SEAGULLS’ WIN SETS UP MASSIVE CUP CLASH

BRAY WANDERERS  3 – 1  BOHEMIANS

Battling Bray Wanderers took a big step towards Airtricity League survival with a convincing 3-1 win over a much-changed Bohemians team in the Carlisle Grounds on Monday night. Mick Cooke’s men upped the ante ahead of the FAI Cup meeting between the two with a passionate performance as they came from behind to take all three points. The result continues a worrying trend for Bohemians, who have now lost their last three away games, conceding 11 goals in the process, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Keith Long made five changes to the team that defeated Galway on Friday, with Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Keith Buckley, Dave Mulcahy and Ismahil Akinade all given a rest from the starting line-up with the big Cup game in mind. Bohs new signings Eoin Wearen and Jake Kelly are cup tied for Friday’s game, so both started here.

With five wins from their last 6 games, Bray were understandably in confident form, and started the game much brighter than the visitors. Wanderers captain David Cassidy was the first to threaten, forcing a smart save from Dean Delany, while Peter McGlynn on the opposite wing was in flying form. He terrorized Dylan Hayes, and forced an excellent near-post save from Delany after being played through by Cassidy.

When Bohs took the lead in the 20th minute, it was against the run of play. Ploughing a lone furrow up front, Jason Byrne forced a corner which Lorcan Fitzgerald whipped in. Goalkeeper Peter Cherrie could only punch the ball onto the head of one of hos own defenders, and the ball fell favourably for Robbie Creevy, who had the simple task of nodding into the empty net.

Unfortunately for Bohs, that was as good as it got for the whole evening. Almost from the restart, Bray went up the other end and set about unsettling the Gypsies defence. Chris Lyons nipped onto the ball just inside the box, and was dispossessed by a strong tackle from Eoin Wearen. Bizarrely, referee Robert Harvey pointed to the spot. No Bray players had really appealed for a foul. A truly, truly awful decision, and Bohs were punished when Lyons dusted himself down to convert the spot kick.

The away side were further aggrieved when a dangerous tackle by Hugh Douglas was only punished by a yellow card. Wearen, the recipient, needed stitches in a head wound, but there was confusion as the dressing rooms were locked. Wearen received some treatment in an ambulance, but the process was taking too long and Bohs were forced into a change, with Kealan Dillon coming on. Goalscorer Creevy also seemed to receive a dead leg after an Alan McNally tackle, and was replaced by Dave Mulcahy at half time.

The second half was only three minutes old when Bray grabbed a deserved lead. Roberto Lopes, who endured a thoroughly miserable night, sold Delany short with a terrible back pass. Lyons picked it up and squared to Peter McGlynn, who finished well from 12 yards.

Jason Byrne was also struggling against his old club, and Bohs only really started to look dangerous when Ismahil Akinade came on. The Nigerian powered past McNally with his first contribution, but couldn’t quite square the ball across to Jake Kelly as Cherrie got to him in time to force a corner.

With Bohs piling forward in search of the equaliser, they began to get caught out on the break. Substitute Dave Scully, a familiar face to all at Dalymount, should really have sealed the points with 5 minutes to go, but could only fire into the side netting after rounding Delany. However, Scully had the last laugh when he scored a fine goal in injury time. After receiving a square pass from Gareth McDonagh, he evaded Stephen Best’s challenge and fired into the top corner. Celebrating in front of the Bohs fans left some with a sour taste, but small sections had been giving the former Gypsy some stick.

All eyes now turn to Friday night’s clash at Dalymount Park. Bray will be upbeat after this result, but Bohs have some big hitters to return to the starting line up.

Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Hugh Douglas, Alan McNally, Niall Cooney, Michael Barker, John Sullivan, Ryan McEvoy, David Cassidy, Graham Kelly, Peter McGlynn (Dave Scully, 70), Chris Lyons (Gareth McDonagh, 85). Subs not used: Sean Fogarty, Luke Fitzpatrick, Daniel O’Reilly, Adam Wixted, Adam Mitchell.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes,  Roberto Lopes, Stephen Best, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Eoin Wearen (Kealan Dillon, 33), James O’Brien, Robbie Creevy (Dave Mulcahy 46), Jake Kelly, Jason Byrne (Ismahil Akinade, 60). Subs not used: Lee Stacey, Keith Buckley, Adam Evans, Jason Caffrey.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Dean Delany

LIMERICK PREVAIL IN 7-GOAL THRILLER

LIMERICK  4 – 3  BOHEMIANS

Seven goals, two penalties, a red card, and more – just an average Saturday evening in Market’s Field as Bohemians crashed to their second disappointing away defeat in a week. Following the loss to Cork City last week, few would have expected the Gypsies to concede another 4 goals against the Airtricity League’s bottom side. But unfortunately for Keith Long’s men, they surrendered 2-1 and 3-2 leads to a passionate Limerick team that had been reduced to ten men just after the break.

Long shuffled the pack after the Cork defeat, and switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation with Jake Kelly playing in behind Izzy Akinade up front. Jason Caffrey made his first league start at left back as Roberto Lopes returned to the centre of midfield. However, as the game kicked off in the spitting rain, no one could have predicted what was to follow, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Limerick had their tails up following their first victory of the season against Sligo last week, and started with intent, with wingers Lee-J Lynch and Shane Treacy causing both Bohs full backs problems. The opening goal came unsurprisingly from a cross, with full-back Ian Turner delivering a perfect whipped ball onto the head of Vinny Faherty, who leapt above Anto Murphy and produced a fine header into the top corner of Dean Delany’s net. The 800-strong home crowd were already dreaming of survival.

Bohs clicked into life, and Jake Kelly should have scored when he found himself all alone in front of goal following a Paddy Kavanagh cross, but the former Dundalk man delayed too long, and allowed Freddy Hall to make the save. The equaliser came with five minutes to go before half time. This time Kelly was the provider, launching an inch-perfect corner onto Izzy Akinade’s head. The big striker made no mistake from six yards, nodding past Hall to send the teams in level.

The Gypsies came flying out of the traps in the second half, and Akinade produced what looked to be the decisive moment in the 51st minute. Reacting to a long throw from Anto Murphy, he bulled past Patrick Kanyuka, and was through on goal before the defender hauled him down. It was an easy decision for referee Sean Grant – penalty for Bohs and a red card for Kanyuka. Jake Kelly stepped up and rifled the penalty home for his first Bohs goal – and bookies would have paid out on an away win.

However, the Russell family had other ideas. Manager Martin sent on his son Sean, and within two minutes, the youngster had equalised with an amazing strike. The substitute unleashed a fearsome snapshot from 25 yards that flashed past Delany before he could even move. The pendulum swung back in Bohs favour on 68 minutes. This time, Lopes put Kelly through, and the new man got his second with a neat finish inside Hall’s near post. 3-2 Bohs, but there was much more drama to come.

Full credit to Limerick, they sensed weakness in the Bohs backline and punished it. The 3-3 equaliser was scored by Lee Lynch, who volleyed home following a corner scramble. Then, incredibly, the home side took the lead with 15 to go. Robbie Creevy, only just on for the injured Anto Murphy, hauled down Dean Clarke just inside the box. Bohs protested that the foul originated outside the area, but referee Grant was happy to award his second spot kick of the night. Shane Treacy’s penalty was un-saveable – pinging in off the inside of the post.

With 15 minutes to save it, Bohs missed a couple of unbelievable chances. Akinade had a shot wonderfully blocked by Robbie Williams, but Dave Mulachy had the best chance of all. With the game entering injury time, Mulcahy found himself 8 yards out with only Hall to beat, but blazed wide and over. It summed up the evening for Bohs, who headed back up the M7 with much to ponder.

Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner (Seán Russell, 56), Lee-J Lynch, Dean Clarke (Darragh Rainsford, 86), Vinny Faherty. Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Tony Whitehead, Paudie O’Connor, Ross Mann, Cyril Guedjé.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy (Robbie Creevy, 70), Derek Prendergast, Dave Mulcahy, Jason Caffrey, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley (Kealan Dillon, 88), Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 70), Jake Kelly, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Dean Mahon, Jason Byrne, James O’Brien, Stephen Best.
BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Jake Kelly

LAST-GASP LONGFORD SPOIL CELEBRATORY MOOD

LONGFORD TOWN  2 – 1 BOHEMIANS

Bohemians suffered consecutive league defeats for the first time this season as Longford Town claimed a smash-and-grab victory at the City Calling Stadium. In a scenario similar to last week, the Gypsies conceded a sloppy winner in the dying minutes of the game. Off the field, it was all smiles with the future of Dalymount secured, but on the field, it wasn’t to be.

Keith Long’s men had numerous chances in both halves, but struggled at the other end, with goalkeeper Dean Delany keeping them in it with a string of top class saves in the first half, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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With the evening sun shining beautifully into the away fans’ eyes, the home side were straight out of the blocks, and grabbed the lead after just three minutes. Robbie Creevy was dispossessed too easily in midfield, and one pass later, David O’Sullivan was in on goal. The striker tucked the ball past Delany into the corner to give Tony Cousins’ side a dream start.

Wearing their changed green strip, it took Bohs a good 20 minutes to string a meaningful move together. Lovely hold up play from Ismahil Akinade and a splayed pass from Robbie Creevy put the returning Paddy Kavanagh away on the right, but his shot / pull-back was just inches away from Adam Evans at the back post.

Evans had another glorious chance minutes later. Akinade was involved again, brushing Mark Rossiter aside before unleashing a shot that was blocked right into Evans’ path, but his effort was blazed into the car park.

At the other end, Dean Delany was extremely busy. First, he tipped a Mark Salmon effort brilliantly over the bar, and then had to claw a Gary Shaw header away. A hoofed Steven Rice clearance somehow turned into a clear run for O’Sullivan, but Delany was out quick and saved well with his legs.

If the Bohs keeper was on top form, it was nothing compared to what Paul Skinner pulled off on 35 minutes. A long Anto Murphy throw in was flicked on by Derek Prendergast, and Robbie Creevy simply buried a header from 4 yards. However, Skinner somehow managed to save the ball and hook it over the bar. As good a point-blank save as you’ll ever see.

Bohs continued to dominate possession in the second half, and you felt an equaliser was coming. Akinade was superb throughout. He flicked a long Anto Murphy ball onto Keith Buckley, and raced onto Buckley’s lovely back-heeled return. However, the Nigerian’s toe-poked shot was just wide of Skinner’s post.

Eventually, the big man was going to make it count, and did so on 67 minutes. The hard surface of the pitch bounced a ball up, and a hesitant Longford defense allowed Akinade to bull his way through on goal. He flicked the ball past Skinner, and Keith Buckley bundled it in for good measure. The ball would more than likely have been cleared by Conor Powell, so Buckley’s intervention was essential.

From that point, it would seem that Bohs would go on and win it, but the equaliser seemed to re-invigorate Longford. A draw would probably have been a fair result, but Bohs switched off in the 88th minute, and were punished. A long ball forward was only flicked on by Dave Mulcahy, and Anto Murphy got his legs entangled, allowing Pat Sullivan to get a shot away. Prendergast managed to block the initial effort, but the ball fell to substitute Ayman Ben Mohamed, who slapped a low shot in off Delany. Ecstasy for the home fans, a forlorn journey back up the N4 for the Gypsies.

Longford Town: Paul Skinner, Pat Sullivan, Mark Rossiter (Willie Tyrell, 26), Conor Powell, Stephen Rice, Mark Salmon (Lorcan Shannon, 74), Gary Shaw, Kevin O’Connor, Jack Doherty (Ayman Ben Mohamed, 56), Rhys Gorman, David O Sullivan. Subs not used: Paul Hunt, James Mulhall, Martin Deady, Kaleem Simon.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald (Stephen Best, 67), Paddy Kavanagh, Keith Buckley, Roberto Lopes, Robbie Creevy (Kealan Dillon, 85), Adam Evans (Karl Moore, 58), Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Byrne, James O’Brien, Jake Hyland.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Ismahil Akinade

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