Trevor Croly regretted his team’s missed opportunities as Bohemians were beaten on penalties in the FAI Cup final von St. Patricks Athletic.
After a 90-minute stalemate, overtime play came to life when St. Pat’s took the lead through Chris Forrester before the Bohemians hit back with a wonderful header from Rory Feely in the second period.
And in truth, it was the Gypsies who were more likely to win the game before the dreaded penalty shoot-out, but they were initially thwarted by a sensational save from Vitezslav Jaros after a close-range header from Ross Tierney before Jak Hickman cleared another effort from the Line after death.
The Dublin 7 team was then forced to decide the game on penalties and while briefly in the driver’s seat when Forrester’s penalty was saved by James Talbot, Tyreke Wilson and Keith Ward both missed when the Saints took the trophy.
“It’s hard to take,” said Croly, who was in charge of the Bohs team in the absence of coach Keith Long, who was serving a suspension and watching from the stands.
“I think we had better chances. Sometimes it’s the emotions of the game and when you look at that and analyze it it may be a little different but it felt like we had the bigger chances in the game but we didn’t take them.
“And then there is a penalty shoot-out and unfortunately you lose.”
Croly had to adjust his team in the last 30 minutes of regulation as star striker Georgie Kelly, the league’s top scorer, was eliminated.
And while Kelly’s absence left Bohs without their talisman for the remainder of the game, she also denied them one of their five penalty takers for the decisive penalty shoot-out.
“We felt [starting George] was the best way, ”said Croly. “He almost scored a goal before he was eliminated, but he was gone, he was out of energy, he was empty at this point. These are the choices you make.
“Georgie is our regular penalty taker and we knew it was very unlikely that he would be on the field at that point.”
As for the positives Croly can take away from the disappointing defeat, the assistant manager said he believes the defeat in the cup final will keep players motivated and that should bode well for the future of the Dalymount Park club.
“From my playing time I can only remember the difficult days, the disappointing days,” said Croly. “It is they who inspire you, so we can use it.
“Right now it doesn’t feel like it might be a good thing, we are devastated, but you just have to take it and use it as a motivational tool to move forward.”
Croly and Long will now have to try to put together a strong squad to start again in 2022 and the club will also have to plan without the carrot of European football they missed out on because of finishing fifth in 2021 as well as the cup defeat.
“That is the challenge for every team. We try that, ”said Croly. “You lose players and you get players. It’s going to be a fun season, isn’t it? We will give our best. There are people without a contract and we will try to keep them. “
“I’ve been trying to figure it out for a few months. We’ve been trying to get things done since … well, with some guys we’ve talked to since February.
“Of course we’ll try to keep the ones we want and some players will have to move on. This is business. “