Bohemians' Georgie Kelly celebrates scoring. Bryan Keane/INPHO

Late Kelly goal sends Bohs to the Aviva

Keith Long’s side earned a narrow victory over Waterford.

Updated at 23.11

Bohemian FC: 1

Waterford FC: 0

Darryl Geraghty reports from Dalymount Park

BOHEMIANS ARE through to the FAI Cup final following a dramatic late Georgie Kelly winner against a resilient Waterford FC.

Having missed an early penalty and seeing the visitors reduced to nine men in the second half — Kyle Ferguson and Niall O’Keefe both seeing red — it seemed as if it would be another one of those nights for The Gypsies, who have had suffered in recent years at this stage of the competition.

Since coming in at the RSC, Marc Bircham has done quite the job in turning the Blues’ fortunes around. They are one of the form teams in the league at the moment, with just one defeat in the last eight. 

It was the visitors who had the first clear-cut chance of the game. A beautifully worked free-kick eventually found its way to Anthony Woodsworth who, with the goal at his mercy, volleyed over from just inside the area.

Having had a physically draining week, that included two 1-1 draws with Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, Keith Long’s men responded well as Andy Lyons looked to replicate his strike that sent Bohs through against Shamrock Rovers, this time slicing well wide. Georgie Kelly then went close with a header as the Gypsies looked to build up a head of steam.

The game’s first big moment of controversy came midway through the first half when Andy Lyons was slipped in on the right-hand side by Ali Coote. There seemed to be a tangle of legs between the Bohs right back and Jack Stafford as Lyons burst into the area, but referee Rob Harvey waved away the claims much to the anger of the home side.

Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts were awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge by Brian Murphy on Georgie Kelly. Ross Tierney’s clever flick over the top found Kelly who was bundled into by the Blues stopper just as he pulled the trigger. But the ex-Bohs man redeemed himself, saving well with his feet from the league’s top scorer, who tried to go down the middle of the goal.

The second half started at the same electrifying pace, both teams not giving each other an inch but seemed to take away from the quality both sides possessed as things were rushed around the pitch.

The visitors were dealt a massive blow eight minutes into the restart when Kyle Ferguson received his second yellow for a clear trip on the lightning-quick Liam Burt just as he looked to burst into the area.

Marc Bircham responded to the setback by introducing, amongst others, ex-Sunderland defender Greg Halford in a bid to shore up the defence. They could have found themselves ahead when Keith Buckley had his pocket picked in the midfield, but having been slipped through on goal, Phoenix Patterson blasted his left-footed strike well over.

Just as some slight groans of frustration began to be heard at Dalymount, Anto Breslin whipped in a delicious low cross that just evaded the outstretched legs of both Ross Tierney and Georgie Kelly.

Having been camped in the Waterford half for most of the stop-start second period, it seemed as if the hosts would never find that elusive opener. Kelly’s guided a header just a yard past the post, the latest half chance in an ever-growing period of pressure.

With just three minutes remaining in normal time, talisman Georgie Kelly made amends for his penalty miss, breaking Blues hearts with an outstretched toe, sliding the ball past Murphy from Promise Omochere’s low cross.

Just before the final whistle, the frustration got the better of Waterford skipper Niall O’Keefe who saw red to compound a frustrating night for his side after they had battled tremendously only to be undone at the death.

In a weird twist of fate and scheduling, both semi-final fixtures will be replayed in the league this coming Monday with a lot on the line for all involved again as the business end of the season motors on.

Bohemian FC: James Talbot, Andy Lyons, Ciaran Kelly, Rob Cornwall (Rory Feely, 90’), Anto Breslin, Ali Coote (Keith Ward, 90’), Liam Burt, Georgie Kelly, Keith Buckley (c) (Conor Levingston, 82’) Ross Tierney (Promise Omochere, 70’),Dawson Devoy.

Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Roland Idowu, James Finnerty, Tyreke Wilson, Jamie Mullins

Waterford FC: Brian Murphy, Darragh Power, Kyle Ferguson, Shane Griffin (Greg Halford 55’), Anthony Woodsworth, Junior Quitirna (Prince Mutswunguma, 70’(Cameron Evans,82’), John Martin, Niall O’Keefe (c) , Jack
Stafford, Phoenix Patterson, Eddie Nolan

Subs not used: Paul Martin, George Forrest, Jeremie Milambo, Ronaldo Green, Jamal Dupree

Referee: Rob Harvey

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