YOUTH-FUL EXUBERANCE: BOHS KEEP GOOD RUN GOING

WEXFORD YOUTHS  0 – 1  BOHEMIANS

Bohemians head into the summer break in high spirits after a fourth straight win in all competitions. Despite an accident on the N11 hampering the team and fans from making a first ever league trip to Wexford on time, the in-form Gypsies produced another impressive performance, and could easily have won by more than the Izzy Akinade goal that settled it.

Unsurprisingly, there were no changes from the team that dismantled St Pats last Sunday – bar the enforced removal of Jake Kelly with a shoulder injury. With Ayman Ben Mohamed on Tunisian international duty against Djibouti, Mark Quigley stepped in to start. After a gracious delay due to chronic traffic problems, the game got underway still in bright sunshine in the sunny south-east, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Perhaps due to the disrupted preparations, Wexford looked the sharper in the opening few minutes. They went direct as often as possible, and a long-throw from Craig McCabe was fired over acrobatically by Chris Kenny. Bohs, however, warmed up quite quickly. Keith Buckley sent Akinade through the channel, but the big striker’s shot was skewed wide. Akinade then stung the palms of Youths keeper Graham Doyle with a volley.

After referee Ben Connolly had to be replaced by his fourth official due to injury, Bohs stepped up a gear. First, Quigley shot over following a corner, and then, the visitors took a deserved lead. Buckley played a neat ball through for Akinade, who had far too much pace for the Wexford defence, and he finished coolly past Doyle into the bottom corner. Kurtis Byrne and Mark Quigley both had chances in the extended first half injury time, but couldnt extend the lead.

Roared on by their effervescent owner / local TD Mick Wallace, Youths were more dangerous after the break, but the Bohs defence kept most attacks at arms length. Paul Murphy had their best chance, but his header was weak and easily stopped by Dean Delany. The second half was less open, as Bohs managed possession professionally. Kurtis Byrne almost sealed the deal in injury time, but his shot curled just wide of Doyle’s post.

Bohs head into the break in much better shape than three weeks ago. Cup progression and back to back league wins have steadied the ship, and suddenly, the second half of the season looks to be a lot more promising for the Gypsies.

Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Stephen Last (Ryan Delaney, 42), Aidan Friel (Dany Ledwith, 89), Eric Molloy, Chris Kenny, Jonny Bonner, Andy Mulligan (Shane Dunne, 78), Danny Furlong, Paul Murphy. Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Conor O’Keefe, John Peare, Conor Whittle.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes (Lorcn Fitzgerald, 69), Dan Byrne, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Eoin Wearen, Roberto Lopes, Kurtis Byrne, Mark Quigley (James Kavanagh, 86), Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Stephen Best, Jason Caffrey, Paul Rooney, Derek Prendergast.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Ismahil Akinade

CLINICAL ROVERS MAKE A MIELE OF DERBY

 BOHEMIANS  0 – 4  SHAMROCK ROVERS

Bohemians fell to a crushing home derby defeat – their worst in almost 50 years – as Shamrock Rovers inflicted a dreadful 4-0 loss in front of a huge crowd at Dalymount Park.

A brace from Brandon Miele was sandwiched between goals from Gary McCabe and Gavin Brennan as the visitors displayed clinical finishing throughout the high-intensity encounter. Bohs had the better of the first 30 minutes, but were undone by two sloppy goals right on either side of half time, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Long kept faith with the same team that dispatched Bray last week, while old friends Pat Fenlon and Killian Brennan plotted the downfall of their former employers.

Typical of every single encounter between the two (in the last 20 years anyway), the game started at a feverish pace, with little or no constructive play due to the heady mixture of fouls, nerves, testing the referee, and settling in.

When the dust did settle, it was the home side who started to produce. Ayman Ben Mohamed, ever the bright spark, skinned Simon Madden on the left flank and pulled the ball back to Keith Buckley, who could only direct his 15-yard effort straight at Barry Murphy in the Rovers goal.

Then came the big chance for the Gypsies. This time the cross came from the left, and was whipped in be captain Derek Pender. Rovers centre back Maxime Blanchard fluffed his clearance, and the ball squirmed into the path of Izzy Akinade. However, the big striker’s shot wasn’t the most powerful, and was blocked brilliantly by Madden.

The old saying goes that you must score when you’re on top, and that is definitely the case in Derby matches. Rovers started to come into the game, shooting toward their horde of fans in the Des Kelly Stand. Gary Shaw stung the palms of Dean Delany – but as the fourth official held up the board, it looked like there’d be a half time stalemate.

Simon Madden had other ideas. He skipped past Lorcan Fitzgerald on the byline just outside the box, and the defender chopped him down clumsily. Rovers worked the resulting free kick well – pulled back short to the edge of the box. Brandon Miele’s shot was well blocked by Roberto Lopes, but the rebound fell to Gary McCabe who unleashed a powerful drive that took a deflection and flashed past Dean Delany.

