Bohs bring home the cup
Creane & Creane Insurance Wexford Cup Final: Wexford Bohs 1 Rosslare Rangers 1 (AET, Bohs won 3-1 on pens)
Colm O'Dowda was the toast of Wexford Bohemians as he pulled off three superb penalty saves in the shoot-out to earn his side victory in an absorbing Creane and Creane Insurance Wexford Cup final in Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
When the otherwise foot perfect Todd Hynes blazed the opening spot-kick over the bar, he must have felt the weight of the world on his young shoulders, but he needn't have worried as his netminder then took centre stage, pulling off a hat-trick of outstanding stops.
On the flip side, it was shoot-out heartache for the second year running for Rosslare Rangers after last year's reverse to St. Leonards in the Neil O'Sullivan Cup final, but the penalty-takers couldn't be faulted as they simply came up against a man mountain in O'Dowda.
The defeat was particularly cruel on the superb Shane Pettit, who hardly put a pass astray during the 110 minutes and, but for O'Dowda's cup-winning heroics in the shoot-out, would have got the nod for man of the matc.
Seán Pailing looked to have won it for the Drinagh side when he netted a spectacular opener in the 87th minute, but Rangers showed a never-say-die attitude and got a deserved equaliser when substitute Tiarnan Rossiter steered home a brilliant goal as the game ticked into injury time.
It was Bohs who began the game brighter and in the seventh minute Todd Hynes found Jack Murphy, whose teasing cross just needed a touch. Craig Kelly scuffed a half-chance wide moments later, while Rangers had their first sight of goal in the 13th minute when Shane Pettit fired a free-kick wide of the left upright.
Jack Murphy caused all sorts of problems for the Rangers defence in the opening half and another sweet cross had to be dealt with in the 14th minute, while Dermot Flood then saw his shot blocked..
Murphy headed a Martin O'Connor corner off target in the 33rd minute, and seconds later he teed up Pailing, but the attacker couldn't get a firm shot away.
The winger was again the provider in the 38th minute, playing a radar-like pass to Flood, but Steven Cogley did well to get an outstretched leg to his shot.
Rangers rarely threatened in the first-half, although Aaron Goff saw a shot gathered by O'Dowda and Shane Pettit fired an ambitious effort off target, but the balance of power shifted after the interval, with the Rosslare outfit very much on the front foot.
Lee Devereux was first to warm the gloves of O'Dowda after the break, while an Aaron Goff inswinging corner caused a few hearts to skip a beat in the Bohs defence in the 57th minute.
Rangers began to turn the screw, with Pettit pulling the strings, and they threatened to make the breakthrough in the 75th minute when Tiarnan Rossiter pounced on a moment of hesitancy in the Bohs defence to feed Devereux, but his shot was blocked.
Emmet Byrne headed a Pettit corner wide two minutes later, while Rossiter then turned well and struck a speculative effort wide from distance.
Rossiter spurned a great opportunity to fire Rangers in front with 81 minutes on the clock, when Pettit sprayed a sweet pass to Aaron Kehoe on the right and he crossed to his fellow substitute, but he miscued the chance.
Having soaked up plenty of pressure, Bohs struck the front in the 87th minute when Hynes played a searching pass to Pailing and when the ball sat up nicely for him he didn't need a second invitation, hitting a fantastic strike from outside the area that rattled the net. Rangers weren't buried yet though, and after Cian Meyler had shot straight at O'Dowda shortly after falling behind, they grabbed the equaliser as the clock hit the 90-minute mark. Gearóid Byrne played an inviting pass into the path of Rossiter, and without breaking stride he curled a brilliant first-time, left-footed finish inside the far post.
The best chance of a winner in extra-time again fell to Rossiter after he had been played in by Niall Walsh, but Todd Hynes did brilliantly to get a foot in to deny the attacker as he was about to pull the trigger.
Hynes had his head in his hands moments later when he missed the opening spot-kick of the shoot-out, but Colm O'Dowda, who was also the hero against North End, stepped up to the mark again, superbly saving from Rossiter, Ben Morris and Emmet Byrne.
Cian Meyler was the only one who managed to beat the inspired O'Dowda from twelve yards, while Jack Murphy, Dermot Flood and Graham Healy all did the needful for Bohs.
Wexford Bohs: Colm O'Dowda, Dion Murphy, David Lyttleton (capt.), Aaron Goodison, Todd Hynes, Craig Kelly, Paddy Harnett, Martin O'Connor, Dermot Flood, Jack Murphy, Seán Pailing. Subs. - Andy Moore for Harnett (55), Jamie Thomas for Murphy (60), Jason Swords for Kelly (72), Aaron Lambert for Thomas, inj. (82), Graham Healy for Pailing, inj. (94), also Sam O'Neill, Wayne Carty.
Rosslare Rangers: Steven Cogley, Seán Stewart, Niall Walsh, Emmet Byrne, Barry Quirke, Gearóid Byrne (capt.), Shane Pettit, Rob Cousins, Aaron Goff, Mark Furlong, Lee Devereux. Subs. - Conor O'Reilly for Quirke (HT), Cian Meyler for Cousins (60), Tiarnan Rossiter for Furlong (60), Aaron Kehoe for Goff (81), Ben Morris for Stewart (108).
Referee: Derek Campion.