Last weekend we saw the FA Cup Final between Crystal Palace and Manchester United. It was also the 2nd Round of the FAI Cup in Ireland. At this stage of the competition the Airtricity League clubs get involved. It is the blue riband competition of Irish football and all roads will lead to the Aviva Stadium for the final later in the year. The final is a great day out for all Irish soccer fans and even the neutral will turn up. This years 2nd Round saw only one all premier league clash between Bohemians and Galway. The atmosphere around all the grounds is so different to your normal league weekend. You get a great sense of anticipation in and around the grounds, as fans of each club involved start dreaming about a good cup run. One club who who would love the luxury of a cup run are Bohemians, as so far their season has been a bit of a disaster. So with that in mind my destination on Friday night was to head to Dalymount Park to see how they got on.
When I arrived at the ground you could feel that famous FAI Cup atmosphere I mentioned earlier. But this time it was slightly different for Bohemians, as they could put their league form to one side for at least weekend. They have had a bit of a nightmare of a start to this season and not only are they not winning games but they are also failing to score goals. It has been tough going for Bohemians manager Keith Long as he has tried to shape his team for a good season. The style in which his team play is to be commended, but so far this campaign it has not worked. Keith even had to sit in his dugout a few weeks back and watch as bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers came to Dalymount and destroyed his team four nil. So as referee Neil Doyle blew his whistle to start the game you could feel a little bit of tension in the air. Galway are no slouches and manager Tommy Dunne has them well drilled. In fact in the league they are a full ten points ahead of Bohemians and that certainly would not have been predicted before the start of the season. Any nerves that might have been in the Bohemians players legs went after ten minutes when Paddy Kavanagh scored a screamer to give the home side the lead. The goal was welcomed by the fans as if it was the one that had won the FAI Cup outright. It brought to an end the eleven and a half hour goal drought that all the Bohemians had been hoping for. A second half penalty by
doubled their lead and pretty much sowed up the game. It you looked at the Galway threat, there was only really one good chance by Vinny Faherty which stood out. We often hear managers going on about victories kick starting a season, well in this case Keith Long will feel there is plenty to build on and most importantly they are through to the next round of the FAI Cup. The victory will calm things down and get the fans back onside as some were starting to wonder if Long is the right man to take this famous club forward.
Elsewhere in the 2nd Round there were wins for Dundalk, Limerick, Wexford, Rigmahon Rangers, Cobh Ramblers, Saint Patrick,s Athletic, Sligo Rovers, UCD, Janesboro, Longford Town, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers. Meanwhile Athlone Town and Letterkenny and Derry City and Drogheda must meet again during the week in the only two ties that ended level after ninety minutes. The big shock of the weekend was junior club Crumlin knocking out Premier League club Finn Harps. It was made all the sweeter by the fact that Crumlin were the away side and the trip to Ballybofey can sometimes be a long journey. Crumlin secured a victory with a goal from Greg Moorehouse after 49 minutes and in fairness they deserved their victory. Finn Harps were reduced to ten men after 64 minutes when Barrry Molloy was shown two yellow cards within three minutes. When Molloy got his marching orders, the hopes of Finn Harps disappeared down the tunnel with him. Over the whole weekend the fans were treated to some great action and those of the sides who won can now look forward to the next round. Depending on how the future draws go, one can only wonder who will be the two teams that line out later in the year at the Aviva Stadium for the final.
By David Meier