Disappointment quickly turned into disaster for Bohs almost straight after the re-start. Paddy Kavanagh had a looped shot that came off the top of the crossbar, and from the resulting attack, Rovers struck again. This time, Brandon Miele was sent through down the right by McCabe, and directed a pinpoint shot into the far corner.

If the Bohs fans were hoping for a response from their team, they were left bitterly disappointed. Kurtis Byrne came on for Keith Buckley, but the change didn’t work out. Rovers began to dominate possession, and clinched the victory on 73 minutes. Again it was Miele, by far the best player on the pitch and maybe in the country, who struck. After skipping past two Bohs defenders and playing a one-two with Shaw, he curled a beautiful shot that clipped in off the inside of Delany’s post.

To add insult to injury, and really compound a night of pure misery for the Gypsies, Ryan Brennan curled a 25 yard peach into the top corner with 10 minutes to go to make it 4-0.

Bohs now face a crucial period in their season. A League Cup last 16 tie at Shelbourne is followed by a trip to Derry and a home date with the Champions, Dundalk. An instant response is required from the men in red and black.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Dan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Roberto Lopes, Eoin Wearen, Keith Buckley (Kurtis Byrne, 56), Paddy Kavanagh, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Dave Mulcahy, Anto Murphy, James Kavanagh, Dylan Hayes, Adam Evans.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy, Simon Madden, David Webster, Gavin Brennan, Killian Brennan, Pat Cregg, Mikey Drennan, Gary McCabe, Brandon Miele (Trevor Clarke, 90), Gary Shaw (Gareth McCaffrey, 72). Subs not used: Craig Hyland, Rob Cornwall, Richard Purdy, Stephen McPhail, Danny North.

BYRNE BABY BYRNE

BOHEMIANS 4 DUNDALK 3

An action-packed night that’ll be remembered for both shambolic Dundalk defending and a Kurtis Byrne hat-trick master class, as Bohemians overcame a weakened but resilient Dundalk side in a thrilling encounter. The Dalymount faithful were treated to what was possibly one of the most memorable nights in the Leinster Senior Cup’s recent history.

Bohemians started the brighter team, and almost opened the scoring when a Jake Kelly free-kick found Kurtis Byrne unmarked at the back post, but the former Lilywhites frontman mistimed his kick completely as the goal lay at his mercy. Bohemians didn’t have to wait long for their next chance, as Evans skilfully caught Paddy Barrett flat-footed to pull back for Kelly, who could only find the comfortable hands of the Dundalk Keeper.

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It was Stephen Kenny’s side, however, who took the lead after thirteen minutes as Bohs were left to rue their missed chances. An accurate through ball found the feet of Michael O’Connor who struck a well-placed shot past the on-rushing Lee Steacy.

Bohemians didn’t take it lying down, and almost drew level when Evans intercepted a sloppy Dundalk pass to find Keith Buckley on the edge of the area. Unfortunately for the tireless midfielder, his effort was blazed high and over. Keith Long’s men didn’t have to wait to ling for their next chance, as a stray Kelly shot found Kurtis Byrne on the 18-yard line; however his effort was well high of the target.

Bohemians continued to employ a high-pressing tactic which the Dalymount faithful have become so accustomed to since Long’s inception. After a string of wasted chances, the Gypsies’ finally drew level. Dundalk defender Anton Reilly shot himself in the foot as he hesitated on the ball inside hos 18 yard line, eventually losing out to Anto Murphy who fired home a ferocious strike past Gabriel Sava to draw the home side level before half-time.

The second half saw the game become a more open affair as Dundalk began to push on into the final third. However it was Bohemians who took the lead with another Kurtis Byrne wonder strike. The Bohs’ frontman found space 35 yards out and let fly with a perfectly weighted volley over the head of the unsuspecting Sava.

The lead didn’t last long though, as hesitant Bohemians defending allowed Michael O’Connor to gran his and Dundalk’s’ second with a delightful shot past an unmoved Steacy.

It was the last ten minutes though, that the game really caught fire. Kurtis Bryne again, showing the 300 in attendance that he’s not one to score ordinary goals. An 81st minute carbon copy of his previous goal, struck a sublime volley from 35 yards out to catch Sava off his line.

The Dundalk keeper will likely be having nightmares tonight, as his tormentor Byrne struck yet again with devastating free kick into the top-left corner of the goal to complete is hat-trick and surely kill off the game for Bohemians.

There was time, however, for a late Dundalk rally. A whizzing cross not dealt with by captain Dave Mulcahy allowed for substitute Jordan Kelly to fire home a late consolation for the away side.

Website by Simon Alcock