BYRNE STUNNER SEALS IT

BOHEMIANS 1 SLIGO ROVERS 0

Bohemians put last week’s loss away to Cork firmly behind them with a solid display in front of their home crowd for the first time this season. A battling performance and a stunning goal from Kurtis Byrne was enough for the three points to stay in Dublin 7.

After an initial cagey opening ten minutes, Byrne collected a brilliantly weighted pass over the top of the Sligo defence with a fantastic controlled touch, allowing him enough space to strike a half-volley effort into the top corner from all of 20-25 yards.

Michael Schlingermann, at full stretch, could only wave goodbye to the ball that was destined to rattle the net for a goal that could well make it into the shortlist for the March goal of the month award.

Bohemians continued to play the aerial passes for Ishmail Akinade to chase, as chances came at a premium as both sets of players tried to figure each other out.

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The first half ended with a rare piece of Sligo pressure on the home side’s goal. Chris Lyons, the former Bohemian, twisted and turned his way into the box, but his cross was cut out just before it could reach Jaanai Gordon.

Keith Long’s marches had an excellent opportunity to double the lead barely two minutes into the second half, as a brilliant Akinade turn left the Sligo defence for dead, giving Mark Quigley the chance to shoot from a yard outside the box. Schlingermann was equal to the clever, low-hit shot that bended around the wall.

The pace picked up in the second half, as Sligo looked for the leveller. Jaanai Gordon caused headaches for the Dubliners’ defence all night, and after getting the better of Lorcan Fitzgerald, he whipped in a tantalising cross that Anto Murphy eventually cleared for a corner.

Keith Buckley came agonisingly close to capping off a fine performance with a stunning goal, but his 20-hard effort came back out off the post. Akinade was quick to latch onto the loose ball, but Sligo keeper Schlingermann was quick to reposition himself and snuff out the danger.

Paddy Kavanagh was introduced for Mark Quigley, and didn’t take long in making a nuisance out of himself for the visiting defenders. With twenty minutes remaining his pinpoint cross found the head of Akinade, whose strong header could only reach the palms of Michael Schlingermann.

The Bit o’ Red were wasteful throughout the evening, and a free kick on their left flank represented their last good chance to get something from the game. A poor delivery found no awaiting players, however, and Dean Delaney saw the ball sail out past his posts for a goal kick.

BOHS BEATEN BY SECOND HALF REBEL SURGE

CORK CITY  2 – 0  BOHEMIANS

Bohemians opened the 2016 season with a disappointing two-goal defeat at the hands of a new-look Cort City side as Keith Long’s men failed to capitalise on an excellent first half performance in Turners Cross. The fixture list threw up one of the most difficult possible openers for the Gypsies – and so it proved – despite a well-drilled first half display.

Defensive errors cost Long’s men either side of the hour mark as Cork new boy Sean Maguire scored a brace on his league debut for the Leesiders. 2015 Player of the Season Roberto Lopes was sent off late on to cap off a frustrating night, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Long resisted the urge to blood all of his new boys, with Kurtis Byrne the only debutant in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Other new signings Mark Quigley and Ayman Ben Mohamed were named on the bench. Cork fielded no less than 7 new signings including former St Pats duo Kenny Browne and Greg Bolger, with former Dundalk youngster Maguire leading the line.

In front of a heaving crowd of 4,028, Bohs took immediate advantage of the wind that blew strongly in the Gypsies favour towards the shed end. Sporting a startling new season hairdo, Ismahil Akinade was the target of plenty of early ball, and plenty of early punishment from the Cork defence. John Caulfield had clearly marked Akinade as the dangerman, and Kenny Browne was deservedly booked for clattering the Nigerian from behind after 17 minutes.

The pitch at Turners Cross was deceptively bad. Television viewers may not have been able to notice the very bobbly surface which made free-flowing football almost impossible. The ground staff at Turners Cross may well have been working hard, but a snow flurry the day before left the surface in a poor state. Summer football, ey?

Bohs struggled to convert their dominance in possession into any clear cut chances. Cork’s continued hacking of Akinade yielded plenty of free kicks, but Lorcan Fitzgerald’s deliveries were below his usual high standard. Nevertheless, Keith Long would have been satisfied heading into the dressing room at half time. His side had dominated the play, quitened the crowd, and left Cork looking toothless.

A ten minute salvo between the 53rd and 63rd minutes proved to be the winning – and losing – of this game. Bohs defender Anto Murphy will hope that the Sky plus box accidentally malfunctioned, because he wont want to watch this second half again. Cork full back Eoghan O’Connell chipped the ball into the box, and it seemed like an easy pass for Murphy to cut out. However, the defender tried to shepherd it back to Dean Delany, unaware that Sean Maguire was lurking right behind him. The former Dundalk man kept his composure and poked the ball past Delany at the near post.

The opening goal seemed to shell-shock the Gypsies, who never really looked coherent again. The second came just after the hour mark, and again Anto Murphy wont be happy. A similar pass down the channel put Maguire in a chase with Murphy, but the Cork man outpaced and outmuscled the experienced defender. Maguire still had plenty to do, 15 yards out at an almost impossible angle. That his firm shot found its way through Delany’s legs and in off the opposite post will be hugely disappointing to the Bohs shot-stopper.

Long introduced Mark Quigley and Eoin Wearen in an attempt to introduce more creativity to the Gypsies’ attacking play, but Cork and their fans had their tails up. Roberto Lopes grew increasingly frustrated, and his first yellow card was well-deserved for a lunge at Gavin Holohan. His second was a little more contentious as it looked like he may have touched the ball before felling Stephen Dooley, but the game was lost long before then.

Bohs welcome Sligo Rovers to Dalymount next Friday, hoping to bounce back straight away at the beginning of a big week that sees them play the Bit O’Red, St. Pats and Wexford Youths in the space of 7 days.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Eoghan O’Connell, Alan Bennett, Kenny Browne, John Dunleavy, Greg Bolger, Gearóid Morrissey, Ian Turner (Karl Sheppard,75), Gavan Holohan (Steven Beattie, 68), Stephen Dooley (Colin Healy, 85), Sean Maguire. Subs not used: Mark O’Sullivan, Danny Morrissey, Michael McSweeney, Alan Smith.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy (Eoin Wearen, 74), Lorcan Fitzgerald, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley, Paddy Kavanagh, Jake Kelly (Mark Quigley, 66), Kurtis Byrne, Ismahil Akinade (Dan Byrne, 86). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Adam Evans, Dylan Hayes.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Ismahil Akinade

BYRNE BATTLES BACK

CABINTEELY 3 BOHEMIANS 3

A 10-minute hat-trick from debutant Kurtis Byrne saved Bohemians’ blushes away to Cabinteely in our first pre-season game of 2016 last night.

The First Division side stunned Bohs and led 3-0 thanks to goals from Michael Brown (penalty), Mark Slater and Darren Clarke.

But former Dundalk man Byrne’s goals on 71, 76 and 81 minutes salvaged a draw for the Gypsies, who welcome Shelbourne to Dalymount Park this Sunday at 2pm.

Photo Credit: Michael P Ryan

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