Bohemians 3; Waterford Crystal 2
Bohemians won the Fitzgerald Youth Cup in Ozier Park on Sunday morning in dramatic fashion. Waterford Crystal were leading two-nil with 68 minutes on the clock and it looked odds-on that they were going to make up for the disappointment of losing out to Cork City in the Munster Youth final three weeks previously at the same venue.
However, this current Bohemians side are made of stern stuff and they fought back to win the trophy with three goals within the space of twelve minutes and in doing so they created a wonderful record of going through the entire domestic season unbeaten.
Such a record speaks volumes about the class within this squad and one has to give them enormous credit for battling the way they did. They went into Sunday’s final with two league victories over Crystal to their name but for a long time it looked as if it would be a case of third time lucky for Crystal. But again Bohemians refused to bend the knee and as a result they were the ones who celebrated yet another great season locally.
The game produced all that is good with underage football in Waterford right now and there is no doubt that many of the players on view from the two clubs will go on to enjoy successful careers in the game.
The match opened up briskly and Waterford Crystal almost took the lead in the 2nd minute. The Bohemians goalkeeper Josh Byrne was left hanging out to dry by his defenders who went missing when Andrew Power played the ball through to Gavin Roche and the netminder had to be at his very best to turn away Roche’s shot at the expense of a corner kick.
Six minutes later the Bohemians captain Gary Keane sprayed the ball out left to David Kennedy who ran into the penalty area but he chipped over the crossbar. The match was being played at a very past pace and the ball was moved around the park very quickly indeed. Three Crystal players, Gavin Roche, Andrew Power and Shane Rochford combined superbly after 11 minutes but Rochford’s shot was deflected away by defender Leo Jacques.
Shane Rochford was back in the action once again after 23 minutes, this time passing to Andrew Power who made Josh Byrne work with a hard shot on the run. The same two players combined one minute later and this time Rochford was just off-target from just inside the penalty area.
Clive Prendergast had a chance for Bohs on 26 minutes when he met a cross from Paddy Kennedy but he headed wide from a decent position. Waterford Crystal went in front in fine style on 27 minutes. Jason Foran passed to Andrew Power who picked out Shane Rochford with a low cross and this time Rochford crashed the ball past Josh Byrne from just inside the penalty area. David Kennedy had a chance 2 minutes later for Bohs when he took possession of the ball following a mistake by defender Kevin Gahan but he shot wide.
On the blow of half-time Andrew Power took a pass from Shane Rochford but he lost his composure in front of goal and shot wide.
Five minutes into the second half Dean Crowley produced a wonderful save from Josh Byrne when he met a cross from the left from Shane Rochford. The action was coming thick and fast at this stage with a Crystal effort cleared off the line by Paddy Kennedy.
Crystal went 2 goals in front on the hour mark. Gavin Roche took a corner kick from the left and the ball ran fast along the ground and almost beyond belief entered the net despite the efforts of two defenders and the goalkeeper. It emerged afterwards that Brian Nolan did get a touch to the ball, so officially it was recorded as a very unfortunate OG.
Eight minutes later Bohemians got back into the game. Clive Prendergast split the Crystal defence with an excellent pass and when David Kennedy ran onto the ball he drew the Crystal goalkeeper Ian Daly and coolly placed the ball into the net from 16 yards.
Bohs equalised in brilliant fashion on 74 minutes. Kenny Purcell got the ball out on the right, turned two defenders before getting around another tackle and when he pulled the ball back from the endline substitute Ryan Foley hammered a shot past Ian Daly from just inside the area.
The winning goal arrived on 80 minutes. David Kennedy was just about to shoot from long distance when he was tackled by Shane Rochford; the ball broke into the path of Gary Keane and the Bohemians skipper let fly from 25 yards. Ian Daly did not even see the shot as it flew into the roof of the net.
Deep into injury-time Kenny Purcell shot from the left only to see the ball hit both uprights as the Crystal challenge had well and truly died away. Three goals in twelve minutes was just to much for them to take.
Bohemians: Josh Byrne, Paddy Kennedy, Thomas Moore, Leo Jacques, Aaron Heaslop, Brian Nolan, Aaron Butler, Gary Keane, Kenny Purcell, Clive Prendergast, David Kennedy. Subs: Ryan Foley for Butler (62 mins), Gary O’Shea for Nolan (72 mins).
Waterford Crystal. Ian Daly, Kevin Gahan, Craig Gailbert, Davin Phelan, Mitchel Casey, Liam Coady, Dean Crowley, Gavin Roche, Andrew Power, Shane Rochford, Jason Foran. Sub: Adam Forsey for Crowley (83 mins).
Referee: Noel Purcell.
Eddie Barrett received a medal. The Bohemians player suffered a bad knee injury playing for the Waterford League against Wexford the previous Sunday and as a result the midfielder will be out of action for up to four months. He received a very warm round of applause as he was called forward to receive his medal.