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

HEAR-OIC BOHS BATTLE OFF BOTTOM

BOHEMIANS 1 – 0 SHAMROCK ROVERS

A cheer unlike anything heard at Dalymount Park this season greeted the final whistle as a battered and bruised Bohemians clawed their way off the bottom of the Airtricity Premier Division table with a barnstorming Derby victory. Dave Mulcahy’s early strike lifted the Gypsies to the lofty heights of 10th position and condemned a sorry-looking Shamrock Rovers to a third straight league defeat, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Manager Owen Heary took a big gamble by selecting life-long Bohs fan Daniel Byrne in the centre of midfield for his first start in the red and black shirt he dreamed of wearingas a boy. It was a gamble that dutifully paid off as Byrne and Mulcahy produced a tough-tackling, Hoop-busting performance to rival some of the great Hunt-Caffrey showings of the noughties. The Bohs backline held out admirably against a green and white tide in the second half, and Ronan Finn’s heart-stopping late penalty miss may well be one of those moments that shapes the final table come November.

Often these games can be extraordinarily cagey for the first 20 minutes, but this match was barely two minutes old before it exploded into life. Bohs forced an early corner which was taken by Andy Mulligan. His low pass was stepped-over by Anto Murphy before Luke Byrne scuffed a shot goalwards. First to react was the wily Mulcahy, who poked out a toe and beat Barry Murphy from close range. Cue delerium from the Jodi Stand, with some fans spilling onto the pitch in their delight.

The huddled Hooped horde in the Des Kelly stand were particularly tetchy all evening, spitting their fury toward referee Padraig Sutton, their own players, and finally manager Trevor Croly as the evening wore on. Danny Ledwith almost gave them some relief but his sixth minute free kick cannoned off the post. The Shams fans were particularly irked when Mulcahy clattered into Conor Powell after 9 minutes. It was a challenge that can be filed under “robust”, but the yellow card shown to him was sufficient. Croly was particularly apoplectic on the sideline, but he looked like a man under immense pressure for the entire 90 minutes.

While Rovers dominated possession and territory, it was Bohs who looked particularly dangerous from set pieces. First Conor Murphy should have done better from a whipped free kick, and then Anto Murphy couldnt quite twist his head around to make meaningful contact on a Mulligan corner. As half-time approached, Rovers were well on top, and could easily have had a penalty when debutant Byrne seemed to clearly handle in the box. He was trying to protect his face, but got two hands on the ball and Sutton amazingly didnt point to the spot.

The second period continued in a similar vein. Rovers piled men forward with little penetration, while Bohs struggled to put together some decent counter attacks. One counter attack that worked brilliantly allowed Dinny Corcoran to nod through to Andy Mulligan down the left. The Arklow man’s bobbly shot seemed to be destined for the corner, but agonizingly crept past the post and wide. Suspended Karl Moore, sitting in block E amongst the Bohs fans and cheering every tackle, was sure it was in.

As Bohs got deeper and deeper, nails were being bitten shorter and shorter. For all Shamrock Rovers squad depth and supposed talent, their constantly hoofed passes from the back seemed to be getting them nowhere until a bizarre penalty incident with 10 minutes remaining. Ken Oman launched yet another aimless ball toward the Bohs box where the first header was missed. The ball was about to bounce over Derek Pender into Mark Quigley’s path, and the Bohs full-back had no option but to stick his hand out and slap it away. This time Sutton pointed to the spot and Bohs hearts sank. In truth, Pender was lucky not to be sent off as he denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. Ronan Finn stepped up confidently, but his firmly struck penalty crashed off the crossbar and was scrambled clear. The roar of relief would have been heard in Wicklow.

The penalty was Rovers last real opportunity, and a series of blocked shots was all they had to offer in the last 10. Bohs were heroic in defence, with Luke Byrne in particular making some vital last ditch headers and clearances. Anto Murphy and Roberto Lopes were also immense at centre half, while Dinny Corcoran held the ball up magnificently on his own. Special mention to Stephen Traynor who was calm, collected and classy when he came on.

With the FAI Cup resuming next week, Heary has the chance to regroup and recouperate before a trip to table-topping St Pats. The blue touch paper has been well and truly lit on Bohs’ survival story.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Anto Murphy, Luke Byrne; Andy Mulligan, Dave Mulcahy, Daniel Byrne, Lorcan Shannon (Keith Buckley ’53); Conor Murphy (Stephen Traynor ’60), Dinny Corcoran (Dave Scully ’84). Subs not used: Darragh Reynor, Dave Scully, Kevin Devaney, Michael Barker, Greg Murray.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Conor Powell, Ken Oman, Pat Sullivan (c), Danny Ledwith (Mark Quigley ’65); Gary McCabe (Thomas Stewart ’46), Conor McCormack, Shane Robinson (Eamon Zayed ’84), Richie Ryan;  Ronan Finn, Karl Sheppard Subs not used: James Chambers, Nathan Brown, David Elebert, Shane Fagan

Attendance: 2,761

Website by Simon Alcock