SHELBOURNE 0 BOHEMIANS 1
Kevin Devaney fired Bohemians to their second win of the season in a hotly-contested North Dublin Derby at Tolka Park on a bitterly cold Easter Monday.
Aaron Callaghan’s white knights were no April Fools as Devaney’s fifth-minute strike was enough to send the Gypsies into the top half thanks to this victory over 10-man Shelbourne, writes KEVIN FAGAN.
Bar a 15-minute period of intense pressure early in the second half, Bohs were definitely the better side against a Shelbourne team still looking for their first win of the season.
The visitors’ midfield trio of Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy and Stephen Traynor controlled what was often a scrappy affair, with neither side able to fully commit to passes due to the bobbly and uneven Tolka Park pitch.
Following a disappointing defeat but a promising performance against champions Sligo Rovers on Friday, Bohs came out of the blocks all guns blazing against their near-neighbours. Traynor’s slaloming run forced an early corner, which was whipped in by McEvoy. Stephen Paisley, in for the injured Owen Heary, miskicked in the six-yard box, and the ball fell to Devaney, who fired a low drive into the bottom corner of Niall Burdon’s net.
It was the kind of start that Callaghan would have dreamed about, and the Gypsies continued in a confident vein. Ciaran Nangle and Devaney were occupying the flanks to good effect, while the bustling Dave Scully was proving a nuisance to the Shelbourne defence.
The home side’s captain Ian Ryan was booked for a particularly high challenge on Nangle, while Devaney saw yellow for an unfortunate slip that comically clattered former Bohs man Robert “Boccer” Bayly.
Bohs forced a string of first-half corners but just couldn’t quite find a second goal that would have been richly deserved at the break. Devaney could have doubled his tally but for a last-ditch block by Brian Shortall with the goal gaping. Shelbourne, and Philly Hughes in particular, had a couple of half-chances, but Dean Delany was never really troubled.
Whatever Alan Matthews said to his charges at half-time, it definitely worked. The home side were a different animal after the break and Bohs found themselves pinned in their own half. A series of free-kicks and corners brought a couple of good saves from Delany, while Paisley and Roberto Lopes were kept busy by a smattering of long balls into the Bohs box.
One of these was cleared out to Bayly 25 yards out, and he screamed a shot that cannoned back off the crossbar. That seemed to shake Bohs back into life, and the introduction of Dwayne Wilson also relieved some pressure. The gangly and unorthodox Wilson managed to win a few frees with a series of powerful runs, providing much-needed relief to a stretched Bohs back-line.
Bohs got the cushion of an extra man with 20 minutes remaining. Wilson fed Scully in space, and after the striker flicked it past Ian Ryan, he found himself body-checked to the ground. Referee Sutton had no choice but to give Ryan a second yellow. After that, Bohs could well have had a second but for some lax play in the final third.
The excellent Mulcahy marauded forward on more than one occasion, but after he set Wilson through, the sub could only shoot at Burdon’s feet. Bohs saw out the final minutes without incident, and can go into Friday’s televised clash with Derry City with renewed confidence.
Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Robert Cornwall (Mark Leech, 86), Ian Ryan, Brian Shortall, Jack Memery, Adam Hanlon, Pat Flynn, Paul Crowley, Robert Bayly (Stephen Hurley, 82), Dean Kelly, Philly Hughes. Subs not used: Sean Brennan, Alex Prizeman, Craig Mooney, Darren Tinnelly, Eoin Comerford.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Paisley, Luke Byrne; Ciaran Nangle, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Dwayne Wilson, 64), David Mulcahy; Kevin Devaney (Keith Buckley, 77), Dave Scully. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Shane Murray, Karl Moore, Michael Barker, Andy Mulligan.
Bohs Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy