HE left it late to score his first goal in his club’s FAI Cup run this season, with three minutes left in the last game before the final, but once again Georgie Kelly showed why the Bohemians fans have elevated him to hero status, up there with free-scoring strikers like Glen Crowe and Turlough O’Connor, as he powered them back to the Aviva Stadium and into the Cup final.
or some time now, the Cup has been a frustration for Bohs, who failed to make it to the final for 13 years running, and their semi-final battle with a gutsy Waterford, who finished with nine men, was looking like more of the same.
The Gypsies missed a penalty which probably should not have been awarded, were denied two possible penalties more deserving of a spot kick, struggled to open up a Blues side who played for most of the second half with ten men after defender Kyle Ferguson was sent off on 53 minutes, and also witnessed a series of chances come and go for top scorer Kelly.
A replay in Waterford on Monday loomed – and an extra game in an already clogged-up fixture list was not what the Gypsies needed. But on 87 minutes patience paid off, as the mercurial Dawson Devoy created an opening for sub Promise Omochere and when he crossed, Kelly could not believe his luck to be left unmarked and send home his 24th of the season in all competitions, his first in the Cup, Kelly then chaired off the pitch by fans afterwards, many of them of an age where they’ve not seen their club in that final stage
It was Waterford’s first time in a semi-final in 12 years and they will wonder what might have been. Maybe nerves showed when they failed to make the most of two great chances, one in the first half from Anthony Wordsworth and another after the break from Junior Quitirna. Neither effort hit the target, missed opportunities that the Blues would come to regret.
Bohs had an appeal for a penalty on 24 minutes, when Lyons went down in the box under pressure from Jack Stafford, and on 33 minutes they had an actual penalty. Former Bohs keeper Brian Murphy clashed with Georgie Kelly in the box and referee Rob Harvey pointed to the spot, but Murphy, who felt hard done-by with the penalty, earned redemption as he saved with his feet.
The game appeared to have turned Bohs’ way on 53 minutes when Kyle Ferguson was shown his second yellow card of the day, for a foul on Burt right on the edge of the box. Manager Marc Bircham called Greg Halford from the bench to fill in and marshal the defence which was in line for a testing second half.
That Blues back line had done its job as Bohs looked in vain for a way, only for the brain of Devoy and quick feet of Omochere to set up Kelly for the winner. Bohs keeper James Talbot then needed late on to deny John Martin and Phoenix Patterson while Blues skipper Niall O’Keeffe was also sent off, but the Phibsboro club would not be denied as they advance to a first final since 2008, for first all-Dublin final in 21 years.
BOHS – Talbot; Lyons, Cornwall (Feely 90), C Kelly, Breslin; Tierney (Omochere 70), Buckley (Levingston 81); Coote (Ward 90), Devoy, Burt; G Kelly.
WATERFORD – Murphy; Power, Nolan, Ferguson, Stafford; Griffin (Halford 55), Wordsworth, O’Keeffe; Martin, Quitirna (Mutswunguma 70; Evans 81)), Patterson.
REF – Rob Harvey