It was billed as a Bank Holiday Blockbuster – but the first big Dublin Derby of the season failed to live up to expectations as Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers played out a goalless draw in front of a strong 4,000 crowd at a bitterly cold Dalymount Park, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

Bohs struggled to break down a determined 10-man Shamrock Rovers side who did little to justify their tag as one of the favourites for the title. Derek Foran’s first half red card handed the initiative for the Gypsies, who despite controlling the game for large patches, failed to create any real clear cut chances.


Unfortunately for Bohs, the one real negative is the Dalymount surface. Visibly bobbly at the start of the game, the pitch got worse and worse as the match progressed until eventually, simple 10-yard passes became extremely difficult. That said, the Gypsies midfield duo of Stephen Traynor and Ryan McEvoy were far superior to their Hooped counterparts, and Aaron Callaghan will definitely be the more disappointed manager after this one.

Even when the game was 11 v 11, Bohs were the brighter team. The opening quarter saw a pattern developing with McEvoy and Traynor feeding Karl Moore, who was in flying form. The winger was torturing Rovers captain Pat Sullivan, and put in a few good early crosses that had the visitors’ defence scrambling to clear. Sullivan himself launched a trademark pile-driver that had Dean Delany scrambling, but it flashed just over.

In an extremely niggly affair, Shamrock Rovers were clearly rattled by the pace and high-pressing game exhibited by Callaghan’s men. At the forefront of this quick-footed nippiness were Moore and striker Chris Lyons. The former UCD frontman was causing Jason McGuinness and his central partner Derek Foran all kinds of problems. With 10 minutes to go to half-time, Lyons skipped past Foran who caught him with a crunching lunge. A simple yellow-card decision for referee Neil Doyle. Unfortunately for Lyons, he never recovered from the tackle and was replaced by Shane Murray.

The game seemed to have swung Bohs’ way when Foran received his marching orders just five minutes after getting his first card. This time it was Moore who beat him to the ball. Foran’s reckless tackle was just a split-second late, but still offered Doyle no choice but to flash a second yellow. The lack of complaint from anyone in green and white was the tell-tale sign.

Bohs were well on top before and after the half time whistle. McEvoy and Traynor were particularly impressive. Traynor had what was certainly one of his best games in a Bohs shirt. He exuded a calmness and presence on the ball, and also offered plenty of slaloming runs through his apparently more illustrious midfield opponents in James Chambers and Shane Robinson.

Rovers players seemed to mirror the mood of their unusually subdued fans. While the Tallaght club sold out their allocation, the hundreds gathered in the Des Kelly Stand offered little in terms of atmosphere. The Bohs fans, however were in fine voice, but just couldn’t roar their team on to what would have been a deserved victory.

Chances were few and far between to say the least. The most excitement in the second half was a dipping and swerving Moore shot that had Barry Murphy flapping. The fact that Dave Scully’s booking for an outrageous dive was also a highlight tells the tale of a true Derby stalemate. The result leaves Bohs on four points with a win, a loss, and a draw for Callaghan’s men to start the season. The Dublin Derbies are coming thick and fast – next up for Bohs is a trip to Inchicore to face St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Owen Heary, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor, Karl Moore (Darragh Hanaphy, 83), Dave Scully, Chris Lyons (Shane Murray, 37 (Dwayne Wilson, 73) ). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Conor O’Brien, Ciaran Nangle, Michael Barker.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy, Pat Sullivan, Jason McGuinness, Derek Foran, Conor Powell, Shane Robinson, Stephen Rice, James Chambers (Ciaran Kilduff, 57), Billy Dennehy, Karl Sheppard (Sean O’Connor, 76), Thomas Stewart (David Elebert, 43). Subs not used: Richard Brush, Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn, Conor McCormack.

Attendance: 4,000

Bohs Man of the Match: Stephen Traynor.

(Pic, by Eddie Lennon, shows Karl Moore tackling Rovers’ Pat Sullivan. View more of Eddie’s pics on our Facebook page.

Website by Simon Alcock