EVERGREEN JAYO SETTLES SCRAPPY CONTEST

BOHEMIANS  2 – 1 LIMERICK

Oh, Jayo Jayo… 217 not out, the veteran striker scored yet another winning goal for his collection as Keith Long’s Bohemians leapt into the top 3 in the Airtricity League Premier Division. Just like Adam Evans in the previous game, substitute Byrne scored in the 84th minute to turn a disappointing result into a positive one. In a scrappy, scruffy contest played in wind and rain, Bohs certainly didn’t put in a stellar performance, but ground out a vital three points to continue their expectation-busting start to the 2015 season.

Bottom-dwelling Limerick came to Dalymount without a win this season, but were happy in the knowledge that they had a terrific record in Dublin 7 over the past couple of years. Martin Russell’s side caused the Bohs defence a lot of problems, but it was the guile and experience of Byrne coupled with astute tactical changes by his manager that won the night, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The home side started at a fantastic pace. Instantly from the kick off, Paddy Kavanagh’s floating cross was inviting, and Roberto Lopes got there before Limerick keeper Conor O’Donnell, but the header dropped agonizingly over the crossbar. Many Bohs fans thought the ball had dropped in, but it wasn’t to be.

Adam Evans was restored to the starting line-up after his supersub appearance against Cork, and he went on a mazy run in the 10th minute that forced a corner. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s delivery was inch-perfect, and Derek Prendergast thumped a header into the net for his first goal for the club. There was a lovely touch with his celebration, as he put the ball under his shirt to celebrate the birth of his son on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for the 1200 fans who braved the shocking May weather, that was as good as it got for Bohs for the next hour. They sat back a bit, and allowed Limerick to gain a foothold in the game. Dean Clarke was a menace to the Gypsies back four. He had the pace to beat both Dave Mulcahy and Prendergast, and used it to good effect to get Limerick pushed up the field. This didn’t translate into any clear cut chances, but gave Russell’s team confidence going into the second half.

An equalizing goal was always a possibility, and when it arrived on 52 minutes, it was as scrappy as they come. A Robbie Williams corner was flicked to the back post where Lorcan Fitzgerald was caught off guard. It bounced off the left back to the feet of a delighted Dean Clarke who turned it in from three yards.

Keith Long’s response was to introduce Marc Griffin for Kealan Dillon in the no.10 role, and but he found himself deeper than he would have liked, with Limerick still looking the more likely to get a winner. However, Long’s final double salvo was the key to the victory. Byrne replaced the tireless but ineffective Dean Kelly, who didn’t have his best night. Keith Buckley replaced Robbie Creevy, and this was combined with a positional switch between Lopes and Mulcahy. The effect was almost instantaneous. Mulcahy’s ball forward was expertly flicked on by Byrne, and Adam Evans was through on goal. His low shot was well-saved by O’Donnell.

Next, it was Griffin who had a great chance. Buckley played it forward towards Byrne, whose deft dummy left three Limerick defenders dumbfounded. It was the best piece of skill on the night, and left Griffin clean through on O’Donnell. However, the sub’s left-footed effort was struck over the crossbar. It was left to the old stager to show them how its done. Byrne collected an Adam Evans cross with his back to goal about 14 yards out. His turn and snapshot had surprising pace, and O’Donnell couldn’t get down quick enough to stop it. The celebrations in front of Block G were as delirious as we’ve seen from a Bohs team in years. Magic.

There was still time for Paddy Kavanagh to fire wide with the goal at his mercy, and even Lorcan Fitzgerald had a late chance to seal it – but O’Donnell pulled off another brilliant save. However, it was 3 points in the bag, and the Gypsies head west to Galway for a league and EA Sports Cup double header next week.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Roberto Lopes, Robbie Creevy (Keith Buckley, 75), Paddy Kavanagh, Kealan Dillon (Marc Griffin, 66), Adam Evans, Dean Kelly (Jason Byrne, 77). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, James O’Brien, Stephen Best, Karl Moore.

Limerick FC: Conor O’Donnell, Sean Harding (Jason Hughes, 45), Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Darragh Rainsford. Paudie O’Connor, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner, Shane Duggan,  Vinny Faherty (Kieran Hanlon, 78), Dean Clarke.  Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Aidan Price, Tony Whitehead, Val Feeney, Ross Mann.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Paddy Kavanagh

 

SUPERSUB EVANS PEGS BACK CORK

BOHEMIANS  1 – 1  CORK CITY

A superb 84th minute volley from birthday boy Adam Evans gave Bohemians a well-deserved point on Bank Holiday Monday, and ensured Keith Long’s men kept pace with the chasing pack in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division. The Leesiders had taken a very early lead through Mark O’Sullivan, but were otherwise unimpressive as the home side dominated possession and territory for most of the game.

With 21 points from the opening round of games, even the most optimistic of Bohemians fans could be forgiven for doing a double-take at the league table with everyone playing each other once. The Gypsies have shown a work-rate and togetherness that has simply overwhelmed many of the teams in the league so far this season, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Following his heroics in Derry last time out, Mark Griffin was given the nod up front for Bohs in place of the absent Dean Kelly. However, it was Cork’s lone frontman that blasted this game wide open after less than two minutes. Griffin lost the ball cheaply, and Cork broke at a pace that simply wasn’t seen again in the 90 minutes. Former Manchester United man Liam Miller fed Mark O’Sullivan near the edge of the box. O’Sullivan ghosted past Derek Prendergast, and hit an unstoppable right-footed drive into the top corner of the net. The Bank Holiday crowd had barely taken their seats.

Cork have been criticised for sitting back away from home this season, and this was exactly how the game panned out. Unfortunately for Bohs, they could only fashion half-chances that failed to really trouble Mark McNulty in the Cork goal. Roberto Lopes and Keith Buckley both had weak efforts that flashed wide. At the other end, O’Sullivan was making a nuisance of himself in more ways than one. He caught three Bohs players with a flailing arm / elbow on three separate occasions. Prendergast, Derek Pender, and Anto Murphy all felt the brunt of O’Sullivan’s challenges, which seemed to be intentional to the Bohs fans, but not to referee Padraig Sutton.

O’Sullivan finally landed a knockout blow on Anto Murphy just before half time. While half-heartedly attempting to hurdle Murphy’s sliding challenge, his knee connected with Murphy’s head. While the Bohs defender played on for a few more minutes, he was sensibly withdrawn at half time for Dave Mulcahy.

A feature of Keith Long’s tenure has been his excellent use of substitutions, and this proved to be the case once more. Adam Evans came on to replace Keith Buckley, and very much changed the game. His unpredictable style and injection of pace put Cork on the back-foot, and he offered more of an offensive threat than the duracell-like hard work of Buckley.

Bohs continued to knock on the door, and should really have drawn level with 10 to go. Pender slipped Marc Griffin through, and the forward’s shot was saved well by McNulty. However, the resulting bobbling ball could easily have been turned in by Jason Byrne, but somehow the Cork defence scrambled it away.

The deserved equaliser arrived just 3 minutes later. Again, Pender was involved, with his cross only partially cleared by a Cork head. The ball fell to Adam Evans, who unleashed a clinical volley into the far top corner. It was the youngster’s 4th of the season, and a peach to boot. The full time whistle more than likely left both managers disappointed. John Caulfield would have been disappointed to throw away a late lead, while Keith Long’s men could easily have taken all three points. Onwards to a home game with Limerick on Friday for a rejuvenated Bohemians.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy (Dave Mulcahy, 46), Lorcan Fitzgerald, Kealan Dillon (Jason Byrne, 71), Robbie Creevy, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley (Adam Evans, 56),  Paddy Kavanagh, Marc Griffin. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Stephen Best, James O’Brien, Karl Moore.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, John Kavanagh, Alan Bennett (Dan Murray, 41), Darren Dennehy, Ross Gaynor, Colin Healy, Liam Miller, Garry Buckley, Billy Dennehy (Kieran Djilali, 67), Mark O’Sullivan, Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrissey, 85). Subs not used: Alan Smith, Gavan Holahan, Kevin O’Connor, John O’Flynn.

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

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