BOHS BOUNCE BACK IN STYLE

BRAY WANDERERS 1 BOHEMIANS 3

Life after Aaron Callaghan started for Bohemians with a much-needed victory against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Friday evening, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

A first-half penalty from Ryan McEvoy, celebrating his 23rd birthday, and two late strikes from Dinny Corcoran, making his first start since re-signing from UCD, ended the Gypsies’ run of 11 league games without a win.

Despite Shelbourne’s late win against Limerick, Bohs’ victory reignited confidence and  with it, hopes of survival in the Premier Division, among players and fans alike.

Having taken temporary charge on Tuesday, caretaker boss Owen Heary had to be content with watching on from the TV gantry as he served the first of a two-match ban handed down after his red card in last week’s defeat to Dundalk at Oriel Park.

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It was left to first-team coach Terry Butler and Heary’s Under-19 assistant manager Graham O’Hanlon to relay the 36-year-old’s instructions from dugout.

The Gypsies started the better but could have fallen behind when former Bohs favourite Jason Byrne forced a great save from Dean Delany.

But the visitors drew first blood on 11 minutes. Keith Buckley surged down the right wing and played the ball into Chris Lyons.

The Bohs frontman flicked it away from Bray defender Shane O’Connor, who then took down Lyons  in his bid to regain possession. Referee Tomás Connolly had to point to the spot and birthday boy McEvoy stepped up and buried it into the corner of the net. 1-0 Bohs.

Bray goalkeeper Darren Quigley almost handed Bohs a two-goal cushion close to half-time when he spilled a cross into Corcoran’s path. The Bohs No 24 prodded the ball goalwards but the Seagulls managed to get back and clear their lines.

Izzy Akinade then almost made the former UCD player rue that wasted opportunity but he too fluffed a glorious chance when he mistimed his header from six yards out.

The second half started with the home side beginning to exert some dominance. Pat Devlin’s men had numerous sightings of goal but the Bohs defence kept them at bay.

And, when Adam Mitchell received a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Moore, it looked as though Bohs would kick on to secure a comfortable victory.

But on 67 minutes, Byrne both won and a converted a controversial penalty, after Dave Mulcahy was adjudged to have fouled the 35-year-old.

Memories of April’s trip to Thomond Park came flooding back among the nervy travelling support. On that occasion, Bohs threw away a 1-0 lead to lose late to 10-man Limerick.

And those fears could have been realised when Kieran Marty Walters went close to giving the home side the lead when he tried lob Delany from 30 yards out.

But, with just over 10 minutes remaining, the travelling support got the decisive goal they had craved for so long as Moore put the ball across the box where Corcoran finished neatly from 12 yards out.

Bohs faced into a nervy few minutes, but Corcoran was on hand once more as the clock ticked towards injury-time. Quigley saved from Conor Murphy, but Corcoran was in the right place to put the game beyond the Seagulls’ reach.

BRAY WANDERERS: Quigley; Hyland (Webster 64), Mitchell, O’Connor, Earley (Knight 82)6; Dempsey 6 (Coombes 69), Zambra; Akinade, Mulroy, Waters; Byrne.

BOHEMIANS: Delany; Pender, Lopes, Byrne, Reynor; Buckley (Devaney 81), McEvoy, Mulcahy, Moore; Lyons (Murphy 69), Corcoran.

REFEREE: T Connolly (Dublin).

Picture, by David Maher of Sportsfile, shows Dinny Corcoran his first and Bohs’ second goal of the night.

BOHS DUN BY SLICK LILYWHITES

DUNDALK 3 – 0 BOHEMIANS

The relegation heat is well and truly on for Bohemians after another flat, lifeless defeat left the Gypsies just one point above the automatic relegation spot in the Airtricity Premier Division. Title-chasing Dundalk condemned Bohs to their 5th league defeat in a row after three calamitous, unanswered goals in front of a boisterous home support. In an extremely disappointing second half period, a section of Bohemians supporters audibly turned on Gypsies manager Aaron Callaghan for the first time of real notice during this disastrous run of form.

Goalkeeping errors, defensive mistakes and a ridiculous red card for captain Owen Heary sapped the life out of a clearly disheartened visiting team. Callaghan went for a more attacking 4-4-2 formation but chance and goals still failed to materialise, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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After an initially cagey opening quarter, Dundalk began to turn the screw. Dean Delany saved brilliantly at his near post following a powerful snap-shot from Kurtis Byrne. Unfortunately for the Bohs net minder, that good work was undone when Dundalk grabbed the opener on 27 minutes. Keith Buckley surrendered possession on the right wing and Dane Massey’s looped cross was misjudged by Delany – who could only flap as the ball cannoned off Dave Mulcahy, Pat Hoban, and dribbled into the net.

Bohs’ only real clear cut chance of note fell to Conor Murphy who wriggled his way into the Dundalk box on 35 minutes, however the home side’s bouncy astroturf pitch did him no favours as he couldn’t quite get it down before prodding wide. Dundalk finished the half stronger with a series of free kicks and corners hemming Bohs into their own half.

The opening 15 minutes of the 2nd half yielded little for both teams before a suicidal ten minute spell signalled a change in attitudes both on and off the pitch. First, the usually dependable Dave Mulcahy made what could be described as a schoolboy error of misjudging a floating ball allowing Hoban clean through on goal. The ball bounced kindly for the Dundalk striker who had the relatively simple task of nodding over the on rushing Delany to double the Lillywhites’ advantage. Just 7 minutes later, the game was all but done following another goalkeeping mistake from the ex-Shelbourne keeper. Hoban was a menace to Bohs all night – but there seemed to be little danger when the ball fell to him on the right hand side of the box almost at the by-line. His cross-cum shot was relatively powerful, but caught Delany out at his near post, and the keeper could only bat it into the top corner of his own net.

