CHAMPIONS CURTAIL GYPSIES’ FLAWLESS START

BOHEMIANS  0 – 3  DUNDALK

Keith Long’s Bohemians were given a rude midweek awakening at Dalymount Park on Tuesday, as Champions Dundalk flitted back up the M1 with all three points following a particularly ruthless performance. Goals from David McMillan, Jake Kelly, and Darren Meenan put Dundalk top of the table, but the game was far closer than what it looks like with a glance at the result.

Despite the misleading scoreline, the home side put in a spirited, determined performance, and could easily have been ahead by the time Anto Murphy was sent off early in the second half. Even after Murphy’s harsh dismissal for two yellow cards, the Gypsies really took the game to the Lilywhites, and were unlucky not to be on level terms by the time the visitors pulled away with two late, ill-deserved goals, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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After three games with the same starting eleven, boss Long made just one change to the starting line-up for the visit of Stephen Kenny’s men. Robbie Creevy replaced Kealan Dillon in central midfield, as Bohs embarked on their second of three games in a six-day period. Perhaps surprisingly, Bohs actually dominated possession in the opening quarter, but struggled to create chances from open play. The ball was being presented back to Dundalk at regular intervals, which is always dangerous with their counter-attacking potential.

The first big incident of note was a penalty shout in the 11th minute. Adam Evans’ cross bounced up off Brian Gartland’s thigh onto his left arm. Gartland’s arm was away from his body, and the ball clearly struck it. However, referee Derek Tomney was in no mood to point to the spot, and this was the first of many decisions from the man in black that irked the Bohs fans and bench alike.

Bohs’ best opportunities in the first half came from set pieces. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s deliveries were absolutely perfect on more than one occasion, and Dundalk had a huge amount of luck in keeping a clean sheet. First, Anto Murphy rattled the bar from an inswinging corner. The ball looped into the air, and was almost turned in acrobatically by Derek Prendergast, but his effort trundled wide. Fitzgerald was again the provider of Bohs’ next best chance. This time, his wickedly whipped free kick took a slight deflection off a Dundalk head before evading Prendergast and Dean Kelly by inches. A touch from either would have opened the scoring.

With clean sheets in all 5 competitive games so far, it was going to take either a moment of brilliance or a scruffy, unlucky goal to breach the Bohs defence. Sadly, it was the latter. After a corner was cleared, Daryl Horgan played head tennis with the Bohs defence, and his second looped header found David McMillan at the back post. McMillan headed it tamely toward goal, but the ball took two deflections and dribbled over the line. Dundalk headed for half time with a fortunate 1-0 lead.

The Champions were lacklustre, and probably couldn’t believe their luck when referee Tomney intervened to spoil what was turning into an intriguing contest. Anto Murphy had been deservedly booked in the first half for a clumsy lunge at Darren Meenan, but his second yellow was as soft as they come. On the edge of the Bohs box, Murphy’s sliding challenge on John Mountney was executed perfectly. He took ball first, then man. It was a strong challenge, but Mountney’s theatrical fall and scream may well have been the deciding factor. His initial writhing stopped when it became clear that Murphy was about to get a second yellow, but the damage was done.

Rather than capitulate being a man and a goal down, Bohs actually increased their pressing and pressure after Murphy’s dismissal. It was a stirring second half performance, with full-blooded commitment from back to front. Long sent on Marc Griffin and Jason Byrne to try and salvage a point, and they almost fashioned an equaliser with 15 minutes left. The tireless Derek Pender whipped in a delightful cross that fell onto Griffin’s toe 8 yards out, but the former Dundalk man couldn’t generate any power, and Gary Rogers was able to paw it clear.

With Bohs committing men forward, a counter-attack sucker punch was always possible, and Dundalk ruthlessly closed out the game in the last few minutes. First, in the 83rd minute, the excellent Horgan sped down the right, and put Richie Towell through. Towell unselfishly squared to substitute Jake Kelly, who side-footed in the second. Then, with 4 minutes remaining, Darren Meenan grabbed the third with a low shot that had too much power for Dean Delany.

