Bohemians claimed the EA Sports Cup for the third time in the club’s history with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Waterford United in front of 4,000 at the RSC, writes RTÉ Sport's Shane Murray.
Killian Brennan gave the visitors the lead with a spectacular dipping left-footed free-kick in the eighth minute, before adding a needlessly conceded penalty on 30 minutes.
Neale Fenn’s speculative drive caught Michael Devine napping in the 42nd minute, but Kenny Browne’s 79th-minute tap-in ensured a nervous finish for Pat Fenlon’s men as the Blues threw everything at them in the closing minutes.
The match was delayed slightly as Waterford goalkeeper Michael Devine had to tape up a net before the match could get underway.
And Bohs signalled their intent immediately when Owen Heary’s header from Brennan’s right-wing corner was cleared off the line in the opening seconds by John Kearney.
Brennan looked lively from the off, and in the fourth minute he broke well down the right and his drilled cross picked out Ndo at the front post, but the Cameroonian couldn’t direct his shot on target.
Bohs took the lead in spectacular fashion in the eighth minute when the clinical Brennan took just one step before curling a vicious left-footed free-kick up and over the wall from just outside the area to give Devine no chance.
Long drove over from outside the box in Waterford’s first meaningful attack in the 11th minute as Pat Fenlon’s men asserted complete control.
In the 22nd minute, Willie John Kiely played a great ball from the left to put Sullivan through on the right edge of the box, but his first touch let him down and Murphy gathered.
The Gypsies were given the opportunity to double their lead in the 29th minute when Kevin Murray bundled Hughes over for an obvious and unnecessary penalty, with the Bohs striker running away from goal and with no apparent danger in sight.
Devine was booked for dissent before Brennan made no mistake from the spot a minute later, slotting the ball low to Devine’s left for his eighth goal of the season.
Brennan, looking for his hat-trick, then tried to volley Fenn’s cross goalwards but his effort was blocked superbly by the brave Kearney.
Oman’s right-foot volley from the left corner of the box sneaked narrowly wide in the 39th minute as Bohs pressed for a third.
Brennan attempted a lob when put through a minute later, but he under-hit his effort and Devine gathered with ease.
Bohs did get the third goal their superiority deserved three minutes before the break when Ndo found Fenn on the left and his right-foot pile-driver could only be palmed into the net by the hapless Devine.
Cummins headed wide just before the break as the hosts attempted to claw their way back into the game, but in truth Bohs were well worth their three-goal advantage at the interval.
Stephen Henderson’s half-time team talk had the desired effect as United burst out of the blocks in the second half, quickly winning a corner.
From that corner, Cummins’ clever back-heel put Carey through on the right and he squared for Dave Warren, who failed to keep his right-foot shot down from the edge of the box.
That was possibly Waterford’s best chance to that point, but in a much tighter second 45, Bohs still played with the confidence of a team at the top of the Premier Division.
Carey then conceded a corner at the second attempt in the 56th minute after a cross from the right almost picked out Hughes unmarked on the six yard box.
On the hour, Paul Keegan worked an opening on the left after being played in by Ndo, but his cross-come-shot was easily claimed by Devine under his crossbar.
The hosts, well poised for promotion from the First Division, grew in stature as the game progressed and Sullivan went close with a header in the 68th minute.
Kearney volleyed wildly over a minute later as openings became more plentiful in the previously water-tight Bohs defence.
United spurned a glorious chance to pull one back in the 77th minute when Carey’s ball from the right was flicked on to Kiely who teed up Sullivan, but the striker blasted over from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
At the other end, Fenn tested Devine again with a long-range effort, before Waterford did reduce the deficit in fortuitous circumstances in the 79th minute.
The traditionally unflappable Murphy failed to gather a cross from the left, before Cummins pounced on the loose ball and squared for Browne to pull one back from a yard out.
In a frantic finale, Brennan conceded a corner in the 81st minute after another promising build-up asked questions of the Bohs rearguard, with two subsequent corners causing all sorts of problems before Murphy eventually saved from substitute Paul Walsh, who should have done better from six yards.
Indeed Waterford created another fantastic chance to reduce the deficit in the 83rd minute when Sullivan found Cummins, but his drive from 20 yards curled just right and wide of Murphy’s left post.
Kiely fired wide in the last two minutes as the Blues continued to press forward, but in the end it proved too little too late as Bohs held on to claim the trophy for the third time following previous wins in 1975 and 1979.
Waterford United: 1 Michael Devine; 2 Alan Carey, 4 Kevin Murray, 5 Kenny Browne, 23 Seamus Long 20 (11 Kevin Waters 69 mins); 12 Stephen Grant, 6 John Kearney, 33 Dave Warren (Paul Walsh 69 mins); 15 Graham Cummins, 9 Willie John Kiely, 18 Vinnie Sullivan.
Substitutes not used: Gary Dunphy, Kieran Fitzgerald, Joe Mulcahy.
Booked: Devine 30, Kiely 73, Carey 86.
Bohemians: 1 Brian Murphy; 2 Owen Heary, 5 Brian Shelley, 6 Ken Oman, 3 Conor Powell; 11 Killian Brennan, 4 Glenn Cronin, 7 Paul Keegan (14 Ryan McEvoy 78 mins), 8 Joseph Ndo (16 Anto Murphy 71 mins); 9 Mark Hughes, 10 Neale Fenn (15 Glen Crowe 86 mins).
Substitutes not used: Jason Byrne, Matt Gregg.
Booked: Shelley 33, Fenn 78.
Referee: Derek Tomney.