ALL SQUARE AT SCRIBBLESTOWN

SHELBOURNE 1 BOHEMIANS 1

In an even game at Scribblestown on Friday evening, Jason Byrne’s second-half penalty gave Bohemians the lead but they were pegged back almost immediately by Jordan Keegan, who ensured Shelbourne would earn a deserved draw, writes CONOR HAYES.

The game began under a heavy rain shower and this impacted on both sets of players, who struggled to make an impression in the early stages – the only action of note being Karl Moore’s cross from the left which nearly found lone-striker Byrne but was well gathered by Shelbourne keeper Greg Murray.

As the rain stopped, the game improved and it was Shels who had the first effort on goal in the 18th minute as Gareth Coughlan’s 35-yard free-kick stung the hands of keeper Dean Delany before it was eventually cleared to safety.

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This seemed to spring Bohs into life and soon afterwards Craig Walsh wasn’t too far away with his shot from distance, which was well parried by Murray.

With 30 minutes gone, the best chance of the half arrived. Patrick Kavanagh, playing behind the front man, pushed a lovely through ball to substitute Keith Buckley who couldn’t beat his former Bohs team-mate Murray one-on-one.

Five minutes later, the Shels net-minder was called into action again as Roberto Lopes teed-up a volley for himself, which was clawed away and behind for a corner.

Shelbourne then had the better of the rest of the first period. First, Darren Tinnelly worked his way into the box but then shot over the bar, while just before the half-time whistle sounded, Michael Duffy found himself in space but shot straight at Delany.

The Drumcondra outfit began the second half as they had ended the first and again tested Delany, this time former Bohs Under-19 ace Dylan Connolly with the effort. Another former Gypsy, substitute Conor Murphy, then had a chance in the box but skewed his shot wide.

On 60 minutes and against the run of play, Bohemians took the lead. A back-pass from the right side put Murray under serious pressure and with Andy Mulligan – only brought on seconds before – about to nip in, he pushed the winger over inside the box, a clear penalty. Byrne stepped up and sent the him the wrong way.

Bohs’ lead was to be short-lived, however. Less than three minutes later, Shels were level and again it was a back-pass which put a keeper in difficulty. Lopes left his effort short of Delany, who could only half-clear the ball to substitute Keegan, whose lovely effort from 40 yards found the empty net.

Owen Heary brought on more reinforcements from the bench at this point and with 20 minutes remaining, one of those subs, Anto Murphy, almost found the corner with a curling drive but again Murray was equal to it.

Bohs were playing with more confidence and an excellent move which involved new signings Walsh and Steven Beattie eventually found its way to Dinny Corcoran, who just couldn’t turn in Mulligan’s pull-back.

Skipper Derek Pender, marauding from right-back, was heavily involved as the men in red and black pushed for a winner and five minutes from time, he found Beattie lurking in the box but the forward could only scuff his shot into the ground, which allowed Murray to collect with ease.

This was the last major chance and Shelbourne saw out the remaining minutes to secure a deserved draw. Next up for the Gypsies is the rescheduled Leinster Senior Cup tie against Bray Wanderers at Dalymount Park on Thursday evening.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Patrick Kavanagh (Steven Beattie 65), Ryan McEvoy (Anto Murphy 58), Craig Walsh (Darragh Reynor 82), Kevin Devaney (Keith Buckley 17), Karl Moore (Andy Mulligan 58), Jason Byrne (Dinny Corcoran 65).

Shelbourne: Greg Murray, Simon Dixon, Philip Hand, Robert Gaul, William McDonagh, Stephen Sherrin, Keith Quinn, Gareth Coughlan, Dylan Connolly, Darren Tinnelly, Michael Duffy, Subs: Brian Gannon, John Sullivan, Lee Murtagh, Jordan Keegan, Conor Murphy.

BYRNE VOLLEY SINKS TOLKA

BOHEMIANS  2 – 1  TOLKA ROVERS

Jason Byrne grabbed the first goal of his second coming in a Bohemians shirt to see off Leinster Senior League side Tolka Rovers at IT Blanchardstown on Monday night. The Tallaght man’s clinical far post volley proved to be the winner in a fiercely-fought contest on the lush astro-turf in West Dublin.

Bohs boss Owen Heary will have been pleased by the application and determination of the opposition, who provided a well-organised test for his match-starved side. Following the cancellation of games against Bray Wanderers and Sandyhill / Shangan, this was just the second time the Gypsies completed the full 90 minutes in the 2014 pre-season programme, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The wind and rain kept the crowd low, but those who did turn out got to see new signing Steven Beattie operate with menace from the right flank. The former Northern Kentucky University star looked extremely sharp from the outset, and shone alongside Jack Memery, Aidan Price, and Jason Byrne as the 4 new / returning faces in the starting line-up. Beattie and Byrne linked up for the first shot of the night, but record-chasing Byrne’s curling effort was deflected over on 5 minutes. Midfielder Darragh Reynor will be looking for more game time this season, and he forced an unorthodox save from Tolka ‘keeper Gavin Brown in what was the only other Bohs effort in a tight opening half hour.

