But of more immediate interest to the class of 2008 was that Bohs’ search for modern silverware, their first since the league title of 2003, took a step in the right direction with a comfortable victory against a 10-man Finn Harps.
Mark Rossiter, a key figure for the home side in the first half, looked on course to score one of the quickest goals of the season when, almost direct from the kick-off, his run took him deep into the Harps box where only an expertly-timed, last-ditch tackle by Stuart Malcolm prevented the Bohs man from getting his shot away.
On 23 minutes, Rossiter was central to the half’s first big talking point when he was the recipient of a late lunge by Kevin Ramsay which left him prostrate on the turf. With Ramsay already on a yellow for a more innocuous challenge on John Paul Kelly, referee Alan Kelly was now left with no alternative but to show a second yellow. Not that visiting manager Paul Hegarty agreed; such was the vehemence of his protest that he too was sent off.
Back on the field of play, Harps’ player deficit was quickly matched on the scoreboard. Bohs may have two of the domestic game’s most celebrated strikers in Glen Crowe and Jason Byrne but it was captain Owen Heary who showed them the way, availing of space and time in the Harps penalty area, to fire a shot in off the post.
Five minutes from the break, it was the recognised strike force who combined to almost double the lead but after an expert headed flick-on from Crowe, Byrne saw his powerful half-volley scream just over the top. With the home side now wholly dominant, the ever-threatening John Paul Kelly was next to go close but his powerful shot from the edge of the ball also flew over the bar, as Harps desperately sought to get to the sanctuary of the dressing room with first half damage kept to a minimum.
Five minutes after the restart, Jason Byrne came close again for Bohs, this time dinking his effort on to the top of the crossbar. But Byrne finally got to open his season’s account when, just past the hour mark, he converted emphatically from the penalty spot after being pulled back by Marc Mukendi. And Byrne’s strike partner wasn’t far behind, Glen Crowe sliding in at the far post and getting on the end of a fine cross from substitute Harpal Singh to make it 3-0 in the 71st minute.
In truth, it could have been much more for a rampant Bohemians on what was an entirely forgettable visit to Dublin for the team and supporters from Donegal.
BOHEMIANS: Murphy, Heary, Oman, Burns, Powell, Kelly, Turner (Singh 64), Byrne (Mansarem 80), O’ Donnell, Rossiter, Crowe (McGinlay 88).
FINN HARPS: Gallagher, Labonte, Malcolm, Mukendi, Minnock, Gill (Breen 71), Williams (Funston 76), McGowan, Holmes, Ramsay, Gethins.
Referee: Alan Kelly.