ZAYED HEAD SAVES BIT O’RED

BOHEMIANS  2 – 2  SLIGO ROVERS

Johnny Logan couldn’t have picked a better night to come and watch his beloved Bohemians, as the home side and Sligo Rovers dished up one if the most entertaining games seen in Dalymount Park this year. Four goals, a red card, and a plethora of missed chances ended with the teams taking a share of the spoils. Owen Heary will be disappointed after being 2-1 ahead late on, especially with other results going Bohs’ way (a win would have propelled his side).

While he may be grossly unpopular with the Bohs support, Eamon Zayed continues to do what he does best in the League of Ireland – score important goals. His late header cancelled out Steven Beattie’s lead goal – Paul O’Conor and Dinny Corcoran had traded strikes in the first half. Aidan Price’s late red card would have left a sour taste in Owen Heary’s mouth, but a point might just be invaluable in the race for a top half finish, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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An end-of-season malaise can often seep through these mid-table games, but this certainly wasn’t the case as both sides attacked from the off. Bohs’ orthodox 4-4-2 clashed nicely with Sligo’s 4-2-3-1, producing an open game and some genuine entertainment for the Dalymount crowd of 1,093.

The Dalymount pitch is definitely starting to struggle under the combined weight of games, the weather, and Bohs’ training sessions. The result was a surface that lent itself to errors – and the returning Anto Murphy was punished for his in the 24th minute. His sloppy forward pass was cut out and fed to Eamon Zayed, whose cushioned pass found Paul O’Conor on the edge of the box. O’Conor skipped over Roberto Lopes’ challenge before toe poking past Dean Delany.

The opener was against the run of play, and Bohs deservedly equalised through a familiar source five minutes later. Karl Moore’s corner was headed only as far as Keith Buckley on the edge of the box. Bucko’s scuffed shot bounced toward Dinny Corcoran at the back post, and the striker steered in his 19th goal of the season to bring the sides level. Corcoran will be searching for a tremendous tally of 20 goals in the last two games, which would be an excellent return for the Donabate man.

The second half started at a high pace. Dinny should have given Bohs the lead after he got on the end of a Steven Beattie cross, but somehow skewed the ball over from 6 yards under pressure from Gavin Peers. Bohs kept attacking, and deservedly got the lead goal through the excellent Beattie. Keith Buckley (credited with an impressive two assists tonight), picked up a loose clearance, and drove at the Sligo defence. His slide-rule pass was gathered at-a-stretch by Beattie, who managed to get the ball out of his feet just in time – firing high into the net before being clattered by Evan McMillan. Amazingly, it was Beattie’s first league goal of the season, which is a surprising stat for someone who has been one of the Gypsies outstanding performers in 2014.

Sligo were Champions as recently as 2012, and they’ve still got real quality in the squad, despite naming only 4 substitutes for this game. The familiar figure of Rafaelle Cretaro spurned a good chance when he fired into the Shopping Centre from 12 yards, but he had the last laugh by setting up the late equaliser. Jack Memery struggled with the Tobercurry Tornado all night, and Cretaro’s whipped cross in the 81st minute was perfect. It found the head of Eamon Zayed who headed powerfully past Dean Delany. The ball came off the underside of the bar, but was clearly over the line as it dropped.

There was still time for late drama as Aidan Price controversially saw red in injury time. Danny North nudged the ball by him and was running toward goal when Price took him out, but the dismissal was harsh. North, with all due respect, was not going to catch the ball – so technically it wasn’t quite a goalscoring opportunity. Sean Grant thought otherwise, and reached for the back pocket. Price will miss next week’s trip to Cork, meaning Owen Heary will have a defender problem with Derek Pender also out. If Bohs get a result next week, they will almost certainly hand the title to Dundalk. With recent Bohs form against Cork in his mind, John Caulfield won’t be looking forward to it.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Jack Memery, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 86), Eoin Wearen, Steven Beattie, Jason Byrne (Paddy Kavanagh, 68), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan; Ryan McEvoy, Jake Hyland, Craig Walsh, Stephen Best.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Gary Boylan, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Danny Ledwith, Raffaele Cretaro, Seamus Conneely, Paul O’Conor, Gary Armstrong (Ruairi Keating, 71), Danny North, Eamon Zayed. Subs not used: Kalen Spillane, Ross Taheny, Ryan McManus.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Steven Beattie

TOP HALF IN SIGHT FOR BUOYANT BOHS

BOHEMIANS  2 – 0  LIMERICK

Two goals, three points, a clean sheet, and a step in the right direction on the Airtricity League table… All in all, a very satisfactory night for Owen Heary’s Bohemians. Last year’s bogey team Limerick were beaten for the third time in 2014, and the Gypsies moved into 7th place, just 3 points behind Sligo Rovers in 5th. Goals from Jason Byrne and Dave Mulcahy sealed a far-from routine win for the home side, who had to rely on some brilliant last-ditch tackles from Roberto Lopes and class saves from Dean Delany, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The game had an ‘end of season’ feel about it. Two teams with no relegation fears and no cup priorities cancelled each other out for the first 20 minutes before Dinny Corcoran burst through the Limerick defence for the first real chance. His left-footed effort wrong-footed Barry Ryan, but the Limerick keeper was able to stick out a toe and deflect the ball over the bar. The Limerick defence looked vulnerable when on the back foot, and wide runners Steven Beattie and Karl Moore were causing problems at will.

