BOHS SECURE SEMI-PLEASING WIN OVER 9-MAN LONGFORD

LONGFORD TOWN  0 – 2  BOHEMIANS

Bohemians are through to the EA Sports Cup semi-final – but the Gypsies made very hard work of First Division Longford Town on a crisp Monday might in the Midlands. A pre-game deluge threatened to postpone this Quarter Final tie, but after a 45 minute delay, the City Calling pitch was declared playable and things got under way at 8.30. Unfortunately for the visiting supporters, they weren’t treated to a deluge of quality as Bohs scraped past 9-man Longford Town with considerable difficulty. Despite playing with a 1-man advantage for 70 minutes and a 2-man advantage for 30 minutes, Owen Heary’s men only made sure of the victory with three minutes to spare, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Bohs manager started with a relatively strong team – the same back five from Friday night’s draw with Shamrock Rovers were retained, and there was a welcome return for Dinny Corcoran following his 3 match suspension. Jake Hyland, who has been the competition’s star man so far, operated in the hole behind Corcoran, but was unable to continue his fine form from previous rounds. Longford fielded some familiar faces, with former Shamrock Rovers ‘heroes’ Stephen Rice, Pat Flynn, and Pat Sullivan in their side. With surface water still lingering on some parts of the pitch, controlling the game was difficult – but the Bohs midfield of Roberto Lopes and Stephen Traynor dominated possession without creating much until the 20th minute.

If Tony Cousins wasn’t already gray, his hair could easily have turned anyway following the sheer madness of his side’s two red cards. Just 19 minutes had passed when a lovely clipped ball from Anto Murphy sent Dinny Corcoran through. The Donabate man controlled well before rounding Chris Bennion. He applied the finish, but defender Noel Haverty decided to blatantly slap the ball away with his hand. The referee had no choice but to award the penalty and flash a red card. The Bohs fans’ chant of ‘super keeper’ followed Haverty down the tunnel, while his manager scolded him for making such a rash decision. However, he would have been soothed to hear the cheers of the home fans as Bennion saved Corcoran’s poorly struck penalty with his legs.

Bohs’ best outlet was down the left flank where Kevin Devaney was giving Pat Sullivan a torrid time. It’s a far cry from White Hart Lane to the City Calling Stadium, but Sullivan simply couldn’t handle Devaney’s pace. Backed up by the increasingly-comfortable at left back Derek Pender, one felt this would be the key to unlocking a stubborn Longford. Indeed, with just 2 minutes to the break, Devaney combined with Pender, allowing the latter to fire a dipping, in-swinging cross toward the 6-yard box. Jake Hyland got the faintest of touches first, but Dinny Corcoran got the final – meaningful touch with a flicked header into the far corner.

The complete gray-ing of Tony Cousins’ hair came on the hour mark. Kevin O’Connor had been booked for a silly lunge in the first half, but his overly-aggressive body check on Devaney was as needless as it was ridiculous. A second yellow was flashed, and O”Connor joined Haverty back in the dressing room. With 30 minutes remaining, the stage was set for Bohs to cruise to victory. Unfortunately, this did not materialise. Longford amazingly grew into the game once their second man was dismissed, forced a corner, and could easily have equalized but Etanda Nkolo dragged his effort just wide following a goal mouth scramble.

Despite the two-man advantage, chances didn’t really arrive for Bohs until Steven Beattie was introduced with 10 minutes remaining. He instantly whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Dinny, who volleyed disappointingly wide from 8 yards. Paddy Kavanagh was also introduced, but lost the ball no fewer than 6 occasions in his brief cameo. The small but vocal away support were audibly unimpressed with being only one goal to the good against 9 First Division men, but they were appeased somewhat with the clinching goal on 87 minutes. Again it was Pender the supplier as his deep free kick was floated all the way into the box where Dano Byrne rose highest to loop a header to the far corner. It was a frustrating night in truth – but a Cup win is a Cup win, and Bohs can now sit back and see who’ll join them in the semi final draw. More pressing for Owen Heary is a league game with current leaders Dundalk on Friday in Dalymount Park.

Longford Town: Chris Bennion, Pat Sullivan, Noel Haverty, Pat Flynn, Willie Tyrell (Don Cowan, 72), Sean Russell, Stephen Rice, Kevin O’Connor, David O’Sullivan (Glen O’Connor, 64), Etanda Nkololo, Peter Hynes (Gary Shaw, 60).

