HOME FORM FLOURISHES AS WEAREN SEES RED

BOHEMIANS  2 – 1  BRAY WANDERERS 

A late flash of madness from Bohs star midfielder Eoin Wearen marred an otherwise positive night for the Gypsies as Bohs made it 4 wins from 5 in all competitions in Dalymount Park. With the game petering out in injury time, the former West Ham man kicked out at a trampling David Webster, offering referee Kevin O’Regan little option but to send him marching. Wearen’s devastated reaction said it all – he’s now in serious danger of missing out on next week’s crunch FAI Cup Quarter Final with St. Pats.

Apart from that, it had been relatively plain sailing for Bohs, who took an early lead through Dinny Corcoran and doubled it through former Bray man Jason Byrne. An own goal from Byrne himself led to some hairy moments near the end, but the home side held out for a victory that assures there will be no relegation worries this term, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Boss Heary made just the one change from the side that pushed Dundalk all the way, with Dave Mulcahy replacing Craig Walsh in midfield. Bray were simply crippled with losses – 4 first teamers suspended and 3 injured, they fielded a side that the youthful look of an an Elite Under 19s team rather than an Airtricity Premier Division side.

With that in mind, Bohs’ early goal led to some in the Jodi thinking there might be a rout on the cards – especially considering the Bray defending for the opener. Derek Pender punted a long clearance toward the Wanderers box, and the ball sailed behind centre back Webster’s head. Whether keeper Stephen McGuinness had called it remains a mystery, but the bouncing ball sat up nicely for Dinny Corcoran, who nodded the ball over the now on-rushing McGuinness to open the scoring. That’s an amazing 5 goals in 4 games for Corcoran, who took his tally to a very impressive 17 in all competitive competitions for the Gypsies this season.

Bohs pressed on and dominated the first half. Kevin Devaney continued his excellent form down the right flank – he had put Corcoran through with a beautiful pass just a minute before the goal – and the winger could have increased the lead but for a smart near-post save from McGuinness. Jason Byrne was also at his mercurial best, flicking on numerous passes and showing the kind of sublime touches that often go unnoticed by those who label him a goalscorer only. His flicked header sent Dinny through again, but this time he skewed the shot wide and over.

Alan Matthews would have been pleased to get in at half time just a goal down, but his team-talk went out the window when Bohs doubled their advantage less than 15 seconds into the second period! A beautiful crossfield pass from Eoin Wearen was controlled magnificently by Devaney, who skinned Niall Cooney and pulled it back to Corcoran. Dinny’s shot might well have been creeping in, but Jason Byrne slammed it into the roof of the net from close range just for good measure.

With such a huge week coming up, it was understandable that Bohs took their foot off the gas at 2-0. However, Bray getting one back wasn’t in the script. A sloppily conceded corner was defended even more poorly. Jake Kelly’s second cross bobbled along the edge of the six yard box, and cannoned in off Jason Byrne’s shin. Who says he only scores tap-ins at the right end?

The goal galvanised Bray, but they didn’t threaten Dean Delany’s goal all too often. Jake Kelly was their star man, and he beat Jack Memery a little easily to force Bray’s best chance with 20 minutes left, but the shot was straight at the Bohs keeper. Bohs were visibly jittery in the last 10 minutes, but Bray didn’t have the quality to punish them.

Three minutes of injury time was prolonged by the sending off of Wearen. After bursting forward for the final time, the Bohs midfielder went down a little easily in the box. As the ball was being cleared, David Webster trodded on Wearen, possibly accidentally, probably not. However, Wearen’s right-footed swipe at Webster was spotted by the referee, and the dreaded back pocket was reached-for. It was a silly, petulant thing to do, and Bohs must now wait for the FAI directive on suspensions (which, in all honesty, is as unpredictable as Bohs home form over the last few seasons) to see if Wearen can play next Friday. After watching Wearen’s performances over the summer, Keith Fahey and co will be hoping the Bohs man is banned.

