Portadown need a second leg victory over Bohemians if they are to repeat last season’s Setanta Sports Cup win over the Dubliners.
The new look Bohs, with no less than seven debutants in their line-up, claimed a 2-1 victory at Dalymount Park last night.
New arrivals Dinny Corcoran and Karl Moore settled the contest with two glorious strikes from distance. It should be admitted, however, that was initially Bohs’ only real route to goal.
Kevin Braniff’s late header gave Portadown a lifeline for the second leg next Monday.
In a performance that was occasionally — and inevitably — disjointed due to the large number of players making their debuts, Aaron Callaghan’s side struggled to get the grips with the Ports early on.
After Keith Ward had already gone close, Corcoran produced the game’s stand-out moment just before half-time with a sumptuous lob.
To be fair to Moore his effort ran it close. Just before the hour he rifled a 25-yard shot into the top corner to make it 2-0.
By that point, Bohs looked to be gelling as all of Moore, Ward, Peter McMahon, Danny Joyce and Corcoran — who was also celebrating his 23rd birthday — combined well in some sweeping moves.
Betraying the fact that this is such a new team, though, Bohs soon let Portadown back into the game in the most elementary way imaginable.
A corner was sent over, no-one picked up Braniff and the Portadown stand-in captain easily headed home.
By then, however, a still-energetic Bohs were already a sufficient distance in front.
Bohemians: Sexton; Heary, McMillan, Feely, Byrne; Joyce (Wilson 71), Lopes, Ward (Traynor 78), Moore (Davidson 71); McMahon, Corcoran
Portadown: Miskelly; Burns, Breen, Clarke, Redman; Gartland, Mackle, McCafferty, Tomelty; Tipton (McCloskey 58), Braniff.
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).