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Aidan Price, Daniel Byrne, Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Traynor (Steven Beattie, 78), Kevin Devaney, Jake Hyland (Paddy Kavanagh, 70), Dinny Corcoran.

Bohemianfc.com Man of the Match: Derek Pender

GYSPIES’ LUCK IS DROG GONE

DROGHEDA UNITED  1 – 0  BOHEMIANS

Wins are becoming dangerously hard to come by for Owen Heary’s Bohemians as they fell to a fifth defeat of the season at Hunky Dorys Park in Drogheda. Numerous good chances were squandered on a night where Jason Byrne’s golden touch failed him, and the travelling fans showed their disapproval at a run that has seen the Gypsies win just one of their last 12 league games, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

Boss Heary has spoken about Bohs’ luck turning soon, but that Lady had no interest in the men in green as Drogheda stole the points with their only real half-opening of the 90 minutes. In contrast, Bohs could have had 5. Karl Moore missed two sitters, Byrne had three great opportunities for a predator like him, and countless other attacks broke down disappointingly in the final third.

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Heary made two changes to the team that drew with UCD last Friday. Aidan Price returned for the suspended Roberto Lopes, while Anto Murphy made a welcome return to the side – he replaced Kevin Devaney and operated from the right flank. Karl Moore operated from the left – which gave Paddy Kavanagh the opportunity to roam in the hole behind Jason Byrne. This formation almost opened the door for Bohs in the 3rd minute, as Murphy’s clipped pass broke the Drogs offside trap and bounced kindly for Kavanagh. His headed pass across goal took United keeper Dave Ryan out of the equation, but Karl Moore’s bouncing shot was cleared off the line by Daire Doyle.

Drogheda’s only other opening bar their goal came just a minute after that Moore chance. Dano Byrne and Dean Delany left the ball to each other, and Cathal Brady capitalized to turn a half chance into a speculative effort that clonked off the opposite post. However, as the first half wore on, it became increasingly obvious that Drogheda were grossly out of confidence – this was a team who had lost 6 straight games remember. Bohs were dominating possession without creating much, but still should have gone into the break ahead. A Moore corner was nodded down by Dano Byrne, and his namesake Jason preposterously fired the ball into the housing estate behind Ryan’s goal.

Heary clearly sensed that this game was there for the taking, and Bohs noticeably upped the pace at the start of the second half. Mulcahy was in particularly good knick, performing trademark bull-charging runs to start attacks. Kavanagh was pulling the strings, and created another opening for Moore, who’s shot was again poorly struck and allowed Ryan to save. Moore turned provider and whipped in a lovely cross for Jason Byrne who headed just over. The record-chaser’s third and final chance was the killer; an inch-perfect whipped cross from Kavanagh found him just 8 yards out and unmarked, but his downward header was too straight and saved by Ryan’s legs. To the neutral, it looked like a matter of time before Bohs took the lead, but among seasoned followers, knowing glances were shared – we would be made to rue these missed chances.

Bohs had looked relatively solid in defence, but a wild mistake proved to be their undoing. Steven Beattie is not a full back, so was perhaps never taught that famous schoolboy mantra of ‘never pass the ball across your own goal’. Alas, he did just that, catching Price and Darragh Reynor off guard. Carl Walshe pounced on the loose ball, and fired a crisp shot low into the bottom corner. Against the run of play, but they all count. Sadly for Bohs, it seemed they had used up all of their chances, and nothing clear cut materialised in the last 10 minutes. Next up is a daunting trip to Tallaght, hardly a sanctuary for teams in desperate need of three points.

Drogheda United: Dave Ryan, Michael Daly, Ciaran McGuigan, Daire Doyle, Shane Grimes, Cathal Brady (Declan O’Brien 12), Eric Foley, Paul Crowley, Gavan Holohan, Carl Walshe, Gary O’Neill. Subs not used: Dylan Connolly, Paul Andrews, Philly Hughes, Dominic Mahon, Sean O’Connor, Roy Kierans.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Steven Beattie, Aidan Price, Dan Byrne, Derek Pender (Darragh Reynor 21), Anto Murphy (Kevin Devaney 72), Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy (Craig Walsh 80), Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Gavin Moore, Eoin Wearan, Stephen Traynor. Jake Hyland.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Paddy Kavanagh

10-MAN BOHS IN STUDENTS STALEMATE

BOHEMIANS 0-0 UCD

Another red card condemned Bohs to more dropped points at home as they battled out a goalless stalemate with UCD at Dalymount on Friday evening, writes CONOR HAYES.

