ROVERS DESTROYED BY RELENTLESS RED & BLACK WAVE

BOHEMIANS  3 – 1  SHAMROCK ROVERS

A truly amazing 2015 season reached its unbelievable peak for Bohemians as they obliterated fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers with a second half performance that displayed everything great about this team and club. Passion, determination, hard work, and skill combined to overturn a half-time deficit, and condemn the Hoops to their first defeat of the season. With Dundalk’s unbeaten run ended by the Gypsies last week, Keith Long’s men are fast becoming the most feared team in the land.

6 points from three games in a week against full-time professional sides is nothing short of superb, and it was nothing more than Bohs deserved with three goals in the last 15 minutes following sustained second half pressure. In yet another fairytale story, Bohs supersub Dean Kelly left his sister’s wedding reception to play, and walked away with a brace of late goals that won the game in dramatic fashion, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Long was boosted by the return of experienced duo Anto Murphy and Dave Mulcahy, while Jake Hyland was given a rare start in midfield. Rovers began with only one fit striker on the books, and it was youngster Gareth McCaffrey who led the line for the visitors. It was the Hoops who began the game better. Their midfield trio of Stephen McPhail, Pat Cregg and Brandon Miele controlled the early stages.

Rovers looked dangerous down the right hand side, and Simon Madden was brought down by Lorcan Fitzgerald in the 9th minute. McPhail whipped in a pinpoint cross, and Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters ghosted in to head home unmarked from six yards. His freedom in the box was unexplained, much like the ‘Marty’ part of his name, and Rovers took an early lead.

Things didn’t get much better for Bohs in the first half hour. Izzy Akinade was isolated up front, and the Gypsies struggled to keep hold of possession in the midfield third. No such problem for Rovers, who threatened from a set piece again when a Gary McCabe corner was headed wide by David Webster. Bohs only real chance in the first half fell to the returning Anto Murphy, but he scuffed his effort from Lorcan Fitzgerald’s free kick.

It took Bohs about 30 minutes to really get into the game – and credit must go to Keith Buckley. The midfielder was relentless in his hassling and harrying of Rovers, and his winning of challenges audibly lifted the Jodi Stand. He combined with Jake Hyland to set up Bohs first shot, but Hyland dragged it tamely wide. It felt as if half time might be coming at the wrong time for Bohs – that it might halt the momentum. No chance!

What followed was a masterclass in how to turn around a Derby match. Bohs simply decided that they wanted to win this game more than Rovers, who predictably retreated into their shells. The hordes in the Des Kelly Stand grew quieter and quieter as Pat Fenlon’s men were overrun by a rampant, revitalised Bohemian side. Buckley was at the heart of it, and he set up the Gypsies’ first big chance. A beautifully weighted ball took out the Rovers back line, and found Akinade’s chest just inside the box. However, the ball ran just a touch too far ahead of him, and Craig Hyland got their in time.

Rovers’ only second half chance came after Derek Prendergast’s pass was cut out by McPhail, who lifted it over the top for McCaffrey. The youngster’s shot was brilliantly saved by Dean Delany, who stuck out a foot to keep Bohs in the game. Prendergast decided to make up for his mistake in the best way possible.

With 14 minutes to go, it was that man Lorcan Fitzgerald who produced yet another brilliant set piece. His pinpoint outswinging corner found Prendergast at the edge of the six yard box, and the defender rocketed a header in off the crossbar. It was a thumping, aggressive header – and brave too. He could have got an almighty whack, but nothing was stopping him from getting to that ball first. The Jodi Stand erupted, and there was only going to be one winner from there. You could sense it.

After attending his sister’s wedding ceremony this morning, you could forgive Dean Kelly for being distracted. But he was busy and pro-active from the moment he came onto the field. And when his chance came, he took it. Again, Fitzgerald was the instigator. This time, his inswinging free kick from right in front of the Bohs dugout did the trick. It fell right onto Kelly’s head at the back post. The finish wasn’t pretty, it came off his shoulder and looped into the net – but you try tell that to the masses in the Jodi Stand, who were close to combusting with joy.

There was even time for a cherry on the icing on the cake. Rovers, in a rare break from the norm, actually pushed men forward, and the gaps were ruthlessly exploited. Akinade was sent clear down the left flank, and beat the onrushing Craig Hyland to the ball. With the keeper out of the game, the Nigerian striker got himself on his feet, looked up, and delivered a beautiful floated cross to the unmarked Kelly, who tapped in to cap a truly memorable evening.