0-3 is a scoreline that greatly flatters Dundalk, but the reaction of the Bohs fans at the end of the game said it all. The team were roundly applauded off the field, with a faint chant of ‘Bring on the Rovers’ in their ears. There is no better game to bounce back from a defeat than a trip to Tallaght. Friday night is already close.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh (Kealan Dillon), Roberto Lopes, Robbie Creevy, Adam Evans, Keith Buckley (Marc Griffin) Dean Kelly (Jason Byrne). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Karl Moore, Jake Hyland, Dylan Hayes.

Dundalk: Gary Rodgers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, John Mountney (Darren Meenan, 63), Richie Towell, Ronan Finn (Kurtis Byrne, 76), Daryl Horgan, David McMillan (Jake Kelly, 80). Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Ciaran O’Connor, Shane Grimes, Paddy Barrett.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Lorcan Fitzgerald

MURPHY BRACE DEFEATS PRESIDENT’S MEN

BOHEMIANS  2 – 0  GALWAY UNITED

Eight goals scored. None conceded. Progression in 2 cup competitions. 6 points from 6 in the league. What’s not to like about Bohs’ 125th year of existence so far? Keith Long’s side continued their dominant start to the 2015 season with a comfortable if a little scrappy victory over newly-promoted Galway United in Dalymount Park on Friday night.

President of Ireland and President of Galway United Micheal D. Higgins was in attendance, and would have made the short trip back to the Park disappointed with the Tribesmen’s performance. Tommy Dunne’s team rarely threatened an impressive Bohemian back line, who had defender Anto Murphy to thank for all three points. A rare brace from the 32 year old kept the Gypsies on top of the fledgling Airtricity League table, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Understandably, Bohs boss Long kept faith with the same 11 that dismantled Limerick in Jackman Park last weekend. The somewhat spoilt Bohs fans didn’t get a goal in the first 90 seconds this time around – they had to wait a comparative age before the opener arrived, this time on 5 minutes! Just like in Limerick, the goal came from a set piece. Having drifted out to the right, Dean Kelly was brought down just outside the Galway penalty area. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s in-swinging left-footed cross found Anto Murphy’s head, and the ball flew in over Galway keeper Conor Gleeson.

Bohs almost doubled their advantage on 10 minutes when Fitzgerald sent Adam Evans down the left. His sweeping cross beat the Galway defence, but Dean Kelly could only direct his diving header over the crossbar. All Bohs’ opening half chances came from headers, and Derek Prendergast had the final opportunity before the break, but his downward header was straight at Gleeson, and Galway cleared after the ensuing scramble.

Bohs’ performance was definitely below the levels of last week in Limerick, and they struggled to get a coherent passing game going all night. Kealan Dillon was very impressive in the South-west, but couldn’t get on the ball at all in Dalymount and was replaced by Robbie Creevy on the hour mark. Dean Kelly did an immense amount of running, but was beginning to tire when he was replaced by Marc Griffin. Griffin absolutely re-ignited Bohs’ game in the final quarter, and could easily have grabbed a goal or two himself to add to his midweek brace against Athlone Town.

First, he was set clean through by a brilliant Derek Pender pass. He never really got the ball out of his feet, and the eventual shot at Gleeson was weak and low. Keith Buckley cut inside and had a dip just a minute later. His shot somehow squirmed out of Gleeson’s hands, but Griffin’s rebound was well blocked down.

Substitute Griffin did turn provider for the clinching goal in the 83rd minute. Again, it was a set piece, and again, Anto Murphy pounced. Griffin’s outswinging corner floated all the way to the penalty spot without challenge, and Murphy was able to slide-volley it in from 12 yards. Galway seemed to spring into action for the final minutes. Gary Shanahan should have beaten Dean Delany with a lob, but the Bohs keeper got his fingertips to the ball. Then, in injury time, Shanahan headed wastefully wide from a Jake Keegan corner.

Bohs travel to the seaside next week, with Bray Wanderers next in line to challenge the Gypsies 100% record in the league. After that, Champions Dundalk come to Dalymount for a mouth-watering mid-week fixture. It’s still good to be back!

Bohemian FC: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Robbie Creevy, 59), Adam Evans (Karl Moore, 90) Dean Kelly (Marc Griffin, 74). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Byrne, Jake Hyland, Dylan Hayes.