Even allowing for the fact the men in red and black played for nearly an hour with a man disadvantage, they had the better of the play although the Students came closest on the night, hitting the post in the second half.

Bohs made three changes from their last league outing, with Dean Delany back in goals, Dan Byrne slotting in at centre-half and Kevin Devaney replacing the suspended Dinny Corcoran.

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In the early stages, Bohs seemed to focus their play down the flanks and found themselves in positions to deliver balls into the danger zone but on each occasion the final ball was lacking accuracy.

The Students looked lacklustre in the opening period and they gifted Bohs the first opportunity on 13 minutes as Devaney won the ball from their defence and it ran into the path of Jason Byrne who fired his effort straight at UCD keeper Conor O’Donnell.

The evergreen striker was also presented with a chance just before the 20-minute mark after Paddy Kavanagh found him from the right-hand side but this time he scuffed his shot into the side netting.

Bohs had the better of it during this period without ever looking like finding the net but the game changed utterly on the half-hour mark as the home side were reduced to 10 men. Uncharacteristically, David Mulcahy lost a battle in midfield which allowed Chris Mulhall to spring a ball over the top for Robbie Benson. The Students skipper then seemed to cut across Lopes and in the ensuing tangle fell over. Referee Paul McLaughlin, who was fully 30 yards from the incident, was not only sure enough to whistle for a foul but also produced a red card for the Gypsies’ centre-half.

UCD, buoyed by their man advantage, then had their best spell of the half. A series of corners ratcheted up the pressure and on the third delivery Hugh Douglas met the ball with a point blank header six yards out which seemed destined for the net only for Delany to claw it away. A stunning save.

The same UCD defender then had a free header from another set piece which he nodded over. A corner from the other end then saw the ten men nearly take the lead just before the half as Mulcahy ghosted in at the back post but could only head it over the upright.

The heavens opened at half-time, reflecting the mood of the Jodi Stand faithful, but Owen Heary’s side enjoyed the vast majority of the possession in the second half. Karl Moore, who looked a danger all evening, tried to break deadlock eight minutes into the second period with a wonderful solo run cutting in from the left wing but his shot from the edge of the area lacked the sufficient power to beat O’Donnell.

Bohs were still in control as the game entered its final quarter but were finding it hard to break down the opposition who, despite the man advantage, seemed happy to concentrate on defence. First Kavanagh had an effort which was deflected wide and then the former Birmingham City man set up substitute Craig Walsh whose shot was blocked by one of the wall defenders clad in white.

Then, completely against the run of play, UCD nearly scored what would have been a stunning opener, after nice play from defence, a lovely one-two between Robbie Creevy and Benson saw the latter curl a beautiful shot past Delany but on to the post.

Craig Walsh’s introduction seemed to give Bohs new attacking impetus and with 15 minutes remaining, he found himself through on goal after being slipped in by Jason Byrne but his near-post effort was denied by O’Donnell.

The Students’ netminder proved himself again against Walsh as he saved an effort from a tight angle after the midfielder had been put through by a Byrne flick-on.

There would be one final chance to secure that long awaited home league win in the 94th minute as good work from Kavanagh found Jason Byrne near the penalty spot but his hooked effort could only find the grateful arms of O’Donnell.

So despite a good display with a man down, another frustrating evening at Dalymount for Bohemians. They travel next Friday to Drogheda hoping for a more fortunate outcome.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Steven Beattie, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Byrne, Derek Pender, Paddy Kavanagh, David Mulcahy (c), Ryan McEvoy, Karl Moore, Kevin Devaney Craig Walsh 62), Jason Byrne. Subs Not Used: Lee Murphy, Anto Murphy, Jake Hyland, Stephen Traynor, Andy Mulligan, Eoin Wearen.

UCD: Conor O’Donnell, Mark Langtry, James Kavanagh, Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Robbie Creevy, Colm Crowe (Gary Burke 76) , Robbie Benson (c), Cillian Morrison (Thomas O’Halloran 79) , Chris Mulhall, Samir Belhout. Subs Not Used: Mark McGinley, Gareth Matthews,Michael Barker, Dwayne Wilson, Sean Coyne.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

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