OWN GOAL SEES BOHS CRASH OUT

LEINSTER SENIOR CUP: BOHEMIANS 1 UCD 2 (AET)

Bohemians’ first competitive game of the season ended in an extra-time defeat to soon-to-be familiar foes UCD on Sunday afternoon, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

This was the first of three games against the Students across three competitions in the coming weeks. Unfortunately for Bohs, bossed by assistant manager Owen Heary, this first installment went the way of the visitors after former Student Ciaran Nangle’s own goal in the second period of extra-time.

Frustrated by a series of postponements of pre-season friendlies scheduled for Dalymount, this was the first chance for the Bohs faithful to get a look at the much talked-about home surface.

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Unfortunately, the prognosis does not look good. While groundstaff have been working tirelessly, the recent appalling weather has had an impact –  the surface is patchy and bobbly, and doesn’t lend itself to flowing football at the moment.

Dave Scully partnered Stephen Paisley at the heart of the Bohs defence. Scully became a cult figure for Bohs fans last season and boss Aaron Callaghan has hinted that centre-half is a position the 28-year-old could fill regularly, having previously played there under Roddy Collins at Carlisle United.

The Gypsies started with a new-look midfield trio of Conor O’Brien, Shane Murray and Darragh Reynor. The latter was particularly impressive, showing a fine range of passing and a bit of bite that could come in handy this term.

Reynor, a former Nottingham Forest youth player, kickstarted the first meaningful move of the match. His raking 40-yard crossfield pass found the overlapping Nangle, whose cross should really have been converted by the head of Dwayne Wilson. The ball struck Wilson’s shoulder when a clean contact would have surely put the home side in front.

Wilson was playing in the lone frontman role that he excelled in against Shamrock Rovers in the famous 4-0 slaying, and he had another half chance after 11 minutes. Reynor’s Scholes-esque through ball put Wilson in behind the UCD defence, but his control let him down and the ball was cleared for a corner.

The pitch was causing problems for midfielders trying to play the ball on the deck. O’Brien got himself stuck and gave the ball away to ex-Bohs man Dinny Corcoran, who unleashed a lovely curling left-footed shot that seemed destined for the top corner, only for Greg Murray to pull off a terrific fingertip save.

The best chance of the first half fell to Wilson. A dinked cross from Karl Moore forced UCD’s Sean Coyne into a poor defensive header. It went straight to Wislon just seven yards out, but his strike was fired high over Conor O’Donnell’s crossbar.

Bohs definitely had the better of the opening half, but the only other effort of note was a Karl Moore 25-yarder that had O’Donnell scrambling before looping wide.

Despite the Leinster Senior Cup’s status as a competitive competition, this game had a distinct pre-season friendly feel about it, especially in the second half. Neither side really pressed in midfield areas, and goalmouth action was at a premium.

Wilson caught UCD’s Hughie Douglas napping on the hour mark, nipping in to force O’Donnell into a smart save. The ball rebounded to Murray, but his looping shot was cleared off the line by the retreating UCD defence.

Moore missed a guilt-edged chance to open the scoring with just  nine minutes remaining. The bustling Reynor clipped the ball through, but Moore shot wide from just 12 yards with only the keeper to beat.

It looked like that would be a costly miss, as the Students took the lead with just three minutes left on the clock thanks to a nightmare error from Bohs keeper Murray.

Having collected a routine backpass, the pitch and poor technique meant Murray’s kick trickled to Gary Burke, who had the simple task of rolling the ball in against his former club.

It looked like the visitors had completed a smash-and-grab raid, but Scully had other ideas. Just a minute later, he nodded in Reynor’s free-kick to send the game into extra-time.  His outrageous John Travolta-style dancing celebration was probably the highlight of a bitterly cold afternoon.

Extra-time seemed to be an unwanted period for all concerned, especially those concerned with the state of the pitch. Again, there was little goalmouth action until the second period. After referee Paul Tuite had given UCD a soft free-kick on the corner of the box, Sean Russell fired in a wicked cross that Nangle could only direct into his own net.

The teams (and hopefully the temperature) will be drastically different when the teams meet next in the Airtricity League opener in 12 days’ time. Callaghan will also be hoping for a different outcome.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Stephen Paisley, Dave Scully, Ciaran Nangle, Shane Fitzgerald (Lee Whelan, 106), Conor O’Brien (Niall Forrester, 64), Darragh Reynor, Shane Murray, Karl Moore, Dwayne Wilson (Adam Kelly, 64). Subs not used: Conor Little, Kevin O’Leary, Luke Kelly.

UCD: Conor McDonnell, Gareth Matthews, Hughie Douglas, James Kavanagh, Sean Coyne, Dean Clake, Colm Crowe (Tomas Boyle, 61), Craig Walsh (Adam Whelan, 102), Sean Russell, Gary Burke, Daniel Corcoran (Oua Adeyemo, 61). Subs not used: Ger Barron, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Robbie Suayer, Liam Traynor.

PAISLEY, O’BRIEN DOUBLE UP

BOHEMIANS 5 HARDWICKE FC 2

Adouble apiece from new boys Stephen Paisley and Conor O’Brien helped Bohemians to a 5-2 pre-season win over Hardwicke FC on Monday evening.

But the Gypsies, playing their second friendly in three days at IT Blanchardstown, made hard work of it and fell behind in the first half before a rallying cry from manager Aaron Callaghan, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

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Despite starting an entirely different XI to Saturday’s 5-1 win over Longford Town, playing against non-league opposition, it was a game that most would have expected Bohs to run away with quite comfortably. It was Hardwicke, however, who created most of the chances and if it wasn’t for some wasteful finishing, they would have caused some real headaches for Callaghan.

Bohs should have claimed the game’s opener early on when a great cross from Dwayne Wilson left the goal gaping for Shane Fitzgerald. But the former Drogheda United and UCD man, starting his second spell with the Gypsies, failed to convert.

And Fitzgerald was made curse that miss as Dean Byrne opened the scoring for the inner-city side on 26 minutes.

After that setback, Bohs upped their game and strived to get back on level terms, with Dave Mulcahy going close with a spectacular effort that was saved by Hardwicke stopper Trevor Owens.

Callaghan had it all to do at half-time. But whatever he said in the dressing room paid off as, after the break, it was a very different story. Just after the restart, the manager decided to use his subs bench and on came Darragh Hanaphy and Conor O’Brien for Kevin O’Leary and Niall Forrester respectively.

And on 50 minutes, Bohs were back on level terms. Wilson’s free-kick from the left saw Paisley emerge from the goalmouth scramble to head home the Bohs equaliser.

It didn’t take long for the former Shelbourne man to double his tally either. Another free-kick found saw Paisley rise highest once again as he headed home on the line to put his new side in front on 57 minutes.

Callaghan made use of his bench once more as Kevin Devaney and Santiago came on for the remaining half-hour.

The Gypsies began to assert real control now and Paisley nearly claimed a rare hat-trick for a defender but was thwarted by Hardwicke keeper Owens.

Mulcahy had another shot parried by Owens but Bohs finally extended their advantage on 73 minutes when O’Brien, son of former Gypsies player and assistant manager Liam, finished from close range after a great run and cross by Hanaphy.

The game looked to be over but Hardwicke were awarded a penalty after Dave Scully, usually a striker but playing at centre-back, handled on the line with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

He wasn’t given his marching orders much to the annoyance of the visitors’ bench – he would surely have seen red in a competitive game. But Hardwicke were back in the game as Peter O’Toole stepped up and duly converted the spot-kick.

We looked to be heading for a grandstand finish but two late goals from substitute Devaney (87 minutes) and a second from O’Brien (89 minutes) ensured it was another five-goal rout in Blanch for the Gypsies.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Dave Scully, Stephen Paisley, Ciaran Nangle, Dave Mulcahy, Niall Forrester, Darragh Reynor, Dwayne Wilson, Kevin O’Leary, Shane Fitzgerald. Subs: Darragh Hanaphy, Santiago, Conor O’Brien, Kevin Devaney.

FIVE-STAR Gypsies

BOHEMIANS 5 LONGFORD TOWN 1

In a confident pre-season performance on Saturday morning, which saw Stephen Paisley make his Bohemians debut as a second-half substitute against the club where he won the FAI Cup twice, the Gypsies swept aside First Division outfit Longford Town 5-1 at IT Blanchardstown.

Goals from Chris Lyons, Luke Byrne, Darragh Hanaphy, Keith Buckley and Ryan McEvoy saw the Gypsies run out emphatic winners, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

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Although this contest was closer than the final scoreline suggested, it was Aaron Callaghan’s side who set the tone from the off.

Early shots from Andy Mulligan and McEvoy saw the Gypsies come close before Lyons won a penalty having been fouled by Town keeper Paul Hunt. The referee had consulted with his linesman and looked set to reverse his decision before eventually awarding the spot-kick, which was duly converted by Lyons, a striker signed from UCD over the closed season.

Going behind sparked Tony Cousins’ Longford into life. The Town started to create chances and would have been level had it not been for some last-ditch tackles from Bohs centre-backs Heary and Roberto Lopes. Evergreen Heary, 36, in particular kept the Midlanders at bay.

But soon afterwards, Bohs doubled their advantage as Ireland Under-19 international Byrne cut in from the left on to his less-favoured right foot before firing a rasping drive into the corner. With a 2-0 lead, the Gypsies were cruising at the break.

The second half started off as lively as the first. But this time it was Longford beginning to press and they got their reward on 55 minutes as Gavin Doyle found the net to pull it back to 2-1.

Managing against his former club, Callaghan began to ring the changes. On came Hanaphy, Michael Barker, Paisley and Conor O’Brien as Bohs began to take control again.

Less than five minutes after his introduction, Hanaphy found himself one-on-one with Hunt and the former Newry City striker’s lob made it 3-1.

But the Gypsies weren’t finished yet. Two minutes later, Buckley’s superb chip from 25 yards flew past the keeper much to the delight of his team-mates and manager before McEvoy wrapped up the scoring with a placed finish from 12 yards in the dying embers of the game.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Owen Heary, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne; Keith Buckley, Stephen Traynor, Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan, Shane Murray, Chris Lyons.

Subs used: Dwayne Wilson, Darragh Hanaphy, Michael Barker, Stephen Paisley.

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