the Leinster Senior Cup’s recent history.
Bohemians started the brighter team, and almost opened the scoring when a Jake Kelly free-kick found Kurtis Byrne unmarked at the back post, but the former Lilywhites frontman mistimed his kick completely as the goal lay at his mercy. Bohemians didn’t have to wait long for their next chance, as Evans skilfully caught Paddy Barrett flat-footed to pull back for Kelly, who could only find the comfortable hands of the Dundalk Keeper.
It was Stephen Kenny’s side, however, who took the lead after thirteen minutes as Bohs were left to rue their missed chances. An accurate through ball found the feet of Michael O’Connor who struck a well-placed shot past the on-rushing Lee Steacy.
Bohemians didn’t take it lying down, and almost drew level when Evans intercepted a sloppy Dundalk pass to find Keith Buckley on the edge of the area. Unfortunately for the tireless midfielder, his effort was blazed high and over. Keith Long’s men didn’t have to wait to ling for their next chance, as a stray Kelly shot found Kurtis Byrne on the 18-yard line; however his effort was well high of the target.
Bohemians continued to employ a high-pressing tactic which the Dalymount faithful have become so accustomed to since Long’s inception. After a string of wasted chances, the Gypsies’ finally drew level. Dundalk defender Anton Reilly shot himself in the foot as he hesitated on the ball inside hos 18 yard line, eventually losing out to Anto Murphy who fired home a ferocious strike past Gabriel Sava to draw the home side level before half-time.
The second half saw the game become a more open affair as Dundalk began to push on into the final third. However it was Bohemians who took the lead with another Kurtis Byrne wonder strike. The Bohs’ frontman found space 35 yards out and let fly with a perfectly weighted volley over the head of the unsuspecting Sava.
The lead didn’t last long though, as hesitant Bohemians defending allowed Michael O’Connor to gran his and Dundalk’s’ second with a delightful shot past an unmoved Steacy.
It was the last ten minutes though, that the game really caught fire. Kurtis Bryne again, showing the 300 in attendance that he’s not one to score ordinary goals. An 81st minute carbon copy of his previous goal, struck a sublime volley from 35 yards out to catch Sava off his line.
The Dundalk keeper will likely be having nightmares tonight, as his tormentor Byrne struck yet again with devastating free kick into the top-left corner of the goal to complete is hat-trick and surely kill off the game for Bohemians.
There was time, however, for a late Dundalk rally. A whizzing cross not dealt with by captain Dave Mulcahy allowed for substitute Jordan Kelly to fire home a late consolation for the away side.