Georgie Kelly late drama books Bohs final date at the Aviva

Striker nets 24th goal of campaign in front of biggest Dalymount crowd since March 2020

Georgie Kelly celebrates sccoring a late winner for Bohs. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Georgie Kelly celebrates sccoring a late winner for Bohs. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Bohemians 1 Waterford 0

Anyone for the first ever Bohemians versus St Patrick’s Athletic FAI Cup final? On November 28th this particular Dublin derby will be served on an Aviva stadium plate. The winner gets some long overdue silverware and a spin on the European merry-go-round. 51,700 are welcome to attend.

Bohs took an awfully long time to see this home. Of course, it was Georgie Kelly, who recovered from a penalty miss and a glorious free header, to bag his 24th goal of the campaign.

To celebrate this pure striker’s goal, expertly assisted by Promise Omochere, Kelly dived into a packed Jodi stand, grabbing a fan’s can and taking a swig.

He was duly booked.

For one season only, Bohemians have gathered a special gang. Four current Ireland under-21s, two wee Scottish magicians, a Donegal giant who cannot stop scoring and Conor McGregor’s cousin. Keith Buckley isn’t going anywhere but manager Keith Long will do well to keep hold of the young talent.

None of that matters for the next few weeks. Bohemians are heading back down Lansdowne road for the fourth time this season. And they are bringing the full choir with them.

In the summer, for those sizzling Europa Conference League qualifiers, the numbers were restricted and RTÉ looked the other way.

The national broadcaster didn’t miss Friday night’s pitch invasion at full-time. Although the flares may have clouded some moments of unrestricted joy.

Referee Rob Harvey played his part, making a poor error as earlier as the third minute when failing to call a Bohs penalty after Phoenix Patterson accidentally caught Andy Lyons just inside the Waterford box.

Waterford brought a real edge to their play, especially whenever Dawson Devoy or Ross Tierney tried to pick them apart. They have the five yellow cards and two reds, for Niall O’Keeffe and Kyle Ferguson, to prove it.

Marc Bircham has created a team in his own image. The former QPR midfielder has been transferring some unusual but effective training ground ideas to the pitch, with a short free kick distracting the Bohs defence long enough for Kyle Ferguson to head an early chance into the path of Anthony Wordsworth who unleashed a volley high and wide.

That was their only real chance until Junior Quitirna miscued on 56 minutes.

Quitirna and Patterson have been two astute signings by Bircham but the real pair to light up Irish football this season has been Bohs Scotsmen Liam Burt and Ali Coote. If reports are true about Tierney going the other way in January - Motherwell are circling - this cup run could be the last we ever see of this outfit.

Not that Bohs league form would suggest any great shakes but that’s probably down to a light squad being drained by an unforgettable European summer that ran aground in Greece.

Their strongest starting XI has a slick, attack-minded balance to it, deserving of the club’s first cup final appearance since 2008.

Tierney was drawing studs at every turn with Harvey eventually flashing O’Keeffe a yellow card. The hacking could not stymie the 20 year old’s creative streak as he lobbed a ball for Kelly to swing an awkward shot over the crossbar a split second before Waterford goalkeeper Brian Murphy clattered into him.

A very giddy crowd - the first full house since beating Shelbourne 2-0 in March 2020 - had to take a collective breath when Kelly’s drive down the middle was saved by Murphy’s trailing leg.

He would atone.

Bohemians: Talbot; Lyons, Cornwall, C Kelly, Breslin; Buckley (Levingston 80), Devoy; Coote, Tierney (Omochere 68), Burt; G Kelly.

Waterford: Murphy; Nolan, Power, Ferguson, Stafford; Wordsworth, O’Keeffe, Griffin (Halford 55); Martin, Quitirna (Mutswunguma 68, (Evans 80)), Patterson.

Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin)

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