BEFORE this tie, Bohs manager Sean Connor took exception to the suggestion that his team have underperformed in the league compared to their cup exploits. Last night, however, there was more evidence of that very fact.
He shouldn't be too bothered this morning, though, as he reflects on another famous victory in a knockout competition that booked his side's place in the FAI Ford Cup semi-finals. To make it even sweeter, it was achieved after playing the entire second half with ten men.
They had to endure anxious moments at the end as the Saints piled on the pressure as their cup agony continued. But ultimately they paid the penalty for being sucker punched by a brace from Darren Manseram with the decisive strike coming midway through the second half when it appeared as though the hosts were about to turn the screw.
In the post mortem, though, the Saints must reflect on an abject enough first half display which gave the initiative to a team who trail them by six points in the league table.
The Gypsies looked far more prepared for the task than their hosts with strength in key areas. Despite the absence of captain Kevin Hunt, they had the equally inspirational presence of stand in skipper Owen Heary leading from the back.
Up front the movement of Glen Crowe and Manseram was causing problems for the patched up Saints back four with the injured Colm Foley and Darragh Maguire looking on dejectedly from the directors box. A visibly frustrated John McDonnell was not happy with how things were going from the outset, particularly the manner in which his front men were failing to hold onto possession.
Bohs were pressing with intent. And while Alan Kirby's snapshot for the Saints which dipped over the crossbar was the best shot on goal in the opening stages, the Inchicore natives could have little complaint when Manseram broke the deadlock on 27 minutes by collecting a Dessie Byrne pass, holding off Stephen Paisley and accurately beating Barry Ryan with a low left footed strike.
For all of that, the main strength of the Bohs performance had been the manner in which they were stopping St Pat's from playing. Joseph Ndo couldn't get on the ball in forward positions and was stuck deep while Keith Fahey appeared to end up on the ground after a heavy challenge anytime he got near possession.
For more, click here>.
© Irish Independent