The opening goal stemmed from a Beattie run down the right. He found Jason Byrne at the edge of the box, and the Bohs veteran stepped inside the defender before shooting low at Ryan. The Limerick shot-stopper could only parry the ball back out to Byrne, who squeezed the ball in from 6 yards. His Samuel Eto’o-esque old man celebration was made all the more ironic when he was removed at half time following what looked like a muscle injury!

Limerick came out of the blocks at a ferocious pace in the second half. The visitors really deserved an equaliser, and only two last-ditch blocks from Roberto Lopes denied Rory Gaffney. Dean Delany was also called into action when he clawed the ball off the line following a goalmouth scramble. Limerick appealed that the ball was over the line, but the linesman wasn’t for moving.

Bohs’ killer goal came against the run of play, and was painfully easy from a Limerick point of view. A Karl Moore corner was floated all the way to the back post – and Bohs captain Dave Mulcahy simply nodded it in from 8 yards. Limerick had no man on the far post – and the ball flopped meekly into the goal with Barry Ryan flailing. Sub Adam Evans should have made it three in injury time, but his effort skewed horribly wide.

Four games left for Bohemians in a promising season. Owen Heary will be targeting a top half finish as the Gypsies travel to Inchicore to face St Pats next Tuesday.

Bohemians; Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Steven Beattie, Dave Mulcahy, Eoin Wearen (Anto Murphy, 82), Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 91), Jason Byrne (Keith Buckley, 46), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Jake Hyland, Stephen Best, Aaron Shanahan.

Limerick: Barry Ryan, Patrick Nzuzi, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Prince Agyemang (Ian Turner, 56), Shane Duggan, Shane Tracy, Lee Lynch, Ross Mann (Keiran Djalili, 56), Shane O’Connor, Rory Gaffney. Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Michael Leahy, Darragh Rainsford, Val Feeney, Colm Feeney.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes

ROBINSON REBOUND DENIES DERBY VICTORY

BOHEMIANS  1 – 1  SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers crawled out of a rocking Dalymount Park with an ill-deserved point as their European hopes took another blow on a tumultuous Tuesday in North Dublin. The Hoops now look consigned to fourth place after Owen Heary’s Bohemians dominated this fiercely contested Dublin Derby. The Gypsies will be devastated not to come away with all three – it took a controversial penalty, a fortunate rebound, and some heroic goalkeeping to keep Bohs from gaining their first win over the Hoops this season, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Coming off a difficult cup defeat to St Pats and a dour draw with Athlone, Bohs were definitely the better side against their supposedly more illustrious visitors. Pat Fenlon’s team produced a Stoke-esque display of long ball punting, and Dean Delany only had to make one save all night. Unfortunately for the home side, his 84th minute penalty save fell straight to Shane Robinson – who cancelled out Derek Pender’s fantastic opener.

Despite Heary’s pre-game talk of playing some fringe players, only Keith Buckley would be considered in that bracket for the Bohs starting 11. He partnered Dave Mulcahy in midfield, with Paddy Kavanagh in front of them in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Bohs started the game well, displaying an intensity that you would associate with this fixture. An early corner floated all the way to the back post, but Dinny Corcoran couldn’t quite make meaningful contact. The Jodi Stand thought it was in, but the angle was deceiving – and Rovers cleared.

Luke Byrne’s move to Shamrock Rovers and subsequent Twitter tomfoolery has left a bad taste in many a Bohs mouth, and there was mass joy when Pender clattered the former Bohs left back on 10 minutes. Byrne had a poor game, struggled to cope with Steven Beattie, and could be easily blamed for the Bohs goal when it arrived. Rovers themselves offered little going forward in the first half. Despite their finances, B-teams, stadium etc, when the most oft-used option is Jason McGuinness lumping balls forward – it isn’t pretty to watch.

Bohs continued to press into the second half, and Dave Mulcahy went close with a looping header before the game exploded into life on 65 minutes. Beautiful interplay from Beattie and Kavanagh put Pender in on the right flank. The full back beat his man and let fly with a rocket of a shot which, despite the tight angle, screamed into the roof of Barry Murphy’s net.

The Gypsies looked relatively comfortable until the 84th minute, when Roberto Lopes hung out a leg and sub Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters went down. It was right on the corner of the box, but referee Paul Tuite pointed instantly to the spot. Dean Kelly took the penalty, put placed it weakly to Delany’s left. The Bohs keeper palmed it away, but Shane Robinson was on hand to fire in the rebound. Bohs could have won it late on, but Steven Beattie’s glancing header was brilliantly turned around the post by Murphy. A share of the spoils – and just to confirm – the pitch was absolutely fine!

Bohemians; Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Steven Beattie, Dave Mulcahy, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Jason Byrne, Anto Murphy, Adam Evans, Stephen Best, Paddy Collins, Aaron Shanahan.

Shamrock Rovers; Barry Murphy, Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Luke Byrne, Shane Robinson, Sean O’ Connor (Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, 53), Ryan Brennan (Stephen McPhail, 68), Gary McCabe (Dean Kelly, 80), Ronan Finn, Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Robert Cornwall, Karl Sheppard, Patrick Cregg, Craig Hyland.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

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