SUPERSUB EVANS PEGS BACK CORK

BOHEMIANS  1 – 1  CORK CITY

A superb 84th minute volley from birthday boy Adam Evans gave Bohemians a well-deserved point on Bank Holiday Monday, and ensured Keith Long’s men kept pace with the chasing pack in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division. The Leesiders had taken a very early lead through Mark O’Sullivan, but were otherwise unimpressive as the home side dominated possession and territory for most of the game.

With 21 points from the opening round of games, even the most optimistic of Bohemians fans could be forgiven for doing a double-take at the league table with everyone playing each other once. The Gypsies have shown a work-rate and togetherness that has simply overwhelmed many of the teams in the league so far this season, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Following his heroics in Derry last time out, Mark Griffin was given the nod up front for Bohs in place of the absent Dean Kelly. However, it was Cork’s lone frontman that blasted this game wide open after less than two minutes. Griffin lost the ball cheaply, and Cork broke at a pace that simply wasn’t seen again in the 90 minutes. Former Manchester United man Liam Miller fed Mark O’Sullivan near the edge of the box. O’Sullivan ghosted past Derek Prendergast, and hit an unstoppable right-footed drive into the top corner of the net. The Bank Holiday crowd had barely taken their seats.

Cork have been criticised for sitting back away from home this season, and this was exactly how the game panned out. Unfortunately for Bohs, they could only fashion half-chances that failed to really trouble Mark McNulty in the Cork goal. Roberto Lopes and Keith Buckley both had weak efforts that flashed wide. At the other end, O’Sullivan was making a nuisance of himself in more ways than one. He caught three Bohs players with a flailing arm / elbow on three separate occasions. Prendergast, Derek Pender, and Anto Murphy all felt the brunt of O’Sullivan’s challenges, which seemed to be intentional to the Bohs fans, but not to referee Padraig Sutton.

O’Sullivan finally landed a knockout blow on Anto Murphy just before half time. While half-heartedly attempting to hurdle Murphy’s sliding challenge, his knee connected with Murphy’s head. While the Bohs defender played on for a few more minutes, he was sensibly withdrawn at half time for Dave Mulcahy.

A feature of Keith Long’s tenure has been his excellent use of substitutions, and this proved to be the case once more. Adam Evans came on to replace Keith Buckley, and very much changed the game. His unpredictable style and injection of pace put Cork on the back-foot, and he offered more of an offensive threat than the duracell-like hard work of Buckley.

Bohs continued to knock on the door, and should really have drawn level with 10 to go. Pender slipped Marc Griffin through, and the forward’s shot was saved well by McNulty. However, the resulting bobbling ball could easily have been turned in by Jason Byrne, but somehow the Cork defence scrambled it away.

The deserved equaliser arrived just 3 minutes later. Again, Pender was involved, with his cross only partially cleared by a Cork head. The ball fell to Adam Evans, who unleashed a clinical volley into the far top corner. It was the youngster’s 4th of the season, and a peach to boot. The full time whistle more than likely left both managers disappointed. John Caulfield would have been disappointed to throw away a late lead, while Keith Long’s men could easily have taken all three points. Onwards to a home game with Limerick on Friday for a rejuvenated Bohemians.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy (Dave Mulcahy, 46), Lorcan Fitzgerald, Kealan Dillon (Jason Byrne, 71), Robbie Creevy, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley (Adam Evans, 56),  Paddy Kavanagh, Marc Griffin. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Stephen Best, James O’Brien, Karl Moore.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, John Kavanagh, Alan Bennett (Dan Murray, 41), Darren Dennehy, Ross Gaynor, Colin Healy, Liam Miller, Garry Buckley, Billy Dennehy (Kieran Djilali, 67), Mark O’Sullivan, Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrissey, 85). Subs not used: Alan Smith, Gavan Holahan, Kevin O’Connor, John O’Flynn.

TRAVELLING GYPSIES NOTCH ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET

SLIGO ROVERS  0 – 0  BOHEMIANS

Tell your friends, call your family – following Bohs around the country has become a pain-free experience! After five away games of the 2015 season, the Gypsies are yet to concede a goal on their travels. Keith Long’s side have become almost impossible to break down, with a settled back 5 that looks as strong as any in the SSE Airtricity League.

This time, it was Sligo Rovers who came up against a brick wall of dark green. The Bit O’Red may have had the inside knowledge of former Bohs hero Owen Heary in the dugout, but they couldn’t breach the Bohs rear guard in 90 minutes of football at the Showgrounds on Monday night, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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With another long trip to Derry on the way this coming Friday, Long shuffled the pack in front of the customary back of Delany, Pender, Murphy, Prendergast and Fitzgerald (Will that become the new Seaman, Dixon, Bould, Adams, and Winterburn? Maybe not). Dave Mulcahy and James O’Brien were given their first league starts of the season, while Adam Evans returned to the side in place of Karl Moore. Keith Buckley and Kealan Dillon were the others to miss out following last Friday’s loss to St. Pats. Owen Heary resisted the urge to unleash a raft of former Bohs men, with only Steven Beattie starting from last season’s cabal that moved north-west.

It was Bohs who created the first big chance of the game. The tireless Roberto Lopes forced a mistake from Sligo’s midfield, and suddenly Dean Kelly was able to slip Adam Evans through on goal. The winger had maybe too much time to think about the shot, and fired weakly at Richard Brush’s legs. At the other end, Beattie reminded the small section of travelling supporters what he was about. After buzzing in from the right wing, he struck a dipping shot that cannoned off Dean Delany’s crossbar.