Before that, the Gypsies travel to Sligo on Monday for a key battle in the race for 5th place. A victory for Bohs would put them just two points behind 5th place Sligo with a game in hand. Most likely, there will be players rested for the far bigger cup game in Inchicore.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Kevin Devaney (Craig Walsh, 85), Dave Mulcahy, Eoin Wearen, Karl Moore (Keith Buckley, 89), Dinny Corcoran, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Jake Hyland, Paddy Kavanagh, Adam Evans, Aaron Shanahan

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness, Niall Cooney, David Webster, Joe Gorman, Robert Maloney (Michael Brown, 55), Sean Noble (Ryan Swan, 66), Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly, Adam Hanlon, Gareth McDonagh, Jake Kelly. Subs not used: Eric McGill, Philip Hughes, Owen Rossiter, Gavin Sheridan

Mr. Green Man of the Match: Kevin Devaney

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

SECOND HALF SALVO SAVES LUCKY LILYWHITES

DUNDALK  3 – 2  BOHEMIANS

Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk took a giant step towards landing the SSE Airtricity League title, but only after being given a huge scare by a combative Bohemians, who could easily have come away with at least a point from Oriel Park. Owen Heary’s men took a lead 2-1 lead into the second half after amazing strikes from Karl Moore and Dinny Corcoran, but a brace from sub David McMillan gave the home side a priceless three points in their quest for a first title since 1995.

Bohs boss Owen Heary made two enforced changes from the team that beat Cork City in the FAI Cup – with Jack Memery coming in at left back, and Craig Walsh joining Eoin Wearen in central midfield. Wearing unfamiliar green, Bohs gave the Champions elect as tough a game as they’ve had all season at home, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Entering Dundalk before the game, it was clear that a title buzz has gripped the town. A huge home crowd was in attendance, with a relatively disappointing away crowd adding little to the atmosphere. Stephen Kenny has revolutionized a Dundalk team that actually finished bottom of the table as little as two seasons ago.

While their title challenge has been built on a solid defence, quality midfielders, and pace and power up front, Dundalk’s quality at set pieces has been a real feature. It wasn’t a surprise when they took the lead from a corner. Darren Meenan’s whipped in-swinger was flicked on by Pat Hoban at the near post, and captain Andy Boyle was left in acres of space to nod home at the far post. Boyle has come a long way since playing alongside your reporter for Lucan CBS in secondary school, and is now odds on to lift the league trophy in late October.

As usual on the astro-turf Oriel pitch, Bohs were finding it difficult to get into any rhythm, but their performance sprang into life with a piece of absolute magic from Karl Moore. Dane Massey scuffed his clearance straight to the right winger, who cut inside and let fly with a dipping, swerving piledriver that almost burst the net from 25 yards. Peter Cherrie didn’t move, and Bohs were instantly galvanised.

Pressing Dundalk higher up the pitch, the boys in green began to take hold of the game, and took a deserved lead with three minutes to go before half time. This time, screamer duty passed to Dinny Corcoran, who collected the ball on the edge of the box, chested it down, and rifled it into the very same top corner! The delighted travelling band could hardly believe their eyes, and the previously boisterous Dundalk fans were silenced.

Unfortunately for Bohs, Dundalk have the kind of options on the bench that Owen Heary could only dream of. David McMillan was introduced at half time, and the former UCD man and brother of Sligo’s Evan turned out to be the difference between the teams. His equalising effort was a brilliant header. Daryl Horgan beat Derek Pender a little too easily, and floated a low cross that McMillan stooped to steer past Delany. The Bohs keeper got a hand to it, and might be a little disappointed to have conceded it.

If Delany had finally won the Bohs fans’ hearts on Monday with a superb performance against Cork, his crown slipped a little with this outing. Dundalk’s winner was the result of a disappointing error from the Gypsies shot-stopper. Dane Massey’s looped cross floated towards Hoban, who forced Delany into a pretty weak punch. The ball fell to that man McMillan, who dispatched the ball into the bottom corner to send the home fans wild.

Jason Byrne had a header from a corner that just went over, but apart from that Bohs didn’t really threaten Cherrie’s goal in the last five minutes. With word of Cork’s draw filtering through to Oriel, Dundalk celebrated a 6 point lead with just 7 games to go. Bohs have a home game against Bray next Friday before a challenging week that sees them travel to Sligo on Monday before an FAI Cup quarter final on Friday.

