A dramatic injury time equaliser from Ryan McEvoy stretched Bohemians’ unbeaten run against their fiercest rivals after a terrific away performance at Tallaght Staduim. The Gypsies were clearly the better side against their supposedly superior opponents, who only took the lead following a ridiculous penalty decision from referee Neil Doyle. It’s now over a year since Rovers have picked up three points against Bohs, and the pantomime boos from the home fans at the full-time whistle will only increase the pressure on manager Trevor Croly, writes KEVIN FAGAN.


Despite suspensions for Chris Lyons and Roberto Lopes and an injury to Owen Heary, Bohs dominated in midfield areas, restricted the Hoops to long-range efforts, and looked extremely dangerous on the counter attack. Andy Mulligan was a constant threat, Dave Scully held the ball up brilliantly, and Dave Mulcahy was a rock at centre back. Only a dreadfully poor refereeing performance from Neil Doyle denied Bohs what would have been a deserved 3-points.

The visitors had the first chance after a fine break down the left. The returning Ciaran Nangle cut the ball back to Mulligan whose whipped cross was inches from Scully’s head. Bohs continued to control the game and after a scrambled corner, Dave Mulcahy nodded to Derek Pender who flashed a left-footed volley just wide of the post.  The excellent Mulcahy released Mulligan again down the left on 25 minutes, and the Carlow man was caught in two minds whether to cross or shoot. In the end he did neither, and his effort didn’t trouble Barry Murphy in the Rovers goal.

Rovers’ only first half chance came predictably from a set piece. Billy Dennehy’s whipped corner found the head of Ciaran Kilduff. His header from six yards had goal written all over it, but Dean Delany somehow managed to claw it onto the crossbar and over. The Bohs net minder has come in for a fair amount of criticism this season, but showed here why he’s been playing at the top level in the country for so long.

Rovers started to come into the game just before half time, and the whistle probably came at a good time for Aaron Callaghan’s men. After regrouping at the break, Bohs took control of the second half. The midfield trio of Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley and Shane Murray were bossing the game, finding spaces in between the lethargic Rovers duo of Finn and Robinson. Ten minutes into the second half, Buckley released Mulligan – who haunted Conor McCormack all night. Mulligan’s cutback found Scully, but the forward’s shot was rather weak and David Elebert blocked on the line.

Bohs were constantly creating half-chances, with long range efforts from Buckley and Scully flashing wide of Barry Murphy’s goal. At the other end it was a similar story. Ronan Finn had Rovers’ best long ranger, but Dean Delany didn’t have to make any saves in the second period.

A theme running throughout this pulsating Derby was the truly awful refereeing performance from Neil Doyle. A host of 50-50 calls went the wrong way for both sides, players were fooling him with exaggerated falls, and he dished out amazing yellow cards to Mulcahy and Scully. The icing on the cake came in the 80th minute when he gave Rovers a penalty with a decision that would have almost been comical if it wasn’t so important. Sean O’Connor’s cross fell to Andy Mulligan who tried to hook the ball over his head. Instead, he clumsily kicked it off his own face – but Doyle thought otherwise and pointed to the spot. TV replays clearly showed the ball striking Mulligan in the mouth – he even had a bloody lip to show for it! Ronan Finn sent Delany the wrong way and it looked like the Hoops had stolen the points. Doyle had even managed to miss a shocking two-footed lunge from Shane Robinson on Dave Scully just a couple of minutes before that. Many managers and pundits have commented on the standard of refereeing in the league so far this year, and this was another exhibition of poor decision making.

Luckily for Bohs, sweet Karma was smiling down as the sun set over the Wicklow horizon. With two minutes of injury time played, a long throw from Luke Byrne was only partially cleared to Ryan McEvoy in the box. Time stood still as he kept his head, kept the shot low, and sent the travelling support into a delirious frenzy. It may have taken a deflection, but tell that to the Bohs fans who had backed the team all night in the ground where they have suffered so much heartbreak. They could easily be forgiven for the pitch invasion that followed, it was a classic moment in another classic game between these two great rivals.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Conor McCormack, Derek Foran (Ken Oman 68), Jason McGuinness, David Elebert; Gary McCabe (Karl Sheppard 79), Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson, Billy Dennehy (Sean O’Connor 59); Thomas Stewart, Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Richard Brush, Alan Kehoe, Stephen Rice, James Chambers.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nangle (Michael Scott 87); Kevin Devaney (Michael Barker 67), Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley, Andy Mulligan; Shane Murray (Karl Moore 67); Dave Scully. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Kevin O’Leary, Shane Fitzgerald, Dwayne Wilson.

Bohs Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

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