It was an entertaining first 45 minutes, with both sides eager to impress. Rovers’ former Chelsea target man Morten Neilsen barged his way into the box, and forced Derek Prendergast into a terrific last-ditch block. Referee Robert Rogers managed to worry everyone of a Bohs persuasion when he booked all three central midfielders – Lopes, Mulcahy and O’Brien, in a ten minute period. Luckily, all three kept their discipline for the remaining half.

Bohs had two more flashes before the break. The first fell to Kelly, who out-muscled Alan Keane to get to a dropping ball, and unleashed a stinging volley that forced Brush to tip over the bar. Then it was Bohs turn to hit the woodwork, as a Lorcan Fitzgerald free-kick was headed onto the crossbar by Kelly again. Paddy Kavanagh’s resulting volley was straight at Brush.

Owen Heary is undoubtedly under pressure at The Showgrounds, where the grumbling home fans expected more from his team in the opening round of matches. He definitely gave them a stern word, as the Bit O’Red started the second half much brighter. Gavin Dykes crossed for Beattie on the hour mark, but his header flew over. Bohs seemed to shut up shop, but got one final chance with 20 to go. James O’Brien slipped Kelly in with a lovely reverse pass, but the striker shot straight at Brush’s legs.

Grumbled on by a sedate home support, Sligo pushed for a winner, but found Anto Murphy in especially brilliant form. The Bohs defender performed an amazing block to deny John Russell’s goalbound shot, and was generally excellent all evening. Again, the travelling fans applauded a gallant, hard-working performance and hard-earned point, but the Bohs boss might be disappointed not to be heading back down the N4 with all three.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Alan Keane, Gary Boylan, Stephen Folan, Jake Dykes, Steven Beattie, John Russell, David Cawley, Sander Puri, Keith Ward (Gary Armstrong, 79), Morten Neilsen. Subs not used: Ryan McManus, Liam Flatley, Raffaele Cretaro, Dinny Corcoran, Ryan Coulter.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Dave Mulcahy, Roberto Lopes, James O’Brien, Adam Evans (Kealan Dillon, 90), Dean Kelly (Marc Griffin, 85). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Byrne, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore, Stephen Best.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Anto Murphy

SAINTS HALT GYPSIES’ MOMENTUM

BOHEMIANS  0 – 1 ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

A solitary, scruffy goal from Ciaran Kilduff was enough to bring a buoyant Bohemians back down to earth as the Inchicore side ground out a difficult 1-0 victory in Dalymount Park. The Phibsboro venue saw its largest crowd of the season so far, but the home fans went home disappointed as Keith Long’s high flyers struggled to impose themselves on Liam Buckley’s men.

Indeed, if it wasn’t for the heroics of Dean Delany in goal, Pats could have ran out more comfortable winners. Delany saved his second penalty in three league games, but the Bohs fans’ delight at seeing Killian Brennan fluff his lines was replaced by frustration at the final whistle. However, the rousing reception the team got as they walked off the pitch shows that the home faithful are extremely appreciative of the hard work being put in by Long’s men, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Bohs boss made just one change from the team that beat Longford Town last week, with Derek Prendergast returning in place of the injured Robbie Creevy. This released Roberto Lopes further forward into the midfield, and brought back the first choice back four that have served Bohs so well so far this season. However, the Gypsies struggled in possession against a disciplined and talented Pats midfield. Bohs disappointingly gave the ball away with a series of long balls early on. Dean Kelly was isolated, and Pats’ defensive duo Sean Hoare and Kenny Browne didn’t have much to contend with.

After a sedate opening half hour, the game exploded into life. First, Bohs’ big chance arrived. As has been the case often this season, Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cultured left boot created the opening. His whipped outswinging cross was perfectly judged over the head of the first defender, but somehow, both Dean Kelly and Derek Prendergast couldn’t get a touch onto it. Any deflection would surely have given the Gypsies the lead, but instead, Pats went right up the other end and scored.

Chris Forrester played a delicious through ball between Fitzgerald and Prendergast to Conan Byrne. Dean Delany came out and made a brilliant one-handed save, but the ball squirmed through to Ciaran Kilduff, who had the simplest of tasks to tap into an empty net from six yards. It was only the second game in which Bohs have conceded in their first 8, but it proved to be a crucial goal.

Bohs were undoubtedly improved in the second half. The play was quicker, the pressing was higher, and the energy was there for all to see. Unfortunately, chances were at a premium. Keith Buckley put in a deep cross to Kelly, but the ball was just too far above the striker’s head. The introduction of Dave Mulcahy added some much needed steel to the Bohs midfield, but it was Pats who had a great opportunity just a minute after Mulcahy’s arrival.

Ian Bermingham’s deep cross was mis-read by the Bohs defence, and Lorcan Fitzgerald mis-controlled the ball into Ciaran Kilduff’s path. Fitzgerald tried to make up for the error, but only managed to bring the Pats striker down illegally on the penalty spot. Referee Graham Kelly pointed at said spot, and it looked like Killian Brennan was going to shut the door on Bohs. However, his penalty was casual in the extreme, and was easily saved by Delany to his right.

It felt as if a set piece might be Bohs’ best chance of a goal, and so it proved. Again, Fitzgerald provided the cross, and again, it evaded everyone. Prendergast was merely inches from the ball, but it wasn’t to be. Bohs now travel to struggling Sligo Rovers on Monday, and a date with Owen Heary.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Dave Mulcahy, 76), Karl Moore (Adam Evans 52), Keith Buckley (Jason Byrne, 72), Dean Kelly. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, James O’Brien, Stephen Best, Marc Griffin.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley, Ger O’Brien, Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Conor McCormack, 90 + 1), Greg Bolger, Aaron Greene, Chris Forrester (James Chambers, 74), Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Jason McGuinness, Jack Bayly, Sam Verdon, Morgan Langley.

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