Dundalk: Peter Cherrie, Sean Gannon, Andy Boyle, Brian Gartland, Dane Massey, Darren Meenan (Donal McDermott, 67), Richie Towell, Chris Shields (Ruaidhri Higgins, 73), Daryl Horgan, Kurtis Byrne (David McMillan, 46), Pat Hoban. Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Mark Rossiter, John Mountney, Mark Griffin.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery (Adam Evans, 81), Karl Moore, Craig Walsh, Eoin Wearen, Kevin Devaney, Dinny Corcoran, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan, Ryan McEvoy, Paddy Kavanagh, Jake Hyland, Keith Buckley, Stephen Best.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Karl Moore

DINNY’S GOAL HAS BOHS AVIVA DREAMING

BOHEMIANS  1 – 0  CORK CITY

A priceless first half goal from Dinny Corcoran catapulted brave Bohemians into the last 8 of the FAI Cup on a tense night in Phibsboro. There were no foxhole surprises this time around, but a slick Dalymount surface played host to a pulsating cup tie which saw supreme performances from Bohs goalkeeper Dean Delany and winger Kevin Devaney.

Gypsies manager Owen Heary was forced into two full-back changes from Friday’s end-to-end 2-2 draw in Turner’s Cross. Derek Pender replaced the suspended Steven Beattie at left back, while Roberto Lopes replaced Keith Buckley at right back. The barstools and stormy weather kept many away, but those who came were treated to a high-octane cup tie in the true tradition of the FAI’s blue riband trophy, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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John Caulfield and Cork must be sick of the sight of Bohs at this stage – the Gypsies have won 2 and drawn 2 of the four games so far this season. Chief among Cork’s tormentors was Kevin Devaney, who was simply superb on the right flank for Bohs. He had the first shot in anger with a stinging effort on 8 minutes that Mark McNulty pushed around the post for a corner. The teams exchanged set pieces before an unfortunate incident mid-way through the first half.

Dan Byrne was unfairly shouldered by Mark O’Sullivan, and twisted his knee awkwardly. The Cabra man tried to play on, but suffered another twist just moments later. It quickly became very clear that Byrne was seriously injured, and the initial reports of a cruciate ligament tear are hopefully wide of the mark. The defender has been one of Bohs’ standout performers of the season. Understandably, Bohs were shaken by the episode, and took a good 1o minutes to gather themselves. Cork could easily have capitalised, but Mark O’Sullivan’s effort was well saved by Delany before Roberto Lopes headed just wide of his own goal under duress.

Devaney sparked into life again on 34 minutes, skinning John Dunleavy before firing a cross/shot that stung McNulty’s palms again. The opener arrived just 5 minutes later, and there was no surprise that it came from the Bohs right side. Devaney slalomed past two before feeding the overlapping Lopes, who cut the ball back to Jason Byrne. Jayo’s shot cannoned off Dan Murray and fell to Dinny Corcoran at the back post – and he added to his brace from Friday by steering / controlling the ball into the far corner.

The second half kept to the end-to-end script – Devaney had another long range effort before Cork had a glorious chance to equalise. Billy Dennehy powered past Aidan Price and found himself one on one with Delany. His initial hot was brilliantly saved by the Bohs keeper, but the ball rebounded back off Dennehy and then struck the post. Bohs breathed a sigh of relief as Dennehy choked back the tears.

Delany still had a big part to play. On 81 minutes, he pulled off a fantastic 1 handed save from a Gearoid Morrissey snapshot. The ball almost fell into the goal after the save, but Delany scrambled to grab it at the second attempt. Then, in injury time, the Bohs keeper had to fly across his goal to stop a Colin Healy free-kick. The relief was palpable, and the joy was clear when referee Neil Doyle blew the final whistle just a minute later.

Bohs are into Tuesday’s quarter final draw. After dispatching Limerick and Cork with two tough away draws, Owen Heary will be hoping for a home tie in the last 8. Just two steps from the Aviva.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Byrne (Craig Walsh 26), Aidan Price, Derek Pender, Kevin Devaney, David Mulcahy, Eoin Wearen, Karl Moore (Keith Buckley 80), Jason Byrne (Adam Evans 66), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Jake Hyland, Paddy Kavanagh, Stephen Best, Aaron Shanahan.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, John Kavanagh (Liam Kearney, 79), Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy, John Dunleavy, Josh O’Shea (Danny Morrissey, 46), Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Garry Buckley, Billy Dennehy, Mark O’Sullivan (Cillian Morrison, 63). Subs not used: Kevin O’Brien, Gavin Kavanagh, Darren Murphy, David O’Leary.

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