TRAVELLING GYPSIES NOTCH ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET

SLIGO ROVERS  0 – 0  BOHEMIANS

Tell your friends, call your family – following Bohs around the country has become a pain-free experience! After five away games of the 2015 season, the Gypsies are yet to concede a goal on their travels. Keith Long’s side have become almost impossible to break down, with a settled back 5 that looks as strong as any in the SSE Airtricity League.

This time, it was Sligo Rovers who came up against a brick wall of dark green. The Bit O’Red may have had the inside knowledge of former Bohs hero Owen Heary in the dugout, but they couldn’t breach the Bohs rear guard in 90 minutes of football at the Showgrounds on Monday night, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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With another long trip to Derry on the way this coming Friday, Long shuffled the pack in front of the customary back of Delany, Pender, Murphy, Prendergast and Fitzgerald (Will that become the new Seaman, Dixon, Bould, Adams, and Winterburn? Maybe not). Dave Mulcahy and James O’Brien were given their first league starts of the season, while Adam Evans returned to the side in place of Karl Moore. Keith Buckley and Kealan Dillon were the others to miss out following last Friday’s loss to St. Pats. Owen Heary resisted the urge to unleash a raft of former Bohs men, with only Steven Beattie starting from last season’s cabal that moved north-west.

It was Bohs who created the first big chance of the game. The tireless Roberto Lopes forced a mistake from Sligo’s midfield, and suddenly Dean Kelly was able to slip Adam Evans through on goal. The winger had maybe too much time to think about the shot, and fired weakly at Richard Brush’s legs. At the other end, Beattie reminded the small section of travelling supporters what he was about. After buzzing in from the right wing, he struck a dipping shot that cannoned off Dean Delany’s crossbar.

It was an entertaining first 45 minutes, with both sides eager to impress. Rovers’ former Chelsea target man Morten Neilsen barged his way into the box, and forced Derek Prendergast into a terrific last-ditch block. Referee Robert Rogers managed to worry everyone of a Bohs persuasion when he booked all three central midfielders – Lopes, Mulcahy and O’Brien, in a ten minute period. Luckily, all three kept their discipline for the remaining half.

Bohs had two more flashes before the break. The first fell to Kelly, who out-muscled Alan Keane to get to a dropping ball, and unleashed a stinging volley that forced Brush to tip over the bar. Then it was Bohs turn to hit the woodwork, as a Lorcan Fitzgerald free-kick was headed onto the crossbar by Kelly again. Paddy Kavanagh’s resulting volley was straight at Brush.

Owen Heary is undoubtedly under pressure at The Showgrounds, where the grumbling home fans expected more from his team in the opening round of matches. He definitely gave them a stern word, as the Bit O’Red started the second half much brighter. Gavin Dykes crossed for Beattie on the hour mark, but his header flew over. Bohs seemed to shut up shop, but got one final chance with 20 to go. James O’Brien slipped Kelly in with a lovely reverse pass, but the striker shot straight at Brush’s legs.

Grumbled on by a sedate home support, Sligo pushed for a winner, but found Anto Murphy in especially brilliant form. The Bohs defender performed an amazing block to deny John Russell’s goalbound shot, and was generally excellent all evening. Again, the travelling fans applauded a gallant, hard-working performance and hard-earned point, but the Bohs boss might be disappointed not to be heading back down the N4 with all three.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Alan Keane, Gary Boylan, Stephen Folan, Jake Dykes, Steven Beattie, John Russell, David Cawley, Sander Puri, Keith Ward (Gary Armstrong, 79), Morten Neilsen. Subs not used: Ryan McManus, Liam Flatley, Raffaele Cretaro, Dinny Corcoran, Ryan Coulter.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Dave Mulcahy, Roberto Lopes, James O’Brien, Adam Evans (Kealan Dillon, 90), Dean Kelly (Marc Griffin, 85). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Byrne, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore, Stephen Best.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Anto Murphy

SAINTS HALT GYPSIES’ MOMENTUM

BOHEMIANS  0 – 1 ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

A solitary, scruffy goal from Ciaran Kilduff was enough to bring a buoyant Bohemians back down to earth as the Inchicore side ground out a difficult 1-0 victory in Dalymount Park. The Phibsboro venue saw its largest crowd of the season so far, but the home fans went home disappointed as Keith Long’s high flyers struggled to impose themselves on Liam Buckley’s men.

Indeed, if it wasn’t for the heroics of Dean Delany in goal, Pats could have ran out more comfortable winners. Delany saved his second penalty in three league games, but the Bohs fans’ delight at seeing Killian Brennan fluff his lines was replaced by frustration at the final whistle. However, the rousing reception the team got as they walked off the pitch shows that the home faithful are extremely appreciative of the hard work being put in by Long’s men, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Bohs boss made just one change from the team that beat Longford Town last week, with Derek Prendergast returning in place of the injured Robbie Creevy. This released Roberto Lopes further forward into the midfield, and brought back the first choice back four that have served Bohs so well so far this season. However, the Gypsies struggled in possession against a disciplined and talented Pats midfield. Bohs disappointingly gave the ball away with a series of long balls early on. Dean Kelly was isolated, and Pats’ defensive duo Sean Hoare and Kenny Browne didn’t have much to contend with.

