Kevin Devaney emerged from the mist to fire Bohemians to an opening night victory over 10-man UCD at Dalymount Park, writes KEVIN FAGAN.  A controversial red card, two questionable penalties, and a slick Dalymount surface made for an entertaining encounter on a foggy Phibsborough evening.

Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan had predicted changes for this second instalment in an early-season trilogy of games against the Belfield outfit. He didn’t disappoint, swapping the full 11 from the team that lost out to the Students in last month’s Leinster Senior Cup defeat.


In a departure from last season’s tactics, Callaghan went for a conventional 4-4-2 formation, with Darragh Hanaphy partnering Chris Lyons in attack. Devaney started the game on the left wing before moving into the forward line with devastating effect in the second half.

After months of anticipation, the first 10 minutes of this clash was not pretty viewing for Bohs fans. Pinned in their own half by the visitors, the Gypsies had to withstand an early flurry of corner-fuelled pressure. Debutant Dean Delany flapped at one such corner, but Lyons thankfully got to the ball before the onrushing Craig Walsh. Bohs eventually grew into the game, with the midfield duo of Ryan McEvoy and Stephen Traynor controlling proceedings for large periods after that shaky opening 10.

Lyons and McEvoy both tried low free-kick drives, but both struck at the feet of the UCD wall. With neither side on top, the game exploded into life in the 20th minute. Keith Buckley found a sliver of space and clipped a lovely little ball through to Lyons, who seemed to anticipate the oncoming challenge from Mark Langtry. Lyons went down, referee Rob Rogers pointed to the spot and Langtry was on his way to the dressing room. The incident will be an interesting watch on Monday Night Soccer, and it’s very possible visiting boss Martin Russell will feel particularly aggrieved. Either way, Lyons dusted himself down and dispatched the penalty with aplomb – the first goal in the 2013 Airtricity League Premier Division.

Lyons, a former UCD player, made a nuisance of himself all night. He can be extremely pleased with his competitive debut for the Gypsies. Alongside a wonderfully composed and mature showing from Ryan McEvoy, Bohs had two outstanding performances on the night. McEvoy let fly with a rasping 30-yard drive that had pulses racing on the half-hour mark before Devaney struck the post just before half-time. His snapshot had Ger Barron beaten, but struck the outside of the upright.

The home side should really have wrapped up the game just after the break. A poor pass across the defence left Hanaphy almost clear, but he dawdled for too long and allowed Sean Russell to clear for a corner. Just a minute later, Barron’s weak clearance fell straight to Lyons, who stepped inside Hugh Douglas before firing a low shot just wide. Bohs fans could be forgiven for ruing those misses, as UCD equalised soon after.

Ref Rogers awarded the Students a penalty just 10 minutes into the second period. UCD sub Robbie Creevy’s shot was carelessly spilled by Delany, who in his haste to rectify the error, clashed with David McMillan in the box. Arguably another soft decision, but luckily for Bohs, Delany received only a yellow card. McMillan, brother of former Bohs star Evan, sent the ex-Shelbourne keeper the wrong way to even things up.

In response, Callaghan made what turned out to be a decisive substitution. Hanaphy was replaced by Karl Moore who slotted on to the left – pushing Devaney into the centre alongside Lyons. Barely five minutes after coming on, Moore beat Hugh Douglas for pace and stood a tantalising ball to the back post. Lyons jumped with Russell, and the ball broke to Devaney, who coolly smashed home from 10 yards out.

Devaney almost made the points safe with 15 minutes to go. He managed to get himself in the way of a trademark McEvoy strike, but the ball fell kindly and he was able to swivel a shot past Barron. Unfortunately for Devaney, this time it struck the inside of the post and flashed across the goal to safety.

Bar a few set-piece scares, Bohs saw out the final few minutes without much incident. Special mention to Owen Heary playing in the first game of his 21st and final League of Ireland season. He marshalled the defence from centre-half, and will be delighted along with Callaghan with the valuable opening three points. Next up for Bohs – you guessed it – it’s UCD again in the EA Sports Cup on Monday before an interesting trip to Turner’s Cross next Friday. It’s good to be back!

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Owen Heary, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Michael Barker, 71), Kevin Devaney, Darragh Hanaphy (Karl Moore, 60), Chris Lyons (Dave Scully, 88). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Shane Murray, Ciaran Nangle, Stephen Paisley.

UCD: Ger Barron, Tomas Boyle, David O’Connor, Hugh Douglas (Gary Burke, 79), Mark Langtry, Sean Russell, Craig Walsh (Robert Creevy, 56), James Kavanagh, Dean Clarke, Robbie Benson, David McMcMillan. Subs not used:  Mark McGinley, Barry McCabe, Dinny Corcoran, Tyrone McNelis, Samir Belhout.

Attendance: 1,368

Bohs Man of the Match: Ryan McEvoy

(Picture by Eddie Lennon shows Kevin Devaney celebrating his winner with (l-r) Keith Buckley, Chris Lyons, Karl Moore and Stephen Traynor.) View more of Eddie’s pics on our Facebook page!

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