Bohemians players celebrate after winning the Megazyme Amputee Football League Cup Finals at the Carlisle Grounds. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Amputee League Cup Final
Bohemians 1
Shamrock Rovers 1
Bohs win 3-2 on penalties

James Conroy was the hero for Bohemians as they secured the Megazyme Amputee Football League Cup trophy with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over rivals Shamrock Rovers.

The goalkeeper saved the decisive spot-kick after the teams couldn’t be separated in normal time at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray.

Donal Bligh equalised for the Gypsies after Stefan Balog’s unfortunate own goal had given Rovers an early lead.

There were no further goals and it went down to spot-kicks, where Balog, Neil Hoey and Bligh kept their nerve while Conroy saved the second Rovers penalty.

It was a victory made all the sweeter by the fact it denied Rovers the double, the Hoops having secured the league title two rounds earlier in Cork last month.

“We actually practiced penos during the week in training because it’s a cup game and you never know,” said Bohemians manager Ronan Croke.

“Neil Hoey was a bit nervous and took it before the ref blew the whistle and had to retake it, but he put it away.

“Donal had the opportunity in training to win it and the same happened in the game. It was a lovely penalty, bottom left corner.

“He didn’t realise it was the penalty to win it. But he could see the other lads’ reaction to it. It was a great way to ease the pressure on him.

“To win another cup, and to beat Rovers, it is a bit of revenge if you want to call it that.

“I felt for Rovers – it’s not a nice way to lose, but it is what it is and someone has to step up and be the hero, and James was our hero saving the peno.”

Cork City, the third team to compete in the national league, were unable to take part so the competition was a round robin between Bohs, Rovers and Scottish invitees Partick Thistle.

While Rovers’ consistency earned them a deserved league title, Bohs have twice gotten the better of them in cup finals, having beaten them at Fussballiade 2019 in Germany during the summer.

For the players on the team, representing Bohs means more than just wearing a jersey – they’re proud to be part of the club’s proud tradition.

Goalscorer Bligh is a diehard fan, while Balog played with the club’s underage teams before losing his leg in an accident, and playing in Dalymount Park in the black and red is a huge honour.

“They’re extremely proud to play for Bohs. It’s something I would draw on a lot in teamtalks. To wear the Bohs jersey is a great honour and they do feel privileged to wear it.

“We played a round of fixtures in Dalymount back in August, and that was brilliant, to play in Dalymount, to be in the dressing rooms.

“The lads know what Bohs means and it means a lot to them. They’re extremely proud to represent the club.”