Goals early and late from Graham Burke and Aaron Greene booked Shamrock Rovers place in the final of the Extra.ie FAI Cup as arch-rivals Bohemians finished with 10-men after a fitful Dublin derby at Dalymount Park.
A trophy the 24-times record winners of the Blue Riband haven't won since 1987 is now in the sights of Stephen Bradley’s side as they look to end a promising season with silverware.
Their first final since 2010 will see Rovers take on the winners of Sunday’s second semi-final at the Showgrounds between Sligo Rovers and holders Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium on November 3rd.
Aaron Greene puts Shamrock Rovers 2-0 up against Bohemians in their FAI Cup semi-final at Dalymount Park. pic.twitter.com/AWGpr2HNXu— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 27, 2019
Rovers made one change from Monday's league defeat at champions Dundalk with Joey O'Brien passed fit to come back in on the right side of their defence.
Bohemians rang the changes with skipper Derek Pender, Ryan Graydon, along with key men Danny Mandroiu and Keith Buckley, all returning while striker Andrew Wright was passed fit.
After the smoke from flares, ignited by both sets of fans, cleared into the Phibsborough night, Rovers had the first shot in anger with Greene forcing a save down at his left-hand post from James Talbot with a low drive scarcely a minute in.
It was an early show of intent from the visitors who were in front from their first corner of the game on five minutes, given even though the ball went out off Hoops' striker Greene.
That said, Bohs didn't defend it well at all as Jack Byrne dinked the delivery into the near post where fellow Republic of Ireland international Burke, who had scored the winner when the side met in the league in Tallaght last month, snuck in to score with a flashing header past Buckley on the post.
Bohemians settled, passing their way into the game with Wright well off target with a header from Graydon's right flank cross.
It was 23 minutes before the Gypsies’ carved their first real chance with Graydon again involved. The winger worked a one-two with Mandroiu to skip in behind Sean Kavanagh. The shot lacked venom, though, as Alan Mannus comfortably gathered.
Likewise, Talbot was scarcely tested at the other end minutes later as Rovers enjoyed inventive possession, culminating in Aaron McEneff getting off a right-foot shot straight into the hands of the Bohemians keeper.
The home fans had grown frustrated with a lack of calls going their way from Clare referee Rob Hennessy, none more so than on 33 minutes when penalty appeals were ignored after the back-tracking Gary O’Neill appeared to catch the marauding Mandroiu on the edge of the area. Only a corner was given.
Rovers began the second half on the front foot, Greene having a shot deflected out for the first of two successive corners.
Chasing the game with vigour, Bohemians then had a good spell of the ball, if struggling to carve openings as Rovers defended tightly.
And it was superb defending at the opposite end on 70 minutes that kept Bohemians in the game.
Buckley was cleverly caught in possession by Burke with Byrne then threading him in down the inside left channel.
The Preston loanee’s chip cleared Talbot, but not left-back Paddy Kirk who made a miraculous headed clearance off the line.
The game was then all but up for Bohemians six minutes later when Mandroiu received a straight red for an over the ball challenge on Kavanagh.
Bohs starlet Danny Mandroiu sees red at Dalymount Park. pic.twitter.com/xpNJlPJF1j— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 27, 2019
Minutes later O’Brien had the ball in the Bohemians net only for it to be disallowed for offside.
But there was no denying Hoops on 80 minutes when they did double their lead.
Skipper Ronan Finn broke down the right to arrow a low cross to the far post where the hard-running Greene arrived to stroke home from close range.
The goal provoked some home fans to encroach onto the pitch to taunt the Rovers crowd behind the goal, though stewards and Gardai quickly got the situation under control.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty, Paddy Kirk; Ryan Graydon (Keith Ward 75), Scott Allardice (Conor Levingston 63), Keith Buckley (Ross Tierney 73), Danny Grant; Danny Mandroiu; Andre Wright.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Ronan Finn (Daniel Lafferty 85), Gary O’Neill, Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne, Sean Kavanagh; Graham Burke (Greg Bolger 88); Aaron Greene (Graham Cummins 90+1).
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare).