Bohemians 0-2 Shamrock Rovers
Having lost their way in recent weeks, Shamrock Rovers found a new direction with a timely 2-0 win against arch-rivals Bohemians at Dalymount Park as the holders secured an EA Sports Cup final meeting with Dundalk next month.
Belying their internal strife, a positive start from managerless Rovers brought them a deserved lead on nine minutes.
In coming to clear an innocuous ball in from the right, two Bohemians players collided.
Marty Waters was onto the loose ball in a flash, skipping away to punish the blunder as he dispatched a left-footed shot past the advancing Dean Delany.
Bohemians remained nervous at the back as Delany conceded a corner which, when subsequently delivered by Sean O’Connor, was planted wide off the head of the unmarked David O’Connor who should have done better.
Anto Murphy’s long throw at the other end almost eased Bohemians’ early troubles as skipper Dave Mulcahy headed just inches over the bar.
But Owen Heary’s side had the woodwork to thank for not finding themselves two down in the 26th minute. Rough treatment of Waters brought a free-kick which Sean O’Connor whipped into the edge of the area and Brennan was unlucky to see his header come back off the crossbar.
The impressive Brennan was involved again minutes later as he fed Sean O’Connor who cut in from the right to curl a left-footed shot wide of Delany’s right-hand post.
The over-worked home defence was stretched again as Dean Kelly worked a one-two with Brennan. Relief once more came from the shot being off target.
Bohemians brought Dinny Corcoran on at half-time to bolster their attack.
That initially gave them a lift as a break from the back by Roberto Lopes brought Byrne an early chance which lacked the power to trouble Barry Murphy.
The Rovers keeper was then brave in rushing out to save at the feet of Corcoran.
But further defensive frailties at the back cost Bohemians another soft goal in the 53rd minute.
Lopes failed to deal with Sean O’Connor’s low cross from the right and Kelly could scarcely believe his good fortune as he nonchalantly swept the ball home.
The final takes place on Saturday, 20 September at a venue yet to be confirmed.
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Anto Murphy, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Derek Pender; Keith Buckley (Adam Evans 74), Eoin Wearen, Dave Mulcahy, Karl Moore (Steven Beattie 58); Craig Walsh (Dinny Corcoran, h/t); Jason Byrne.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, David O’Connor, Luke Byrne; Shane Robinson, Ryan Brennan (Stephen McPhail 80); Sean O’Connor (Ciaran Kilduff 72), Ronan Finn, Marty Waters (Karl Sheppard, 50); Dean Kelly.
Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).