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With eyes on 25, Shamrock Rove...
Soccer

With eyes on 25, Shamrock Rovers confirm FAI Cup final place

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

22:07 27 Sep 2019

Shamrock Rovers, seeking a record 25th FAI Cup, have confirmed their place in a first final since 2010.

Goals from Graham Burke and Aaron Greene ensured victory over their arch-rivals Bohemians as the club look to finally end their drought of 32 years without winning the Cup, and also win the first trophy of the Stephen Bradley era.

The red and green mist of the flares had barely passed before Shamrock Rovers had the ball in the back of the net for the first time.

It was international duo, Jack Byrne and Graham Burke, – the two golden boys of recent Shamrock Rovers history – combining from a training ground corner routine which put the visitors in front after four minutes. The corner, replays later showed, should never have been awarded – the ball hitting Aaron Greene last before going out.

Both sides were given a few minutes to gather their breath while the Shamrock Rovers fans threw flares and fireworks onto the pitch.

As the fireworks were cleared and the game kicked-off again, the hectic nature of the first-half never really quelled. On occasion, Bohemians threatened to ease into the game and hold possession but Rovers, again and again, found themselves back in possession before giving it back to their hosts.

In line with their liberal brand image, Bohemians sought to attack the right-wing. Danny Mandroiu drifted out wide to lend support and attempt to distort the Rovers defence, but the Gypsies attacks were rewarded with nothing greater than a corner kick.

The second half began in slightly calmer fashion than the first. Bohemians had a chance 10 minutes into the half when Roberto Lopes gave away a free-kick on the edge of his own box.

But Mandroiu, so often the most dangerous figure for Bohemians this season, hit the resulting free-kick straight into the Rovers wall.

The next big chance fell to Graham Burke who was denied a certain second goal on 70 minutes. Paddy Kirk heroically managed to divert the ball from his own goal line over the bar to keep Rovers' lead to one.

However, five minutes later the game truly slipped away from the Gypsies as Mandroiu was given a straight red card for an over-the-ball challenge on Seán Kavanagh. Rovers thought they had scored from the resulting play but for an offside. Within minutes they had actually scored when Greene converted Ronan Finn's low cross into the box.

From then, Rovers played the clock, their substitutes and the extra man to kill the remaining minutes and any hope Bohemians had of sneaking back into the game.

Shamrock Rovers will play the winner of the second semi-final which takes place on Sunday between Dundalk and Sligo Rovers

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Bohemian Football Club Dublin Derby FAI Cup League Of Ireland Shamrock Rovers

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