GYPSIES TAKE GIANT STEP TOWARDS SALVATION

SHELBOURNE 0 – 3 BOHEMIANS

Whisper it, mutter it under your breath, dare to believe it… the Bohs might just be staying up! That was the battle cry from the visiting fans as Bohs produced possibly their best performance of the season at the most crucial moment.

The stakes couldn’t have been higher for tonight’s relegation showdown in Tolka Park, and it was Phibsborough club who showed the heart, desire, and commitment to earn the three points that could prove vital come November.

Although Bobby Browne’s name was in the ‘Manager’ column on the teamsheet, this was an Owen Heary-led Bohemians team, and they displayed the kind of fearlessness that the great man showed for both of these clubs on so many occasions. Goals from Dinny Corcoran, Ryan McEvoy and Dave Mulcahy gave the huge Bohs crowd plenty to shout about on a night when they could have easily had 6 or 7, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The opening 15 minutes of this encounter was right out of the bottom drawer. Both sides were painfully, nervously trying not to make any mistakes, and flowing football was at a premium. Long, hoofed clearances were the order of the day, but even at that stage, Bohs just about seemed to have an edge. The opening goal came out of the blue, but it was one of the best goals the Gypsies have scored all year. Anto Murphy was the catalyst, and his slaloming run down the left side carved open the Shelbourne defence. His back post cross was stood up beautifully to Karl Moore, who nodded the ball back to Corcoran, whose first time strike was perfect. A Shels defender tried in vain to clear, but could only block the ball into the roof of the net.

The Bohs fans outnumbered the home crowd by around four to one, but it sounded like double that as the decibel level rose once it became clear that this was a game Bohs were totally in control of. Corcoran could well have had at least one other soon after his goal, but his first effort flew over, and a second, easier chance was dragged wide. Dave Mulcahy should have done better from a Stephen Traynor corner, but Bohs were absolutely in the asendancy at the break.

Careful not to be made to pay for missing those chances, Bohs came out of the blocks like a train in the second half. First, Traynor had a great chance after a woeful back header from Adam O’Connor, but Lee Murphy saved well from close range. The second goal was coming, and it was fitting that a true Bohs man sealed the deal. Traynor’s deflected cross from the right fell kindly for Ryan McEvoy at the near post, and the midfielder hooked a lofted shot over Murphy into the far corner.

Traynor had possibly his best game in a Bohs shirt, and just 2 minutes after McEvoy’s goal he displayed an ice cool nerve to stop the ball in the centre of the box, and square it to Keith Buckley. Amazingly, Buckley shot straight at Murphy from 6 yards, but by that stage, Shels were beaten. Bohs have played an extra game than their close rivals, but it’s hard to see Shelbourne picking up anywhere near enough points to make up the 5-point deficit.

The icing on the red and black cake came on 83 minutes, and again it was a late-arriving midfielder who did the trick. This time, Karl Moore’s near post cross was turned home by Dave Mulcahy. Murphy could probably have done better for both second half goals, but in truth, he was one of many atrocious performers for the home side.

With UCD and Bray also losing, this could prove to be a critical night in Bohs’ search for Premier Division status in 2014. Either way, this was an unforgettable victory in front of a passionate crowd that loved every minute.

Shelbourne: Lee Murphy, Pat Flynn, Graham Gartland, Adam O’Connor, Ian Ryan (Derek Doyle, 76) Adam Hanlon, Glenn Cronin (Darren Tinnelly, 33), Stephen Hurley, Sean Brennan; Lee Murtagh, Stephen Sheerin (Jamie McGlynn, 60). Subs Not Used: Niall Burdon, Paul Andrews, Brian Gannon, Jake Donnelly.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender (Daniel Byrne 73), Roberto Lopes,  Anto Murphy, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Dave Mulcahy, Stephen Traynor (Chris Lyons, 9o), Karl Moore (Kevin Devaney, 90),  Dinny Corcoran. Subs Not Used: Dave Scully, Darragh Reynor, Andy Mulligan, Greg Murray.

SLIGO’S GREENE LIGHT HALTS GYSPIES’ GOOD RUN

BOHEMIANS 0 – 2 SLIGO ROVERS

Owen Heary’s mini relegation revival came to a shuddering halt as Bohemians were soundly beaten by league champions Sligo Rovers at a sodden and soaked Dalymount Park. Goals in either half from perennial Bohs-haunter Gavin Peers and former Gypsy Aaron Greene condemned Heary’s charges to a ninth home league defeat of the season, leaving them just two points off the bottom, having played a game more than Bray and Shelbourne.

Sligo were never excessively troubled on a frustrating night for the home side. The Bit O’Red are still chasing the league title, and this victory keeps their Championship dream alive. Their slick counter-attacking play and solid defensive unit gave the Bohs fans little to shout about, writes KEVIN FAGAN. 

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Against a team that boasted Joseph Ndo, Raffaele Cretaro, and Danny North only on the bench, the home side were always going to be the underdogs – but kept the opening 15 minutes tight, with little chances to speak of at either end. A strong midfield trio of Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, and Stephen Traynor promised much on the team sheet, but they struggled to form a cohesive passing unit. Although Sligo played with only 2 in the middle of the park, their possession was more controlled.

