Nolan lifts brilliant Bohs to U-19 glory

by Stephen Findlater
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BOHEMIANS lifted the SSE Airtricity Under-19 League title after a narrow 1-0 win over Dublin rivals St. Patrick’s Athletic in the final at Dalymount Park.
Steven Nolan scored the only goal just after the break as keeper Kian Clarke made a number of late saves to keep a crucial clean sheet.
The home side welcomed Republic of Ireland Under-19 international Warren O’Hora to the starting line-up for the final but it was the away side who had the best first half chances.
Just before the half-hour, Luke Heeney’s right-sided free-kick found Callum Keane in the area but he couldn’t direct his flick goal-wards from six yards out.
Two minutes before the break, Pat’s should have gone ahead when Michael Creggan turned his defender on the left to cut-back across the goal but he couldn’t find the on-rushing Heeney as the two teams went in level at the interval.
Six minutes after the break, Bohemians took the lead. Substitute Cian Fay beat his defender to get to the bye-line and his low cross was fired home by Steven Nolan from six yards out.
Nolan almost added a second with 25 minutes remaining when Pats failed to clear a left-sided corner and it dropped for the Bohs man but he saw his shot well-blocked by Ciaran Kelly before keeper Eric Donnelly claimed.
Pat’s piled on the pressure in the last 20 minutes and really should have levelled the tie through substitute Jason Grouse.
A long-ball cleared up-field saw Grouse get to the ball before keeper Clarke but Andrew Lyons was back on the line to block the striker’s effort.
Clarke was at the centre of the action once again in the 78th minute as Pat’s forward Creggan won the ball on the edge of the area, turned and his powerful effort forced a one-handed save out of the Bohs keeper.
The home side should have sealed the tie with three minutes remaining as Fay directed his header over from three yards before keeper Clarke ensured Bohemians would lift the SSE Airtricity Under-19 League title.
Substitute Clinton Apos, who had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds, climbed highest to direct his header towards the top corner but Clarke somehow clawed it away with just a minute remaining.
Bohemians Under-19 manager Graham Lawlor said of the victory: “It was a tough victory in the end, a real Bohemians-style win where we had to grind it out and work really hard towards the end.
“Pat’s are a really good side and had a few chances towards the end but we defended really well, and when we created the chance to score, we took it and ultimately, that wins us the title.
“I think it is a great reward for the entire club. The Under-17s were unlucky in their final and the first-team have had a great season so to claim that bit of silverware right at the end of the season caps off a really special year for the club. We’ve now got to look after this group of players and make sure they continue to develop.”

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