Bohemians must win an eighth FAI Cup next weekend if they are to play European football in 2022 after they could only take a point from their game with Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds, the sides drawing 1-1.
Johnny Kenny struck for the Bit O'Red’s first-half opener, but Bohs recovered well and deservedly levelled the game courtesy of substitute Georgie Kelly’s first touch 12 minutes from time.
The result means the Phibsboro side finish their league campaign in fifth spot, behind Derry City who won in Dundalk.
Rovers boss Liam Buckley made four changes from their defeat to Derry, with Kenny returning from a successful trip to Bulgaria with the Irish U19s. Shane Blaney, Ed McGinty and Greg Bolger all returned from injury.
Bohs made two changes from their Dublin derby victory over great rivals Shamrock Rovers, with Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney taking their places in the starting line-up.
The visitors knew a win would be enough to guarantee European football at Dalymount Park in 2022.
But things didn't go to plan for the Keith Long’s charges in the opening half.
A superb save from goalkeeper James Talbot denied Lewis Banks’ spectacular swerving shot six minutes in. While Talbot had to push Kenny’s left-footer past his post after the Rovers wonderkid picked up a pass from Adam McDonnell.
Already in fine goal-scoring form having scored three from three for the Republic of Ireland U19s during the week, Kenny registered his 12th goal of the season after 16 minutes.
Receiving a pass from Ryan De Vries, the ball seemed to stick to the foot of the Rovers teen before he pounded his laser-guided strike into the bottom corner of Talbot’s net.
Bohs had two off target efforts before the break, but it was Kenny who continued to grab the attention at the opposite end. His first-time effort was simple enough for Talbot to deal with on 23 minutes after he’d evaded his marker.
But the Gypsies ’keeper knew little about Kenny’s speculative effort from the edge of the area on the half hour, which came back off the crossbar after the striker had beaten the offside trap.
Chasing the game, Bohs started the second half much the brighter.
Liam Burt’s cross only needed a touch at the back post on 53 minutes, while McGinty got two hands behind Stephen Mallon’s volley as the Dubliners pressed high.
Bohemians have grabbed an equaliser against Sligo Rovers. The race for fourth is still on, but they have to find a winner or hope Derry concede against Dundalk. pic.twitter.com/JTm4YkivFl— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 19, 2021
Promise Omochere headed over from close range, moments before Ross Tierney hit the crossbar with a wonderful strike after he spun past a Rovers defender on 71.
Burt smacked a first-time volley at McGinty in the 72nd minutes with Bohs grabbing a deserved goal six minutes later.
Only seconds on the field, Kelly stretched to meet Mallon’s cross and turned the ball past McGinty for his 21st league goal of the year.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Lewis Banks, Shane Blaney, John Mahon, Robbie McCourt, Greg Bolger (Niall Morahan 70), Adam McDonnell, Mark Byrne (Colm Horgan 66), Ryan De Vries (Walter Figueira 75), Johnny Kenny (Seamas Keogh 66), Andre Wright.
Bohemians: James Talbot, Tyreke Wilson (Georgie Kelly 77), Rob Cornwall (Rory Feely 88), Ciaran Kelly, Anto Breslin, Dawson Devoy, Conor Levingston (Keith Buckley 56), Ross Tierney, Keith Ward (Stephen Mallon 56), Promise Omochere, Liam Burt.
Referee: Graham Kelly.