A fitting way to close the book on a terrific, expectation-busting first half of the season for Keith Long’s Bohemians. If the second half of the season is anywhere near as fantastic as tonight’s second half performance, we’re in for a treat.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Karl Moore, Keith Buckley (Kealan Dillon, 85), Roberto Lopes, Jake Hyland (Dean Kelly, 72), Adam Evans, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Caffrey, Robert Duggan, James O’Brien, Adam Wixted.

Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland, Simon Madden, Conor Kenna (Tim Clancy, 46), David Webster, Luke Byrne, Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, Pat Cregg, Gary McCabe, Stephen McPhail, Brandon Miele (Ryan Brennan, 81), Gareth McCaffrey (Gavin Brennan, 70). Subs not used: Barry Murphy, David O’Connor, Cian Kavanagh, Dylan Kavanagh.

Mr.Green Man of the Match: Keith Buckley

GYPSIES FOILED BY OLD FRIENDS

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC  3 – 1  BOHEMIANS

A clinical brace from Christy Fagan and a top-class free kick from Killian Brennan brought Bohemians back down to earth after their Dundalk triumph. The former Gypsies starred in a convincing win for the Saints, who could easily have added to their tally as Bohs pushed on to claw the game back. Keith Long’s men had earlier equalised thanks to a thumping header from Derek Prendergast, but Pats were too strong, and leapfrogged their visitors into 4th place via a superior goal difference.

Long was forced into two changes from the team that had toppled Dundalk the last time out. Kealan Dillon started in place of Dave Mulcahy, while Dylan Hayes came in for Stephen Best, with Roberto Lopes moving one in to centre back. Without a league victory over Pats in five years, the Bohs fans travelled in numbers, but with trepidation that was well-founded, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The opening minutes were scrappy, with neither side stringing many passes together. Izzy Akinade resumed up front for Bohs, and won a couple of early headers, but they fruitlessly landed at Pats’ defender’s feet. Referee Padraigh Sutton provoked the ire of the Bohs faithful when he booked Lorcan Fitzgerald for his first foul on Chris Forrester at the edge of the box. Killian Brennan’s free kick flashed just wide. Perennial pest and persistent fouler Greg Bolger escaped punishment, despite committing four fouls in the first 20 minutes.

Bohs had a penalty shout on 12 minutes, when a Dylan Hayes ball into the box reached Robbie Creevy. The midfielder went down under pressure from Sean Hoare, but it would have been a very soft call. Creevy was subsequently withdrawn with what looked like a groin injury, replaced by James O’Brien. Bohs’ injury list grows longer and longer – the mid season break might be coming at just the right time.

As is usual against St Pats, the old guard come back to haunt Bohs. Christy Fagan (no relation), is no stranger to goals against his old team, and delivered again in the 22nd minute. Forrester and Aaron Greene combined on the left before Greene dinked the ball in to Fagan with his back to goal. The resulting finish was superb, with the striker looping the ball back over his head into Dean Delany’s top corner.

Pats were ahead for just 10 minutes, and again it was Lorcan Fitzgerald who provided an assist. His whipped out-swinging corner was delivered perfectly onto the head of Derek Prendergast, who thumped a header from six yards. It may have gotten a touch on the way in, but that was fine by the Bohs fans in the Shed End who were ecstatic.

The Gypsies had a great chance to go into the break ahead. Akinade shrugged off both centre backs and put Adam Evans through, but the winger’s run drove him a bit wide, and the resulting shot was easily saved by Brendan Clarke.

Unfortunately for Bohs, that was about as good as it got, with Pats completely dominating the second half. Their lead goal was a cracker. Brennan’s corner was clipped to the edge of the box where Ian Bermingham let fly with a brilliant left-footed volley. The ball may well have been heading in, but Fagan made sure, flicking it into the top corner with his head from close range. The striker then continued his unnecessary habit of celebrating in front of the Bohs fans, who reacted with admirable restraint.

The final goal was the result of a contentions decision. Chris Forrester was allowed to prance through by Keith Buckley, and was brought down on the edge of the box with an incredibly minimal amount of contact. If Killian Brennan was practicing free kicks before the game, he’d place it in that exact spot. The ball was fizzed over the Bohs wall, and predictably nestled into the corner. Keith Long was brave in his substitutions, bringing Dean Kelly and Jason Byrne on for a defender and midfielder, but Bohs couldn’t find a way through. Indeed, Pats could easily have extended their lead with Aaron Greene, James Chambers, and Fagan all fluffling their lines in front of goal.

Bohs must now dust themselves down for a huge encounter with Shamrock Rovers on Friday. Get down early, they don’t come much bigger than this!

