THREE’S THE MAGIC NUMBER

UCD 0 – 3 BOHEMIANS

Owen Heary made nine changes to his team from Friday night but the scoreline was exactly the same as Bohemians claimed another comfortable victory over UCD on Monday evening – this time in the EA Sports Cup, writes CONOR HAYES.

Goals from Kevin Devaney, Jason Byrne and youngster Jake Hyland ensured the Gypsies would record their second 3-0 win over the Students at Belfield in the space of four days.

UCD began the game brightly, hoping for a reversal of fortunes from the result in the league game and after just three minutes, it was Gary Burke – one of three ex-Gypsies in the Students’ line-up alongside Michael Scott and Dwayne Wison – who had their first shot in anger, which was well blocked by centre-half Roberto Lopes.

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Bohs responded in kind and five minutes later had their first effort as Darragh Reynor’s scuff shot was easily saved by UCD netminder Mark McGinley.

But two minutes later, the visitors took the lead as good play from Stephen Traynor in midfield saw him release Devaney down the left wing. The Sligo man skilfully cut inside and curled an excellent shot into the far bottom corner, the ball clipping the post on its way into the net. A goal every bit as good as Patrick Kavanagh’s wonder strike on Friday evening at the same ground.

UCD did not seem overawed by this setback and almost found a way back into the game in the 19th minute. Some tricky play by Cillian Morrison drew a foul from Bohs left-back Philly McCabe and the resulting free-kick, whipped in by Burke, found the diving head of Ian Ryan but he couldn’t keep the effort down and it sailed over the bar from six yards out.

The game lulled at this stage with both sides struggling to keep possession but again College nearly drew level after a wayward cross from Students skipper Samir Belhout almost found the top corner but was well parried away by Lee Murphy, who was making his competitive debut in the Bohs goal.

As the half got closer to its conclusion, Bohs came back into the game and more interplay between Traynor and Devaney resulted in Byrne being slipped through but his shot inside the area was pushed away by McGinley. The last action of the first period saw Keith Buckley link up with Ryan McEvoy outside the area but the winger’s shot was blocked.

Bohs began the second half with purpose as they looked to put the game beyond doubt. Again Buckley was involved as he charged down the right-hand side but he dragged his shot wide as 36-year-old Byrne waited free in the middle.

But the evergreen striker would get on the scoresheet in the 55th minute. Great play from Traynor on the right wing saw his pull-back only half-cleared by the UCD defence. The ball fell to Reynor, 30 yards from goal, and his drive could only be clawed by the UCD keeper directly into the path of Byrne, who finished easily inside the six-yard box.

The away side were in total control now and twice Devaney, who was a thorn in the Students’ side all evening, was set free down the left wing but each time his ball into the box was collected by McGinley with Byrne waiting to pounce. Bohs then seemed satisfied with their lead as they kept possession while creating little.

The game seemed to be petering out, but if early-season indicators are anything to go by, this Bohemians side have a knack for finding the net that their most recent predecessors have lacked. On 83 minutes, UCD’s Barry McCabe dwelt on the ball too long at the back allowing 18-year-old Bohs substitute Hyland to nip in and steal it – he then finished coolly, slotting the ball past McGinley with ease.

So a clear win for the men in red and black and the players who didn’t start in the first league match got their chance to show their worth to the manager.

Bohemians have now played three competitive matches, winning three times in three different competitions scoring 11 goals in the process. Tougher challenges lie ahead, beginning on Friday against Drogheda at Dalymount Park. But for now, Bohs fans have every right to feel optimistic about what the season has in store.

UCD: Mark McGinley, Gareth Matthews, Mark Langtry, Ian Ryan, Hugh Douglas, Michael Scott (Barry McCabe 78), James Kavanagh (Dean Clarke 78), Gary Burke, Dwayne Wilson (Chris Mulhall 34), Cillian Morrison, Samir Belhout. Subs not used: Conor O’Donnell, Sean Coyne, Colin Crowe, Thomas O’Halloran.

BOHEMIANS: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender (Stephen Beattie 54), Roberto Lopes, Dan Byrne, Philly McCabe, Keith Buckley (Paddy Collins 86), Darragh Reynor, Ryan McEvoy, Kevin Devaney, Stephen Traynor (Jake Hyland 80), Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Dean Delany, Karl Moore, Keith Mahony, Aidan Price.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Stephen Traynor.

REFEREE: Simon Rogers.

Pic: Jake Hyland adds Bohs’ third (A. Baldiemann).

KAVANAGH STEERS BOHS TO CAMPUS CRUISE

UCD  0 – 3 BOHEMIANS

Owen Heary’s Bohemians got their league campaign off to the perfect start with a dominant away performance on campus at the Belfield Bowl.

