BRILLIANT BOHS TOPPLE THE CHAMPIONS

DUNDALK  1 – 2  BOHEMIANS

Champions, runaway league leaders, and all-conquering Dundalk were brought very much back down to earth on Friday as Keith Long’s Bohemians rolled into town, and became the first team to leave with all three points in almost two years. The Gypsies were 10 to 1 outsiders at the start of the game, but outfought their hosts in blustery conditions in Oriel Park. An early own goal and a heroic header from Dave Mulcahy gave Bohs a deserved victory, and one of the sweetest successes the team has had in recent years, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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With injuries to 4 key squad members, there was an unfamiliar look to the Bohs starting lineup, with captain Roberto Lopes filling in at right back, and new signing Ismahil Akinade leading the line up front. The new man would go on to have an extremely positive debut. He was involved in the opening goal after just two minutes as the game exploded into life.

A loose pass from Paddy Barrett allowed Akinade to slide Adam Evans through, and the winger’s shot rebounded off the crossbar. Gary Rogers had launched into a despairing dive, and found that the ball cannoned off of his back and dribbled into the net. Many Bohs fans hadn’t even secured their entry into Oriel at that stage, but the few who were in position got to share the celebrations of a bizarre goal, and a stroke of luck that often evades teams at the home of the Champions.

Under the watchful eye of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill, Dundalk quickly recovered from the shell shock, and equalised on 10 minutes. Daryl Horgan’s outswinging corner found the head of Dane Massey, who planted it into Dean Delany’s far top corner. Bohs suffered another blow five minutes later, as Stephen Best was forced off with a head injury. His centre back partner Derek Prendergast actually caught Best with a trailing foot in an attempt to clear the ball. That meant Kealan Dillon came on in midfield, with veteran Mulcahy moving into the back line.

Dundalk were certainly not at their best, and Bohs were doing well to punish loose play. The midfield trio of Dillon, Keith Buckley and Robbie Creevy were winning a lot of ball, and Akinade was holding it up expertly. Barrett and Boyle had an awful night, with Akinade outmuscling and outpacing them on numerous occasions. Dean Delany was also called into action more than once, saving well at his near post from David McMillan. Set pieces are Dundalk’s forte, and the almost scrambled a couple into the goal before half time.

The Lilywhites very clearly pressed higher up the pitch in the second half, but the considerable wind was helping Bohs, and the counter attacking led by Akinade. Dundalk’s ideas were limited, and crosses into the box were being well marshaled by Prendergast and Mulcahy. The only real threat came from Horgan on the left flank. His cross found McMillan again at the back post, but the shot was flashed over the bar.

Having sussed out Dundalk’s threat, it was time for Bohs to pounce. First it was Akinade who had a great chance, bundling past Boyle and Barrett before poking straight at Gary Rogers. Then, when Adam Evans was fouled on the left wing, it was time for the winner. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cross was pinpoint onto the head of Dave Mulcahy, who directed his header down and past Rogers at pace.

There was even time for Bohs to miss a penalty as Akinade completed his destruction of Paddy Barrett. He galloped onto a long clearance, rounded Barrett with ease, and was dragged down inside the box. Barrett was sent for an early shower, but Kealan Dillon’s spot kick was brilliantly saved low to his right by Rogers. That gave Dundalk a lift going into injury time, but the Bohs defence held firm. They now travel to Inchicore on Tuesday with a huge spring in their step.

 

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Paddy Barrett, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey (Shane Grimes, 66), Chris Shields (Stephen O’Donnell, 75), Richie Towell, John Mountney, Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan, David McMillan (Kurtis Byrne, 86). Subs Not Used: Gabriel Sava, Brian Gartland, Darren Meenan, Jake Kelly.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Roberto Lopes Derek Prendergast, Stephen Best (Kealan Dillon 17), Lorcan Fitzgerald; Karl Moore, Keith Buckley (James O’Brien, 71), Dave Mulcahy, Robbie Creevy, Adam Evans; Ismahil Akinade (Dean Kelly, 90 + 2). Subs not used: Lee Steacey, Dylan Hayes, Adam Wixted, Jake Hyland.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

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