UCD 0 – 3 BOHEMIANS
Owen Heary’s Bohemians got their league campaign off to the perfect start with a dominant away performance on campus at the Belfield Bowl.
Goals from Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran and an inevitable late strike from Jason Byrne gave the Gypsies a well-deserved win with a scoreline that certainly didn’t flatter the away side.
Clearly impressed with last week’s demolition of Bray Wanderers in the Leinster Senior Cup, Heary made just one change from that side, with Karl Moore replacing Andy Mulligan on the left wing.
However, it was the man just inside him that had the Bohs fans murmuring with intrigue throughout the night. Although this is only the opening gambit of the 2014 league season, the acquisition of Paddy Kavanagh in the winter might well prove to be inspired, writes KEVIN FAGAN.
The Belfield Bowl isn’t exactly the best place to whip up a season-opening atmosphere, but an expectant and boisterous away crowd welcomed a green boot-clad Bohs on to the field. The opening 15 minutes were as cagey as an opening game can get, but gradually the away side started to assume control.
The opening goal almost came in the 17th minute. Kavanagh drifted into space before releasing Steven Beattie, whose cross fell to Moore at the back post. Moore’s hooked effort came back off the post and Corcoran couldn’t quite net the rebound.
The middle period of the first half featured Bohs at their most dominant away from home in quite some time. Much of that impetus came from Craig Walsh, who stomped his way around the park in a Gary Deegan-esque manner. He aggressively broke up play alongside Dave Mulcahy, which allowed Kavanagh to weave his magic in the attacking third.
Walsh himself broke quickly onto a loose ball in the 19th minute, but his eventual shot was well parried by Conor O’Donnell in the UCD goal.
Kavanagh’s influence was increasing, and more neat play from him on the left sideline led to a deep Jack Memery cross being headed against the crossbar by Corcoran. A Kavanagh shot led to a series of Bohs corners before the deadlock was finally broken on the 35th minute.
When the former Derry man received the ball just inside the left touchline, there was little danger for UCD. However, one effortless shimmy later, he found a kernel of space just inside the angle of the 18 yard box. From there, he unleashed a fabulous curling effort that was postage stamped, delivered, and signed for in the top corner. It proved to be the first goal of the 2014 Airtricity League season.
Bohs couldn’t quite press on and get the second before half time, but 1-0 flattered the students at the break to be fair. Former Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan has a lot of work to do at Belfield, and most at Dalymount would send nothing but good will his way.
Every single game in the Airtricity League will feature a stage where the opposition is in the ascendancy, and this occurred in the first ten minutes of the second half here. UCD, as ever, have some neat footballers in their squad, and Dean Clarke flashed their first real half-chance over the bar on 49 minutes. However, just as the Students looked to be clawing their way back into the game, Dinny Corcoran struck.
The lone frontman had performed admirably all game, and finally got a deserved goal just after the hour mark. This one was all his own making – having shrugged off the ample frame of Ian Ryan, Corcoran checked back to beat the same man again before applying the finish.
The ball cannoned off of the right hand post, and agonizingly fell over the line. Even if it hadn’t, Beattie would have tapped in any scraps that came back out. Corcoran deserved his standing ovation when he was replaced by Byrne for the final five minutes.
Is there anything more that can be said about Byrne? When he scored with his first touch of the ball, there was nothing surprising about it! The bustling Beattie picked up the ball on the right wing, checked inside, and let fly with a powerful 25-yard strike that O’Donnell could only parry.
You Know Who was on-hand to head the rebound into the net for his 208th goal in Irish football. His 87th minute strike was also his record ninth opening round goal since the league split in 1985. Every Bohs player was roundly applauded off by a delighted away crowd.
Next up in the league for Bohs is a home clash with Drogheda United, who were impressive home winners against last season’s runners up Dundalk. Before all that, Bohs have to pack up their notes and head back to UCD for an EA Sports Cup clash on Monday night. A study of this performance would be the perfect homework assignment.
UCD: Conor O’Donnell, Michael Barker, Ian Ryan, Tomás Boyle, Gareth Matthews, James Kavanagh (Cillian Morrison, 78), Robbie Creevy, Chris Mulhall, Ayman Ben Mohamad (Samir Belhout, 60), Robbie Benson, Dean Clarke. Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Hugh Douglas, Gary Burke, Cillian Morrison, Dwayne Wilson, Michael Scott, Samir Belhout
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Stephen Beattie, Craig Walsh, Dave Mulcahy (Ryan McEvoy, 57) , Karl Moore (Keith Buckley, 76), Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran (Jason Byrne, 85). Subs not used: Lee Murphy, Stephen Traynor, Kevin Devaney, Philly McCabe.