Goals from Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran and an inevitable late strike from Jason Byrne gave the Gypsies a well-deserved win with a scoreline that certainly didn’t flatter the away side.

Clearly impressed with last week’s demolition of Bray Wanderers in the Leinster Senior Cup, Heary made just one change from that side, with Karl Moore replacing Andy Mulligan on the left wing.

However, it was the man just inside him that had the Bohs fans murmuring with intrigue throughout the night. Although this is only the opening gambit of the 2014 league season, the acquisition of Paddy Kavanagh in the winter might well prove to be inspired, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Belfield Bowl isn’t exactly the best place to whip up a season-opening atmosphere, but an expectant and boisterous away crowd welcomed a green boot-clad Bohs on to the field. The opening 15 minutes were as cagey as an opening game can get, but gradually the away side started to assume control.

The opening goal almost came in the 17th minute. Kavanagh drifted into space before releasing Steven Beattie, whose cross fell to Moore at the back post. Moore’s hooked effort came back off the post and Corcoran couldn’t quite net the rebound.

The middle period of the first half featured Bohs at their most dominant away from home in quite some time. Much of that impetus came from Craig Walsh, who stomped his way around the park in a Gary Deegan-esque manner. He aggressively broke up play alongside Dave Mulcahy, which allowed Kavanagh to weave his magic in the attacking third.

Walsh himself broke quickly onto a loose ball in the 19th minute, but his eventual shot was well parried by Conor O’Donnell in the UCD goal.

Kavanagh’s influence was increasing, and more neat play from him on the left sideline led to a deep Jack Memery cross being headed against the crossbar by Corcoran. A Kavanagh shot led to a series of Bohs corners before the deadlock was finally broken on the 35th minute.

When the former Derry man received the ball just inside the left touchline, there was little danger for UCD. However, one effortless shimmy later, he found a kernel of space just inside the angle of the 18 yard box. From there, he unleashed a fabulous curling effort that was postage stamped, delivered, and signed for in the top corner. It proved to be the first goal of the 2014 Airtricity League season.

Bohs couldn’t quite press on and get the second before half time, but 1-0 flattered the students at the break to be fair. Former Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan has a lot of work to do at Belfield, and most at Dalymount would send nothing but good will his way.

Every single game in the Airtricity League will feature a stage where the opposition is in the ascendancy, and this occurred in the first ten minutes of the second half here. UCD, as ever, have some neat footballers in their squad, and Dean Clarke flashed their first real half-chance over the bar on 49 minutes. However, just as the Students looked to be clawing their way back into the game, Dinny Corcoran struck.

The lone frontman had performed admirably all game, and finally got a deserved goal just after the hour mark. This one was all his own making – having shrugged off the ample frame of Ian Ryan, Corcoran checked back to beat the same man again before applying the finish.

The ball cannoned off of the right hand post, and agonizingly fell over the line. Even if it hadn’t, Beattie would have tapped in any scraps that came back out. Corcoran deserved his standing ovation when he was replaced by Byrne for the final five minutes.

Is there anything more that can be said about Byrne? When he scored with his first touch of the ball, there was nothing surprising about it! The bustling Beattie picked up the ball on the right wing, checked inside, and let fly with a powerful 25-yard strike that O’Donnell could only parry.

You Know Who was on-hand to head the rebound into the net for his 208th goal in Irish football. His 87th minute strike was also his record ninth opening round goal since the league split in 1985. Every Bohs player was roundly applauded off by a delighted away crowd.

Next up in the league for Bohs is a home clash with Drogheda United, who were impressive home winners against last season’s runners up Dundalk. Before all that, Bohs have to pack up their notes and head back to UCD for an EA Sports Cup clash on Monday night. A study of this performance would be the perfect homework assignment.

UCD: Conor O’Donnell, Michael Barker, Ian Ryan, Tomás Boyle, Gareth Matthews, James Kavanagh (Cillian Morrison, 78), Robbie Creevy, Chris Mulhall, Ayman Ben Mohamad (Samir Belhout, 60), Robbie Benson, Dean Clarke. Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Hugh Douglas, Gary Burke, Cillian Morrison, Dwayne Wilson, Michael Scott, Samir Belhout

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Stephen Beattie, Craig Walsh, Dave Mulcahy (Ryan McEvoy, 57) , Karl Moore (Keith Buckley, 76), Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran (Jason Byrne, 85). Subs not used: Lee Murphy, Stephen Traynor, Kevin Devaney, Philly McCabe.

FIVE-STAR GYPSIES DISH OUT LEINSTER SENIOR LESSON

BOHEMIANS  5 – 1  BRAY WANDERERS

Bohemians got their competitive season off to a scintillating start with a comprehensive thrashing of Bray Wanderers in the Leinster Senior Cup at Dalymount Park.