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien (Lee Desmond, 61), Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Greg Bolger, James Chambers, Killian Brennan, (Conor McCormack, 78), Chris Forrester, Aaron Greene, Christy Fagan (Jamie McGrath, 75). Subs not used: Conor O’Malley, Jason McGuinness, Morgan Langley, Ciaran Kilduff.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes (Dean Kelly 69), Roberto Lopes, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Karl Moore (Jason Byrne, 75), Keith Buckley, Robbie Creevy (James O’Brien, 29), Kealan Dillon, Adam Evans, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Caffrey, Jake Hyland, Adam Wixted.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes

BRILLIANT BOHS TOPPLE THE CHAMPIONS

DUNDALK  1 – 2  BOHEMIANS

Champions, runaway league leaders, and all-conquering Dundalk were brought very much back down to earth on Friday as Keith Long’s Bohemians rolled into town, and became the first team to leave with all three points in almost two years. The Gypsies were 10 to 1 outsiders at the start of the game, but outfought their hosts in blustery conditions in Oriel Park. An early own goal and a heroic header from Dave Mulcahy gave Bohs a deserved victory, and one of the sweetest successes the team has had in recent years, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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With injuries to 4 key squad members, there was an unfamiliar look to the Bohs starting lineup, with captain Roberto Lopes filling in at right back, and new signing Ismahil Akinade leading the line up front. The new man would go on to have an extremely positive debut. He was involved in the opening goal after just two minutes as the game exploded into life.

A loose pass from Paddy Barrett allowed Akinade to slide Adam Evans through, and the winger’s shot rebounded off the crossbar. Gary Rogers had launched into a despairing dive, and found that the ball cannoned off of his back and dribbled into the net. Many Bohs fans hadn’t even secured their entry into Oriel at that stage, but the few who were in position got to share the celebrations of a bizarre goal, and a stroke of luck that often evades teams at the home of the Champions.

Under the watchful eye of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill, Dundalk quickly recovered from the shell shock, and equalised on 10 minutes. Daryl Horgan’s outswinging corner found the head of Dane Massey, who planted it into Dean Delany’s far top corner. Bohs suffered another blow five minutes later, as Stephen Best was forced off with a head injury. His centre back partner Derek Prendergast actually caught Best with a trailing foot in an attempt to clear the ball. That meant Kealan Dillon came on in midfield, with veteran Mulcahy moving into the back line.

Dundalk were certainly not at their best, and Bohs were doing well to punish loose play. The midfield trio of Dillon, Keith Buckley and Robbie Creevy were winning a lot of ball, and Akinade was holding it up expertly. Barrett and Boyle had an awful night, with Akinade outmuscling and outpacing them on numerous occasions. Dean Delany was also called into action more than once, saving well at his near post from David McMillan. Set pieces are Dundalk’s forte, and the almost scrambled a couple into the goal before half time.

The Lilywhites very clearly pressed higher up the pitch in the second half, but the considerable wind was helping Bohs, and the counter attacking led by Akinade. Dundalk’s ideas were limited, and crosses into the box were being well marshaled by Prendergast and Mulcahy. The only real threat came from Horgan on the left flank. His cross found McMillan again at the back post, but the shot was flashed over the bar.

Having sussed out Dundalk’s threat, it was time for Bohs to pounce. First it was Akinade who had a great chance, bundling past Boyle and Barrett before poking straight at Gary Rogers. Then, when Adam Evans was fouled on the left wing, it was time for the winner. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cross was pinpoint onto the head of Dave Mulcahy, who directed his header down and past Rogers at pace.

There was even time for Bohs to miss a penalty as Akinade completed his destruction of Paddy Barrett. He galloped onto a long clearance, rounded Barrett with ease, and was dragged down inside the box. Barrett was sent for an early shower, but Kealan Dillon’s spot kick was brilliantly saved low to his right by Rogers. That gave Dundalk a lift going into injury time, but the Bohs defence held firm. They now travel to Inchicore on Tuesday with a huge spring in their step.

 

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Paddy Barrett, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey (Shane Grimes, 66), Chris Shields (Stephen O’Donnell, 75), Richie Towell, John Mountney, Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan (Kurtis Byrne, 86). Subs Not Used: Gabriel Sava, Brian Gartland, Darren Meenan, Jake Kelly.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Roberto Lopes Derek Prendergast, Stephen Best (Kealan Dillon 17), Lorcan Fitzgerald; Karl Moore, Keith Buckley (James O’Brien, 71), Dave Mulcahy, Robbie Creevy, Adam Evans; Ismahil Akinade (Dean Kelly, 90 + 2). Subs not used: Lee Steacey, Dylan Hayes, Adam Wixted, Jake Hyland.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

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