Sadlier rescues City in Dalymount
KIERAN Sadlier cooly converted a 87th-minute penalty at Dalymount Park last night to keep Cork City’s dreams of a third consecutive FAI Cup title alive for another day.
After Dinny Corcoran opened the scoring at the midway point in the second half, Bohemians looked set to face league champions-elect Dundalk in the competition’s upcoming decider. However, following Sadlier’s late intervention, John Caulfield’s Leesiders will now welcome Bohs to Turner’s Cross next Monday.
It is just over two weeks since the two sides met in a league clash at the same venue – a 4-2 defeat proving detrimental in City’s quest for back-to-back Premier Division crowns. The Gypsies’ blistering opening put paid to their chances of success on that occasion and they received an early scare when Kevin Devaney headed Keith Ward’s earlier cross off-target.
Sadler kept Bohs netminder Shane Supple on his toes with a similar attempt, while they also posed a significant threat off attacking set-pieces.
The hosts ramped up the pressure on the Rebel Army in the second-quarter and Ward had a shot on the half-hour mark turned away by the feet of Mark McNulty.
City were forced deep in this period, making it difficult for Sadlier and Karl Sheppard to make an impact in the wide areas. Garry Buckley’s audacious curling effort served notice of their potential in the final third, but it was Bohs who came closest to breaking the deadlock.
In the closing minute of the opening half, a long-range Devaney strike rebounded off Cork’s left-hand post – before drifting away to safety.
This was a sizeable let-off for the visitors so close to the break and McNulty was pressed back into action when the play resumed. The City custodian – who featured prominently for a Manchester United XI in the Liam Miller Tribute match at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Tuesday – was out quickly to prevent Devaney from bagging a much-desired breakthrough for the hosts.
Bohs forced a number of fouls inside the City half to keep themselves on the front-foot – their confidence levels visibly growing in front of the vociferous home faithful.
After living off scraps for the majority of his time on the pitch, City’s Ronan Coughlan made way for Graham Cummins up front.
He was later joined off the bench by full-back Conor McCarthy, who took the place of former Bohs man Steven Beattie. Yet, his introduction couldn’t rein in the challenge of Bohs – who issued a sucker punch to City on 67 minutes.
A neat offensive move found its way out towards Devaney on the left-flank, his telling cross deflecting into the path of Corcoran for a simple close-in finish. With their quest for a fourth final appearance in succession hanging by a thread, City needed to increase their attacking intent during the closing stages of the contest.
Cummins produced an excellent low save from Supple to raise hopes of an equaliser and the travelling City supporters were ultimately granted their wish. When Bohs full-back Darragh Leahy flew into a tackle on McCarthy with a high boot, referee Rob Rogers awarded a spot-kick to City.
Following a lengthy delay, Sadlier emphatically dispatched to the net from 12 yards. There were opportunities at either end in a frantic finale, but they ultimately couldn’t be separated at the end of a compelling penultimate round fixture.
BOHEMIANS: Shane Supple; Derek Pender, Dan Casey, Ian Morris, Darragh Leahy; Keith Buckley, JJ Lunney; Daniel Kelly (Danny Grant 92), Keith Ward (Dan Byrne 76), Kevin Devaney; Dinny Corcoran.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie (Conor McCarthy 65), Alan Bennett, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey (Barry McNamee 74), Jimmy Keohane; Kieran Sadlier, Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard; Ronan Coughlan (Graham Cummins 56).
Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).