After a sedate opening half hour, the game exploded into life. First, Bohs’ big chance arrived. As has been the case often this season, Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cultured left boot created the opening. His whipped outswinging cross was perfectly judged over the head of the first defender, but somehow, both Dean Kelly and Derek Prendergast couldn’t get a touch onto it. Any deflection would surely have given the Gypsies the lead, but instead, Pats went right up the other end and scored.

Chris Forrester played a delicious through ball between Fitzgerald and Prendergast to Conan Byrne. Dean Delany came out and made a brilliant one-handed save, but the ball squirmed through to Ciaran Kilduff, who had the simplest of tasks to tap into an empty net from six yards. It was only the second game in which Bohs have conceded in their first 8, but it proved to be a crucial goal.

Bohs were undoubtedly improved in the second half. The play was quicker, the pressing was higher, and the energy was there for all to see. Unfortunately, chances were at a premium. Keith Buckley put in a deep cross to Kelly, but the ball was just too far above the striker’s head. The introduction of Dave Mulcahy added some much needed steel to the Bohs midfield, but it was Pats who had a great opportunity just a minute after Mulcahy’s arrival.

Ian Bermingham’s deep cross was mis-read by the Bohs defence, and Lorcan Fitzgerald mis-controlled the ball into Ciaran Kilduff’s path. Fitzgerald tried to make up for the error, but only managed to bring the Pats striker down illegally on the penalty spot. Referee Graham Kelly pointed at said spot, and it looked like Killian Brennan was going to shut the door on Bohs. However, his penalty was casual in the extreme, and was easily saved by Delany to his right.

It felt as if a set piece might be Bohs’ best chance of a goal, and so it proved. Again, Fitzgerald provided the cross, and again, it evaded everyone. Prendergast was merely inches from the ball, but it wasn’t to be. Bohs now travel to struggling Sligo Rovers on Monday, and a date with Owen Heary.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Dave Mulcahy, 76), Karl Moore (Adam Evans 52), Keith Buckley (Jason Byrne, 72), Dean Kelly. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, James O’Brien, Stephen Best, Marc Griffin.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley, Ger O’Brien, Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Conor McCormack, 90 + 1), Greg Bolger, Aaron Greene, Chris Forrester (James Chambers, 74), Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Jason McGuinness, Jack Bayly, Sam Verdon, Morgan Langley.

High-flying Gypsies up to second

BOHEMIANS 2 LONGFORD TOWN 0

Bohs continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive win over Longford Town at Dalymount Park. Both teams were well acquainted with one another after Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup encounter, which saw Bohs triumph 3-1.

The game had a high tempo start which saw three stoppages for injuries in the first 15 minutes. Willie Tyrell and Dean Delany both recovered from their knocks but ex-Bohs player Stephen Rice was forced off with concussion.

The first real chance of the game resulted in the opening goal. A corner from Lorcan Fitzgerald was fizzed into the back post and Dean Kelly was lurking to power home a header past Paul Hunt in the Longford net.

Soon after Kelly was again found at the back post but his shot went wide, although the offside flag had been raised. The other notable action of the first half was when Gary Shaw was booked for simulation in the 40th minute.

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At half-time the Bohs under-19 squad, who recently were crowed Northern Elite League champions, were paraded on the pitch and presented with their medals from a successful season by club president Matt Devaney.

The second half was dominated by Bohs. Kelly was played through on the left wing and it appeared as though he was in an excellent position to shoot for goal however he opted to dink a cross to the back post where ‘keeper Hunt palmed the ball away.

Longford then had their first meaningful chance of the game. Kaleem Simon slipped Davy O’Sullivan through on goal, albeit at a tight angle, and his shot was brilliantly saved by Dean Delany as it appeared to be heading for the top corner.

Adam Evans replaced Karl Moore and the youngster had an immediate impact. Kelly sprinted towards goal on the right flank and played a perfectly weighted ball to the back post where Evans applied a calm and collective finish to place the ball into the corner with his first touch of the game.

Even with a two-goal lead, Bohs continued to attack relentlessly. Kelly blocked a clearance from Hunt and the ball went agonisingly close to rolling into the empty goal. Soon after Evans played a neat pass to Fitzgerald in the box and his cross was cleared by the Longford defence.

The final chance of the game was for James O’Brien who picked the ball up forty yards from goal and unleashed a half volley which almost found its way into the bottom corner.

Victory saw the Gypsies jump two places up to second in the table behind champions Dundalk. Next up for Bohs is a Dublin Derby when Bohs host St Patricks Athletic at Dalymount Park next Friday evening.

Website by Simon Alcock