With 3 brand new arrivals in the starting line-up, the Bohs back 4 was the most unfamiliar to the home fans in attendance. Experienced duo Lorcan Fitzgerald and Derek Prendergast joined Stephen Best and Derek Pender in an all-new back four, while Kealan Dillon started alongside Roberto Lopes in midfield. Veteran Jason Byrne led the line on the eve of his 37th birthday.
Bohs’ wingers had a familiar look, and they combined to create the opening chance in the third minute. Keith Buckley has been impressive in pre-season, and his driven cross was met by Karl Moore on the opposite wing – but the shot was straight at Bray’s Stephen McGuinness. Unfortunately for the fans in a chilly, windswept Jodi Stand, that was the only clear cut opportunity of the opening half. Derek Prendergast had a header wide from a Dillon cross, but apart from that, the loudest cheer was reserved for referee Ben Connolly falling head over heels on the Dalymount turf.
Speaking of, manager Long will certainly be concerned with the pitch at the home of Irish football. Pock-marked and bobbly, the surface simply doesn’t lend to flowing football, and 120 sodden minutes wont have helped it today.
The game heated up in every way just after the break as Bohs carved out three clear-cut chances within 10 minutes of the re-start. Half time substitute Robbie Creevy had the first, but he somehow failed to connect with a pinpoint Derek Pender drive across the face of goal. Buckley was next, picked out by a sublime pass from Moore. However, the Bohs No. 8 was streching at the ball and could only toe-poke wide. Finally, Paddy Kavanagh missed the best of the lot after a determined run from Roberto Lopes. Lopes’s pull-back found Kavanagh 8 yards out, but he could only shoot straight at the legs of McGuinness.
The game was somewhat disrupted after an unfortunate injury to Bray’s Graham Kelly. Robbie Creevy chopped him down in order to stop an attack – a professional yellow card – but Kelly seemed to be seriously injured, and the dreaded inflated leg-brace / stretcher came on. For a pre-season-type of game, there was a lot of niggle, and referee Ben Connolly had a poor game. He could easily have sent off Dave Scully and Bray sub Emeka Onwubiko, while Creevy was lucky not to have gone for a kick out at Scully, who was a genuine irritant all afternoon. David Cassidy was Bray’s brightest light. He tested Delany with 10 minutes to go, and had the ball in the net a minute later, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Extra time was a much trickier affair for Bohs. After Prendergast saw his header come off the crossbar in the opening minutes, Bray started to get on top. Bohs captain Pender was forced off with a knee injury, and with all 3 subs used, the home side had to play the last 10 minutes with just 10 men. Delany showed his worth, saving two stinging free-kicks from Daniel O’Reilly. Bray had the ball in the net again, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Delany by another Bohs old-boy, Chris Lyons (Bray started five former Gypsies in total, Scully, Lyons, Ryan McEvoy, Michael Barker, and Jack Memery).
They say penalties are always a lottery, but when you take them like Bohs did, you’ve got more than a fighting chance. Buckley, Creevy, Kavanagh, and Prendergast buried their kicks. For Bray, Lyons saw his spot kick well saved by Delany. Then, with the pressure on, Scully tried to burst the ball, which crashed off the crossbar, sending Bohs into the quarter final after a Long haul of an afternoon.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Stephen Best, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Keith Buckley, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Robbie Creevy, 46), Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 60), Paddy Kavanagh, Jason Byrne (Marc Griffin, 81). Subs not used: Lee Stacy, Jake Hyland, Dillon Hayes, James O’Brien.
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness, Michael Barker, Alan McNally (Hugh Douglas, 46), Daniel O’Reilly, Jack Memery, James O’Donnell (Emeka Onwubiko, 57), David Cassidy, Ryan McEvoy, Graham Kelly (Luke Gallagher, 72), Dave Scully, Chris Lyons. Subs not used: Brian Kane, Adam Mitchell, Niall Cooney, Peter Durrad.
BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes