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.

REPORT: Bohemians 1 – Drogheda United 4

Bohemians capped a rollercoaster season with a predictably unpredictable performance – going down 4-1 to the Airtricity League runners-up, the impressive Drogheda United in Dalymount, writes Kevin Fagan.

A hat-trick from Drogheda native Tiernan Mulvenna condemned the Gypsies to their worst defeat of the season, but still a respectable 7th place finish.

Despite the disappointing defeat, the reception given to Aaron Callaghan and his men after the final whistle was rousing, with the Bohs faithful showing their appreciation for what has been a truly entertaining season. In classic Bohs style, there were highs and lows, but overall, the feeling at the end of the game was positive on a bitterly cold night in Dublin 7.

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In truth, the defeat could have been much worse, with the visitors missing a number of guilt-edged chances in a rare, frail defensive performance from Aaron Callaghan’s men. Andy Mulligan kept his place in the side after his impressive display against Bray last week, but he was given little to work on in a frustrating night for the home side going forward.

Two out of the three Drogheda Brennan brothers started for United, with Ryan and Sean roaming around the Dalymount pitch reminiscent of their older sibling Killian in his pomp. Ryan had the first two efforts on goal – the first was saved by Greg Murray in the Bohs goal, while the second was blocked by BFC Player of the Year Evan McMillan.

It wasn’t a great night for Murray, who had a terrible time with his kicking all night. A scuffed clearance in the 16th minute went straight to Tiernan Mulvenna, who found Ryan Brennan at the back post, but his shot went wide. Drogheda took a deserved lead on 24 minutes. Paul Crowley’s long ball split the Bohs defence, and Mulvenna ran through to finish smartly over Murray to send the Drogs fans in the Des Kelly Stand wild with delight.

Bohs’ first chance arrived on the half hour mark. Neat play between Ryan McEvoy and Derek Pender sent Mulligan through on the left flank. His low cross found Dinny Corcoran, but the striker couldn’t get enough on the finish. Mulvenna really should have doubled Drogheda’s lead five minutes before the break. A sweeping move set Sean Brennan through in behind the Bohs defence. He crossed for Mulvenna, but the striker scuffed his shot wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

But the Drogs man wasn’t to be denied. In the 44th minute, another well-worked, flowing move set Alan Byrne in on the right. This time, Byrne’s his cross found Mulvenna with his shooting boots on, and Drogheda led 2 – 0. However, instead of going into the break 2 down, Bohs gave themselves a glimmer of hope in first half stoppage time. McEvoy’s clipped ball looked to be going into Gabriel Sava’s hands, but a challenge from Dinny Corcoran meant the ball ricocheted out to Evan McMillan. Bohs top scorer made no mistake, firing home to make it 2-1 on the stroke of half time.

Drogheda boss Mick Cooke must have given his side a real rollicking for their pre-half time slip, as the visitors came out all guns blazing in the second half. It wasn’t long before they had regained a two goal advantage. A soft goal from a Bohs perspective, Alan McNally headed home from a near post Sean Brennan corner. Drogheda looked every bit the second place team heading for Europe next season. Bohs struggled to come to terms with the Louthmen, even when playmaker Keith Ward came on.

Mulvenna completed his hat-trick and sealed the game for Drogheda with twenty minutes remaining. Greg Murray capped what could only be described as a nightmare display by spilling sub john Sullivan’s cross into Mulvenna’s path, and the striker bundled home his third, and Drogheda’s fourth.

Unfortunately for Mulvenna, the match ball may have to be delivered to the Mater Hospital, as he was stretchered off with a suspected serious ankle injury soon after. The dreaded leg brace came out for the stricken forward, who was warmly applauded off the field by both sets of fans. The game petered out after that, with the Bohs fans coming to life in the final few minutes.

That so many stayed after the game to applaud off the players and staff after such a disappointing defeat is a testament to the achievements of this young side in 2012. Here’s to 2013, and the continued Rise of the Red and Black Revolution.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Owen Heary, Evan McMillan, Kevin Feely, Derek Pender, Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore, 46), Stephen Traynor (Keith Ward, 46), Michael Barker, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Dinny Corcoran (Dave Scully, 76). Subs not used: Andy McNulty, Roberto Lopes, Kevin Devaney, Dylan Connolly.

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava, Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Alan McNally, Derek Prendergast (Jason Marks, 87), Ryan Brennan, Paul Crowley, Brian Gannon (John Sullivan, 24), Alan Byrne, Tiernan Mulvanna (Johnny Breen, 87), Sean Brennan. Subs not used: Michael Schlingermann, Cathal Brady, Conor O’Keefe.

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