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 Creevy was subsequently withdrawn with what looked like a groin injury, replaced by James O’Brien.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

BOHS AVOID CLOVER-SHAPED BANANA SKIN

Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup 2nd Round

BOHEMIANS  4 – 1  FIRHOUSE CLOVER

A professional second half performance peppered with three goals from midfielders helped Bohemians into the last 16 of the FAI Cup at the expense of Leinster Senior League side Firhouse Clover in Dalymount Park on Friday. Following a disappointing first half that finished at 1-1, a brace from Robbie Creevy and a late header from Kealan Dillon meant Keith Long’s men side-stepped a potential banana skin.

Starting with a full-strength side against the team wearing green and white hoops, the Gypsies didn’t have it all their own way, with the LSL men causing a series of problems, especially in the first period. Bohs fan and Jodi Stand regular Luke Synnot grabbed a penalty that he can remember for the rest of his life, even if his side suffered disappointment by full time, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Gypsies looked to get down the Firhouse flanks in the early stages, with long passes out wide being a noticeable tactic in the first few minutes for Bohs. Adam Evans had plenty of joy on the left, crossing for Jason Byrne to head over the game’s first chance after just 2 minutes. Byrne should have done better again from a Lorcan Fitzgerald corner, but he headed harmlessly over in acres of space. At the other end, an intriguing battle between Clover’s Harmony Mercer and Bohs’ Roberto Lopes was a feature. The tricky winger impressed the crowd with a few nice dribbles and neat touches, but Lopes was too strong for him on more than one occasion.

Bohs were finding it difficult to get a rhythm going, with Kealan Dillon, Robbie Creevy and James O’Brien all guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. Unfortunately for Firhouse, they couldn’t quite capitalise on the loose passes.

The opening goal came just before the half hour mark. Karl Moore played a neat one-two with O’Brien on the edge of the area, and centred for Jason Byrne, who took one touch and flashed a shot against the crossbar. The ball fell fortunately back to Byrne’s feet, and he poked it home from just a couple of yards out.

Credit to Firhouse, whose heads didn’t drop at all with the concession of that goal. Indeed, they went up the other end and grabbed what could easily be considered a deserved equaliser. Carl Wynne drifted past two Bohs players inside the left hand side of the box, and got a toe to the ball just before Stephen Best’s challenge arrived. It was a simple penalty decision for Ben Connolly – Best’s tackle was wild and reckless, and cleaned Wynne out. The script was written for Luke Synnott, a regular in Blocks F and G, to step up and score the penalty, sending Dean Delany the wrong way. He’ll win a few more friends in the Jodi with his muted celebration, a nice touch.

Bohs could only improve in the second half, and duly started to control the game. Two quickfire goals from Robbie Creevy ended the tie by the hour mark. The first was very tidy, a clever solo run and one-two with James O’Brien left Creevy in front of goal at the edge of the box, and his early shot was tucked into the corner past the despairing Brian O’Reilly.

Creevy’s second was a cheeky one. Again James O’Brien was involved, setting Roberto Lopes through on the right side of the box. The Bohs captain’s shot looked to be trundling into the far corner, but Creevy slid in just to make sure. Unfortunately for Bohs, Lopes was forced off with injury just a few minutes later. It was great to see Dan Byrne back in action, but Keith Long will be worried about Lopes after Derek Pender’s achilles injury and Anto Murphy’s ankle problem.

The final goal was another scrappy affair. A deep cross by Adam Evans was headed onto the bar by Dean Kelly – O’Reilly may well have made a brilliant save. But again, the ball fell favourably for Bohs and Kealan Dillon, who forced it in with his head from close range. Bohs march into the last 16, but face a daunting trip to runaway league leaders Dundalk next weekend.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes (Dan Byrne, 68), Stephen Best, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Karl Moore (Dean Kelly, 64), Robbie Creevy, Kealan Dillon, James O’Brien (Keith Buckley, 78), Adam Evans, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Lee Steacey, Jason Caffrey, Jake Hyland, Adam Wixted.

Firhouse Clover: Brian O’Reilly, Stephen Fitzgerald, John Phillips (Darren O’Grady, 77), Brian Cullen, Glenn Walsh, David Vickery, Peter O’Donnell, Anthony O’Rourke, Harmony Mercer, Carl Wynne, Luke Synnott. Subs not used: David O’Keefe, Kevin O’Neill, Craig Rothery, Aidan Canavan, Bernard Ogene.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: James O’Brien

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