Bohemians 3 Shamrock Rovers 1 by Simon Alcock


A truly amazing 2015 season reached its unbelievable peak for Bohemians as they obliterated fierce rivals Shamrock Rovers with a second half performance that displayed everything great about this team and club. Passion, determination, hard work, and skill combined to overturn a half-time deficit, and condemn the Hoops to their first defeat of the season. With Dundalk’s unbeaten run ended by the Gypsies last week, Keith Long’s men are fast becoming the most feared team in the land.

6 points from three games in a week against full-time professional sides is nothing short of superb, and it was nothing more than Bohs deserved with three goals in the last 15 minutes following sustained second half pressure. In yet another fairytale story, Bohs supersub Dean Kelly left his sister’s wedding reception to play, and walked away with a brace of late goals that won the game in dramatic fashion, writes KEVIN FAGAN.


Bohs boss Long was boosted by the return of experienced duo Anto Murphy and Dave Mulcahy, while Jake Hyland was given a rare start in midfield. Rovers began with only one fit striker on the books, and it was youngster Gareth McCaffrey who led the line for the visitors. It was the Hoops who began the game better. Their midfield trio of Stephen McPhail, Pat Cregg and Brandon Miele controlled the early stages.

Rovers looked dangerous down the right hand side, and Simon Madden was brought down by Lorcan Fitzgerald in the 9th minute. McPhail whipped in a pinpoint cross, and Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters ghosted in to head home unmarked from six yards. His freedom in the box was unexplained, much like the ‘Marty’ part of his name, and Rovers took an early lead.

Things didn’t get much better for Bohs in the first half hour. Izzy Akinade was isolated up front, and the Gypsies struggled to keep hold of possession in the midfield third. No such problem for Rovers, who threatened from a set piece again when a Gary McCabe corner was headed wide by David Webster. Bohs only real chance in the first half fell to the returning Anto Murphy, but he scuffed his effort from Lorcan Fitzgerald’s free kick.

It took Bohs about 30 minutes to really get into the game – and credit must go to Keith Buckley. The midfielder was relentless in his hassling and harrying of Rovers, and his winning of challenges audibly lifted the Jodi Stand. He combined with Jake Hyland to set up Bohs first shot, but Hyland dragged it tamely wide. It felt as if half time might be coming at the wrong time for Bohs – that it might halt the momentum. No chance!

What followed was a masterclass in how to turn around a Derby match. Bohs simply decided that they wanted to win this game more than Rovers, who predictably retreated into their shells. The hordes in the Des Kelly Stand grew quieter and quieter as Pat Fenlon’s men were overrun by a rampant, revitalised Bohemian side. Buckley was at the heart of it, and he set up the Gypsies’ first big chance. A beautifully weighted ball took out the Rovers back line, and found Akinade’s chest just inside the box. However, the ball ran just a touch too far ahead of him, and Craig Hyland got their in time.

Rovers’ only second half chance came after Derek Prendergast’s pass was cut out by McPhail, who lifted it over the top for McCaffrey. The youngster’s shot was brilliantly saved by Dean Delany, who stuck out a foot to keep Bohs in the game. Prendergast decided to make up for his mistake in the best way possible.

With 14 minutes to go, it was that man Lorcan Fitzgerald who produced yet another brilliant set piece. His pinpoint outswinging corner found Prendergast at the edge of the six yard box, and the defender rocketed a header in off the crossbar. It was a thumping, aggressive header – and brave too. He could have got an almighty whack, but nothing was stopping him from getting to that ball first. The Jodi Stand erupted, and there was only going to be one winner from there. You could sense it.

After attending his sister’s wedding ceremony this morning, you could forgive Dean Kelly for being distracted. But he was busy and pro-active from the moment he came onto the field. And when his chance came, he took it. Again, Fitzgerald was the instigator. This time, his inswinging free kick from right in front of the Bohs dugout did the trick. It fell right onto Kelly’s head at the back post. The finish wasn’t pretty, it came off his shoulder and looped into the net – but you try tell that to the masses in the Jodi Stand, who were close to combusting with joy.

There was even time for a cherry on the icing on the cake. Rovers, in a rare break from the norm, actually pushed men forward, and the gaps were ruthlessly exploited. Akinade was sent clear down the left flank, and beat the onrushing Craig Hyland to the ball. With the keeper out of the game, the Nigerian striker got himself on his feet, looked up, and delivered a beautiful floated cross to the unmarked Kelly, who tapped in to cap a truly memorable evening.

A fitting way to close the book on a terrific, expectation-busting first half of the season for Keith Long’s Bohemians. If the second half of the season is anywhere near as fantastic as tonight’s second half performance, we’re in for a treat.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Karl Moore, Keith Buckley (Kealan Dillon, 85), Roberto Lopes, Jake Hyland (Dean Kelly, 72), Adam Evans, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Caffrey, Robert Duggan, James O’Brien, Adam Wixted.

Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland, Simon Madden, Conor Kenna (Tim Clancy, 46), David Webster, Luke Byrne, Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, Pat Cregg, Gary McCabe, Stephen McPhail, Brandon Miele (Ryan Brennan, 81), Gareth McCaffrey (Gavin Brennan, 70). Subs not used: Barry Murphy, David O’Connor, Cian Kavanagh, Dylan Kavanagh.

Mr.Green Man of the Match: Keith Buckley

Website by Simon Alcock