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.
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.