Setanta Cup: Bohemians 1 Portadown 2
The folly of Setanta’s decision to not to broadcast the first round of their competition struck again last night.
This was no great classic at Dalymount Park, but Portadown striker Kevin Braniff deserved to have his wonderful opening goal recorded for posterity — as his side take a one goal lead back to Shamrock Park.
Holders Bohemians — who featured 10 debutants over the 90 minutes — weren't expecting much from the opening of the defence of their Setanta Sports Cup crown given the difficult winter they just endured and Pat Fenlon was dealt a further blow when he lost goalkeeper Barry Murphy to a back injury at the break.
The Gypsies' other senior stopper Chris O'Connor likely to be out for two months with a dislocated shoulder.
Braniff's strike was a high point in an otherwise quiet first-half. On the stroke of half-time he took Robert Bayly's loose header with his back to goal and on the turn he launched an unstoppable, dipping half volley into the net via the crossbar.
Nineteen-year-old Craig Sexton replaced Murphy, but he could do little to stop Portadown skipper Keith O'Hara doubling his side's lead with a low shot as he ran on to Braniff's pass on 59 minutes.
Bohs hit back five minutes later, debutant Kevin Feely's long ball put Anto Flood in behind the defence and he pulled the ball back to Karl Somers who marked his first start with a cool finish.
Flood might have equalised from Killian Brennan's free kick, but any potential comeback was scuppered by the winger who led with his elbow on Garry Breen and was given a straight red card.
Ports boss Ronnie McFall was also sent-off for an altercation with fourth official Neil Doyle, but while Bohs launched a spirited last stand they couldn't find a way through.
BOHEMIANS: Murphy, Heary, Price, O’Brien, Feely, Cahill, Brennan, Bayly, Somers, Flood, Dixon. Subs: Sexton, Lopez, Lodola, Joyce, Forrester, Burke, Traynor.
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Craig, Gartland, Breen, Redman, Mouncey, Cawley, O’Hara, Baker, Lecky, Braniff. Subs: Hogg, Haire, Mackle, McCabe, Ramsey, Teggart.
Referee: T Connolly (Dublin).