Galway United FC: Conor Gleeson, Colm Horgan, Samuel Oji (Padraic Cunningham, 74), Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden, Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott, Alex Byrne (Andy O’Connell, 90), Jason Molloy, Enda Curran (Jake Keegan, 69), Ryan Connolly. Subs not used: Conor Winn, Cormac Rafferty, Aaron McDonagh, Conor Barry.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Anto Murphy

3 REMAINS THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR UPBEAT BOHS

EA SPORTS CUP 1ST ROUND

BOHEMIANS  3 – 0  ATHLONE TOWN

Winning by three goals to nil is a habit that any team would love to get used to – and a confident Bohemians recorded their second victory by such a margin in 4 days as they defeated First Division side Athlone Town at a chilly Dalymount Park to progress to the last 16 of the EA Sports Cup.

Former Town boss Keith Long was up against many familiar faces, and freshened his Bohemians side with a massive 9 changes from the side that opened the League campaign so impressively in Limerick on Saturday evening. Only goalkeeper Dean Delany and Roberto Lopes continued in the side, with new signings Marc Griffin, Adam Wixted, Robbie Creevy, and Dylan Hayes all given chances to show their worth. From Bohs’ own crop of youngsters, Jake Hyland, Jason Caffrey, and Stephen Best were all given starting spots, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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There was no whirlwind start for the Gypsies this time around, as early exchanges were quite scrappy with both sides struggling to get on top. The Dalymount pitch has seen a definite improvement from the Leinster Senior game against Bray, and boss Long will be hoping for continued progress as the league season kicks in. Bohs were the most threatening in the opening quarter, and came closest when captain Lopes headed over from a Hyland corner. At the other end, Athlone midfielder Eric Foley brought a good save from Delany when he arrived late in the box to meet a dangerous cross from the left.

This was a cup tie that needed a spark – one which was brilliantly provided in the 28th minute. Karl Moore, who would have been disappointed to miss out in Limerick, started a move that resulted in a fine opening goal. He drifted in dangerously from the left, and slipped a ball through to opposite winger Adam Wixted, whose deep cross found Marc Griffin at the far post. From a tight angle, Griffin volleyed brilliantly past Patrick Dunican in the Athlone goal. A clinical finish that showed what the often mercurial Griffin is capable of. The former Dundalk man was excellent all evening, and definitely gave Keith Long a welcome headache for Friday’s visit of Galway United.

The goal seemed to instill even more confidence in the home side and they dominated the remainder of the half. Wixted and Dylan Hayes were a constant threat down the right, and the axis of Robbie Creevy and Jake Hyland were well on top in midfield. Just before the half time whistle, Bohs deservedly doubled their lead. The ever-dangerous Griffin burst clear as Athlone tried to push out, and managed to squeeze his shot under the advancing Dunican to grab his second, and give the home side a comfortable half time cushion.

Athlone had their best period just after the break, but bar a few scrambles in the Bohs goalmouth, the dependable Lopes and his fellow defenders kept decent control. Griffin came close to grabbing his hat-trick on a couple of occasions, while his strike partner Jason Byrne struck the top of the bar with a looping header from a Jake Hyland free kick.

The third goal came in the 71st minute, and this time Man of the Match Griffin turned provider. His whipped corner found Jake Hyland, who powered a header past Dunican to remove any doubt about the result. Keith Long rested keeper Delany for the last few minutes, and also gave a competitive debut to Robert Duggan for the last 20.

Bohs now advance to the last 16 of the competition, where the Pool system means that they know they will face either Shamrock Rovers, Longford Town, or league new-boys Cabinteely.

Bohemians: Dean Delany (Lee Steacy 80), Dylan Hayes, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Best, Jason Caffrey, Adam Wixted, Robbie Creevy (Robert Duggan, 70), Jake Hyland, Karl Moore, Marc Griffin, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Kealan Dillon, Anto Murphy, Adam Evans

Athlone Town: Patrick Dunican, Stephen Quigley, Michael Brown, Stephen Dunne, Ryan Doolin, Gavin Boyne, Gary Burke (Philip Gorman 74), Eric Foley, Sam O’Connor (Garbhan Coughlan 74), Garreth Brady (Thomas Mulroney 61), Marco Chindea. Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Aidan Collins, Daniel Purdy, Robbie Gaul.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Marc Griffin

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