Bohs had the ball in the net on 33 minutes, but Dinny Corcoran’s header was ruled out by Rhona Daly, who correctly adjudged that Aidan Price was climbing all over Tolka’s John Brophy. Centre half Brophy was in action again just two minutes later when he headed against his own post under pressure from Jason Byrne. From the resulting corner, Roberto Lopes hit the opposite post with a towering header. The Gypsies were well on top at this stage, and got a deserved opening goal with three minutes to go before half time.  Captain Derek Pender played a crisp one-two with Beattie down the right hand side, out-muscled his full-back opponent, and pulled a by-line cross to the onrushing Stephen Traynor, who scooped the ball past Brown from close range.

Although Heary would have been happy to have the lead, he looked for more creativity in the second half, and his side responded almost immediately. A pinpoint cross-field ball from left full Jack Memery found right winger Steven Beattie, who showed a burst of real pace to beat his man on the inside before unleashing a strong left-footed shot that Brown could only parry for a corner. Beattie was hitting his stride and found himself in behind 5 minutes later when Dinny Corcoran slipped him in. His pulled-back cross was perfect for Byrne, but the veteran’s dragged effort was disappointing for a finisher of his high standards.

On the opposite flank, Andy Mulligan got in on the creative act with a lovely cross that Corcoran headed wide before Tolka scored a very fine equalizer against the run of play. The hour mark had just arrived when Luke Kelly found himself with space, and he spliced the Bohs defence apart with a delicious through ball for Shane Hughes, who finished neatly past the onrushing Dean Delany. Bohs resumed their attacking threat from the right almost at once, with a Pender cross and Corcoran lay-off paving the way for Reynor to hit the angle of post and bar with an 18-yard effort. The offensive triangle of Byrne, Corcoran and Beattie combined in the best move of the match on 63 minutes, but Corcoran’s eventual shot was well saved by Brown in the Tolka goal.

Beattie made way for Keith Buckley before Bohs got the lead goal on 67 minutes. Mulligan was clattered by Aaron Henderson, which set up a free-kick about 35 yards out on the left flank. Reynor’s left-footed cross soared all the way to the back post, where the ever-lurking, always-predatory Jason Byrne was waiting. His first-time volley was the classiest piece of skill in the entire 90 minutes, nestled in the far corner, and proved to be the winner.

It wasn’t the last piece of action however, as Tolka Rovers were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute. Substitute Ryan McEvoy tangled with the onrushing Carl Somers, and referee Rhona Daly pointed to the spot. The penalty was particularly soft – the most dangerous thing about McEvoy’s challenge was the Bohs man’s beard. Tolka goalscorer Shane Hughed stepped up, but his penalty was well-saved by the knee of Delany.

Heary emptied his bench in the last 20 minutes to give much-needed game time to Dave Mulcahy, Anto Murphy, Craig Walsh, Paddy Collins, and another Monday afternoon signing, Philip McCabe. The game petered out with no more incidents to report. Next up for Bohs is a tie with local rivals Shelbourne on Friday evening. Two weeks from that night, the league campaign gets under way. It’s getting close.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Jack Memery (Philip McCabe, 72), Steven Beattie (Keith Buckley, 63), Darragh Reynor (Craig Walsh, 68), Stephen Traynor (Ryan McEvoy, 68), Andy Mulligan, Dinny Corcoran (Paddy Collins, 74), Jason Byrne (Dave Mulcahy, 74).

Tolka Rovers: Gavin Brown, Derek Swan, Aaron Henderson, Niall O’Reilly, John Brophy, Wayne Byrne, Dennis Moran, Brian Fitzpatrick, David Somers, Carl Somers, Luke Kelly. Substitutes: Shane Hughes, Tony Collins, Eamon Moylan, Sean Kelly, Paul Fitzpatrick, Robert Keegan.

Referee: Rhona Daly

Pic by A. Baldiemann: Stephen Traynor scoops home Bohs’ opener.

WATERFORD FRIENDLY ABANDONED

WATERFORD UNITED 1 BOHEMIANS 1

Friday’s friendly with Waterford United was abandoned at half-time due to deteriorating conditions at a rain-soaked RSC.

Karl Moore had given Owen Heary’s side a fourth-minute lead before former Bohemians midfielder Shane Murray equalised from the penalty spot on 42 minutes after he was fouled in the box by Anto Murphy.

Waterford United: Kevin Burns, Conor Whittle, Thomas Whitty, Paddy Barrett, Gavin Kavanagh, Gary Delaney, Kynan Rocks, Shane Murray, Willie John Kiely, Vinny Sullivan, Paul Quilty.  Subs: Philip Drohan, Stephen Kenny, Thomas Croke, Peter White, Gavin O’Donovan, Matthew Connor, Shaun Corcoran, Patrick Fitzgerald.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Philly McCabe, Anto Murphy, Aidan Price, Kevin Devaney, Ryan McEvoy, Craig Walsh, Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh, Dinny Corcoran.  Subs: Steven Beattie, Roberto Lopes, Jason Byrne, Andy Mulligan, Jack Memery, Stephen Traynor, Lee Murphy.

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