The opener came out of the blue on 16 minutes. Former Crystal Palace winger Kieran Djalili whipped in a dangerous near post corner that was powered in by the head of Gavin Peers. Almost an identical header to the one scored by Johan Elmander in the Aviva last night, the pace on the ball did all the work – leaving Dean Delany clawing at thin air.

Bohs started to come into the game more as the half wore on, with set pieces seemingly the key to breaking Sligo down. Luke Byrne had a half chance when a corner fell to him at the back post, but the full back could only shoot into the side netting. Bohs’ best first half chance fell to striker Conor Murphy. Following a well-worked free kick involving McEvoy and Karl Moore, Murphy could only head over the bar from point blank range. A frustrating start to his Bohs career has seen Murphy yet to get on the scoresheet since his arrival from St Pats.

The second half continued in a similar vein; Bohs struggled to create any meaningful chances, while Sligo looked menacing on the break. Anto Murphy could have equalised just after the break, but his header was brilliantly cleared off the line by the immense Peers. Conor Murphy also went close, but his curling effort went just the wrong side of the post following some neat footwork by Karl Moore.

As Bohs struggled to break down the door, Sligo grew in confidence – and a break-away second goal started to look all the more likely. Lovely interplay between Anthony Elding and David McMillan saw the former UCD man tuck a neat ball back to Aaron Greene, who finished smartly past Delany to seal the deal.

Bohs huffed and puffed for the final 20 minutes, but Gary Rogers was only troubled by a snap shot from Luke Byrne as the game fizzled out. With an FAI Cup week next up, Bohs have another 2-week break before the crucial, mouth-watering clash with Shelbourne at Tolka Park. Rivalling – if not eclipsing – the 2003 league decider in importance stakes, the North side will be rocking come September 20th.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne; Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy (Darragh Reynor, 66), Stephen Traynor, Karl Moore, Keith Buckley, Conor Murphy (Chris Lyons, 75). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Daniel Byrne, Andy Mulligan, Kevin Devaney.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Danny Ventre, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Liam Martin, 88), Seamus Conneely, David Cawley, Kieran Djilali, Aaron Greene; David McMillan (Danny North, 62), Anthony Elding (Lee Lynch, 75). Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Joseph Ndo, Raffaele Cretaro, Liam Martin.

DINNY DOES IT AGAIN

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 1 BOHEMIANS 1

A well-taken Dinny Corcoran goal 15 minutes from time earned Bohemians another vital point in their bid to stay up after a deserved draw away to St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Friday night, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

A tap in-from Daryl Kavanagh on 20 minutes had given the home side the lead but similar to the last game between these sides met at Inchicore, a late equaliser gave the away fans something to smile about.

It was Owen Heary’s side who started off the brighter. Two lapses in concentration from the Saints’ back four led to early openings for the Gypsies.

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First, Ryan McEvoy burst through the defence and was hauled down right on the edge of the box. There were calls for a penalty, but Alan Kelly gave a free-kick instead. Unfortunately, the Bohs No 9, who is well known for his free-kicks, blasted this particular set-piece wide.

Then Corcoran found himself with only a defender to beat on the edge of the box not long afterwards, but the experienced Aidan Price snuffed out the chance.

This served as a wake-up call for Liam Buckley’s men as they took the lead minutes later. A great move was finished off by Kavanagh after some good link-up play between former Bohs duo Chris Forrester and Ger O’Brien on the right-hand flank.

The fact the Gypsies had fallen behind in similar circumstances before snatching a draw at the same venue and against the same opposition already this season must have given them hope of salvaging the situation once again. But Pat’s began to turn the screw and looked like they were the more likely team to get the next goal.

Conan Byrne was The Saints’ star man as he forced saves out of Dean Delany. Another great move again involving Byrne laid a chance on a plate for Kavanagh to double his tally but he fluffed his lines and the sides went in level at half-time.

Owen Heary was clearly upset with his side’s first-half effort and he shuffled his pack at the break. Daniel Byrne and Conor Murphy were taken off for Keith Buckley and Stephen Traynor. These changes stirred the away side into action but before Corcoran had the chance to level the game, it was Pat’s looked capable of extending their lead.

And it was another former Bohs player who looked like doing it. Christy Fagan first saw his shot deflected into the side-netting and, even more agonisingly for the former Manchester United trainee he had a goal disallowed for offside after he tapped Forrester’s cross.

This proved to be the turning point as ball went straight up the other end and an attempted pass-back from Ian Bermingham left Corcoran one-on-one with Brendan Clarke. He took the ball round the keeper and was left with an acute angle but he somehow found a way to finish it and Bohs were level.

This left a nervy final 15 minutes for those watching the game in the away end but the Pat’s were left with a couple of half-chances as the result, coupled with Dundalk’s win against UCD, knocked them off the top of the table. The joy at the end of the game was there for all to see and Heary was delighted to see his side move a point further from the relegation zone.

ST PAT’S: Clarke; O’Brien, Kenna, Price, Bermingham; Forrester (Maher 75), McFaul (Bolger 79), Brennan; Byrne, Fagan (Flood 79), Kavanagh.

BOHEMIANS: Delany; Pender, Murphy, Lopes, L Byrne; Moore, McEvoy, D Byrne (Traynor 46), Mulligan; Corcoran (Devaney 87), C Murphy 5 (Buckley 46).

REFEREE: A Kelly (Cork).

Dinny Corcoran shoots from a tight angle to level the game – Pic by Eddie Lennon

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