A brace from Dinny Corcoran alongside goals from Andy Mulligan, Steven Beattie and Jason Byrne booked a quarter-final tie against arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers. Manager Owen Heary couldn’t have written a better script as the home side disembowelled Bray in a performance full of attacking promise.

There were competitive debuts for Jack Memery, Craig Walsh, Paddy Kavanagh and Beattie in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation that provided the perfect tonic for next Friday’s league opener against UCD, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs immediately signalled their attacking threat with a whipped corner from Andy Mulligan that was narrowly headed wide by Beattie. Derek Pender looks to have formed a potent alliance with Beattie on the right flank and these combined for Bohs best opening of the first 20 minutes. Pender’s eventual cross was just inches over Mulligan’s head.

All of the attacking threat was coming from the right side and it was no surprise when this area became the avenue for Bohs’ opening goal in the 28th minute. Bray full-back Jamie McGlynn dwelt a fraction too long on the ball in the corner and his eventual clearance was blocked down by Kavanagh, who rushed on to the spinning ball and did well to keep it in play. His accurate pull-back found Dinny Cororan, who toe-poked a shot goalwards. Shane Redmond could only parry Corcoran’s shot into the path of Andy Mulligan, who had the simple task of scoring the Gypsies’ first competitive goal of the season.

Kavanagh was excellent in the hole behind Corcoran and was unsurprisingly involved again in the build-up to the second goal, just three minutes later. He had the vision to pick out a perfect through ball to the galloping Dave Mulcahy – again on the Bohs right side. In a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment, Mulcahy’s low drilled cross was superbly tucked into the top corner of the net by Corcoran, who made an intelligent strikers’ run to the near post.

Bray’s defence was completely on the ropes and a boxing match would have been stopped by the time Bohs got a third in the 38th minute. After more neat play from Kavanagh, Corcoran found himself in acres of space, this time in the left channel. His chipped cross should really have been finished by Mulligan, but the winger fluffed his attempt across the six-yard line. Luckily for him, Beattie was on hand to slide the ball into the empty net.

3-0 wouldn’t have flattered the Gypsies at half-time, but there was another piece of action before the break. On a rare foray into the Bohs half, David Webster attempted an outside-of-the-boot cross. The ball struck Roberto Lopes on the upper arm, but the awarding of a penalty seemed extremely harsh. Lopes’ left arm was in a perfectly natural position by his side and he didn’t move towards the ball. Nevertheless, referee Simon Rogers pointed to the spot and Jake Kelly buried the penalty. Dean Delany guessed right, but had no chance of stopping it.

A Bray half-time substitute came in the familiar form of Dave Scully, who was roundly welcomed by the small home crowd. However, the former Bohs cult hero saw the game put to bed just five minutes after the restart. A Mulligan corner was cleared all the way out to Jack Memery, who fired a pass from the halfway line. The ball was brilliantly controlled by the chest of a retreating Corcoran, who promptly rounded Bray keeper Redmond, who clearly brought the striker down. Perhaps because Bohs were already 3-1 up, perhaps because it was a Leinster Senior Cup game – but referee Rogers decided not to send Redmond off. In a league game, there would have been uproar – Corcoran was definitely denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. Either way, Dinny picked himself up and grabbed his second of the night by sending Redmond the wrong way from the spot. Former Bray man Jason Byrne replaced Corcoran soon after. Almost certainly the most difficult decision facing Heary next week is who to start up front, if he opts for a lone striker.

As soon as Byrne appeared, you felt that he would round off the scoring against his old club. As usual, he didn’t disappoint. In the final minute of normal time, Beattie went on one last slaloming run. Beating four Bray defenders and edging closer to goal, he selflessly cut the ball back into the path of Byrne, whose left-footed shot completed the rout.

Performance pluses for Bohs included Walsh, who was neat and bustling in midfield, Kavanagh, who provided a touch of creative class, and Aidan Price, who was solid and composed at the back. Things are looking good for next week’s opener at the Belfield Bowl.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Jack Memery, Craig Walsh, Dave Mulcahy (Ryan McEvoy, 77), Andy Mulligan, Paddy Kavanagh (Stephen Traynor, 70), Steven Beattie, Dinny Corcoran (Jason Byrne, 65). Subs not used: Lee Murphy, Kevin Devaney, Keith Buckley, Philly McCabe.

Bray Wanderers: Shane Redmond, Niall Cooney, Danny O’Connor (Shane O’Connor, 39), Shane Byrne (Graham Kelly, 68), Jamie McGlynn, Dean Zambra, David Cassidy, Adam Hanlon, David Webster, Jake Kelly, Ciaran Byrne (Dave Scully, 46). Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Philip Nolan, Robert Moloney, Gary Curran.

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