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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

Super Shels cruise past dire Bohs to reach FAI Cup semi-final

DAMIEN DUFF briefly basked in Shelbourne’s ‘biggest win of the season’ before bringing his players down to earth with a sobering warning.

“Achieving something this season is staying in the league and we haven't officially done that yet,” he said. “You're probably sick of me saying it, but anything else is a bonus.”

But with the click of a finger, Shels are one step away from November's big day out at Aviva Stadium and the potential for silverware and European football that goes with it.

READ MORE: Nathan Collins sent off for awful challenge on Jack Grealish

Bohemians were clinging onto the same dream, but they were just dreadful here and the sight of their fans streaming out of the ground with 18 minutes to go said it all.

“Your season’s over, it’s time to go home,” was the giddy chant fired up from the Reds in the boisterous Riverside Stand and even the Gypsies faithful couldn’t argue.

Jack Moylan and Sean Boyd scored in a ferocious first-half show of strength, hunger and desire from Duff’s men.

And Boyd then added his second to spark that mass exodus from the heaving away end as Shels finally got the better of their city rivals at the fifth time of asking this season.

Duff said: “Absolutely amazing performance from the guys and the way I describe it is they played the perfect game.

“I don't think anyone can argue that, from minute one to the last kick of the game, they were absolutely outstanding and it could have been more.

“Listen, it's probably our biggest win. We had some nice ones like Pat's away, Derry up there, but that’s the first proper one at Tolka.

“Bohs, the fans, a cup quarter-final - you can feel the tension in the air, even the last few days around the training ground.

“But that’s why you get up in the morning and get involved in this lark.”

Shels showed early intent with Boyd twice going close inside 13 minutes but the hosts got the breakthrough that their determined approach deserved seven minutes later.

Moylan had plenty of work to do when JR Wilson played him in down the right, but he took off at speed and nailed a one-two with Matty Smith to perfection just outside the box before rifling an unstoppable drive past Jon McCracken.

But Moylan’s day was finished 12 minutes later after shipping an injury that saw Brian McManus replace him, with the sub almost doubling the lead within moments of his introduction only for McCracken to make a flying, fingertip save.

Shels were relentless at this point. But Bohs were just awful. Nothing was going their way and even the basics deserted them. Liam Burt was their only bright spark of their dire opening half that went from bad to worse.

Seven minutes before the break, Boyd - at full stretch - deservedly doubled the lead when he timed his run to perfection to turn home a Shane Farrell cross at the back post while under pressure from covering defenders.

Tensions then boiled over before half-time after Farrell took a blow to the face in a challenge with James Clarke. It sparked a melee from both sides with Bohs trio Clarke, Conor Levingston and Ethon Varian all booked along with Shels’ Kameron Ledwidge and Duff.

With hopes of European football slipping through their grasp, Bohs interim boss Derek Pender rolled the dice with four changes at the break. Clarke, John O’Sullivan, Jordan Doherty and Declan McDaid were hooked for Ali Coote, Kris Twardek, Jordan Flores and Max Murphy.

Yet it made no real difference as the Gypsies continued to make hard work of things until Flores smashed a 71st minute drive on target only for goalkeeper Brendan Clarke to turn it onto the post with a brilliant reaction save at full strength.

But the Bohs fans behind that goal were streaming out of the ground en masse two minute later when Boyd bagged his second to breathe new life into Shelbourne’s season and extinguish Bohs’ in an instant.

He capitalised on a Ciaran Kelly and Rory Feely’s defensive blunder, raced into space and stabbed home with Duff purring: “It was a brilliant day and it's about time we gave the fans something to shout about rather than them dragging us along.”

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