The atmosphere within the Bohemians fans turned from that point onwards, with manager Callaghan receiving the brunt of their criticism. To compound the misery, captain Owen Heary produced a moment of madness with 20 minutes remaining. Playing at right back, the 37 year old had endured a nightmare of a game – and his groin-high stamp on Hoban gave referee Neil Doyle little option but to show a straight red card. He will miss vital games against Bray Wanderers and Drogheda United; games where his experience could have come in handy.

Bohs ironically began to play a bit following the dismissal of Heary. The introduction of Chris Lyons, and new signings Dinny Corcoran & Lorcan Shannon added some freshness to the already defeated team.

Very few fans applauded the Bohemian players off the pitch, which is a very rare occurrence. To his credit, Bohs goalkeeping coach Fred Davis came out to reason with a group of supporters who were waiting at the side of the pitch at the end of the game. He reiterated Callaghan’s mantra of “young, inexperienced players” and pointed to the crucial next 3 weeks and games against relegation rivals. With Shelbourne closing to within a point at the bottom of the table, next week’s game against Bray becomes absolutely do or die for the struggling Gypsies.

Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; John Sullivan(69), Andy Boyle, Mark Rossiter, Dane Massey(Brian Gartland 53); Richie Towell, Stephen O’Donnell©; Darren Meenan, Francis McCaffrey(John Dillon78); Patrick Hoban, Kurtis Byrne. Subs not used: Vinny Faherty, Jordan Keegan, Brian Gartland, Aaron Shanahan.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Owen Heary©, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Pender, Luke Byrne; Michael Barker, Keith Buckley, Shane Murray(Lorcan Shannon 58), Karl Moore; Conor Murphy(Chris Lyons 76), Dave Scully(Daniel Corcoran 71). Subs not used: Roberto Lopez, Kevin Devanney, Santiago Folbo, Greg Murray.

BOSS HOGS POINTS FOR SMASH AND GRAB LIMERICK

BOHEMAINS 0 – 1 LIMERICK

Limerick left Dalymount Park with a scarcely-deserved three points after Axel Bossekota’s second half strike condemed the Gypsies to a fourth home league defeat in a row. No goals and no points was a familiar outcome for Bohs at Dalymount this season – but there was a glimmer of hope for Aaron Callaghan’s men with a much improved performance that could easily have yielded a draw at the very least.

Callaghan handed league debuts to recently signed duo Conor Murphy and Zein Albehadlie, but the home side still failed to find the net for the 5th home game in a row in all competitions. Indeed, the last Bohemians player to score a league goal at Dalymount Park was Chris Lyons against Bray on the 26th of April – more than two months ago, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The opening exchanges were particularly cagey, with Callaghan’s side clearly desperate to avoid conceding yet another early goal. Iraqi full back Albehadlie’s positional sense was questioned, but the 19 year old showed some real tenacity and willingness to compete, which is going to be the key to the obvious relegation battle that the Gypsies now find themselves in. The first opportunity fell to Limerick dangerman Bossekota, whose low shot was well saved by the feet of the improving Dean Delany.

Karl Moore was outstanding for Bohs down the right flank, and he linked up well with Shane Murray to set up Bohs’ first real opportunity. Murray’s lovely floated cross found debutant Murphy, but his header from 12 yards was miscued wide. There was a break in play as referee Paul Tuite was informed that Bohs full backs Michael Barker and Albehadlie were both wearing number 22. Albehadlie was given the correct no. 20, and the Jodi Stand collectively shook their heads. Perhaps the confusion was down to the fact that Bohs were bizarrely wearing white against a team in all blue. With the team in such dire form, the iconic red and black jersey is what the players should be playing for, not a generic away strip.

Moore had Shane Tracy haunted all night until he was bizarrely switched  to the left side in the second half. He disposessed Tracy and fed a lovely pass through to Murphy who had almost too much time, sliding a tame cross into Barry Ryan’s hands. Derek Pender was playing in a midfield role, and he had a great opportunity from 18 yards. His shot stung Barry Ryan’s palms but no more. Limerick had the last opportunity before the half with Darragh Rainsford forcing another smart stop from Delany.

Moore jinked inside Tracy again on 63 minutes but his shot flew wide. Almost instantly, Galbraith’s long ball caught the Bohs defense at sixes and sevens, and Bossekota was suddenly through on goal. The French-born forward may have handled the ball to control it, but steadied himself to fire expertly past Delany. Just the kind of luck that Bohs didnt deserve.

Kevin Devaney, Dave Mulcahy and Dave Scully were thrown on to try and save the game for Bohs, and the increase in pressure started to yield results. Again, Moore was involved, setting up Murphy for a goalmouth scramble that was cleared at the last moment. Successive corners followed, with Scully and Mulcahy going close before an ill-advised short corner was lost by Keith Buckley, who had an abysmal game.

Bohs still had time for two great chances in stoppage time. First, Dave Scully did brilliantly to head a bouncing ball towards the bottom corner. It was all but in, but Barry Ryan somehow managed to stretch out a claw and deny Scully a first league goal of the season. With almost the last attack, Ryan saved brillantly with his feet as Derek Pender desparately tried to poke home an equaliser.

That’s 10 league games without a win for Bohs, who remain in the relegation play-off spot, 5 points ahead of Shelbourne having played a game more than their North Dublin rivals. Next up is a trip to title chasing Dundalk before a crucial game against Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Zein Albehadlie (Kevin Devaney, 63), Roberto Lopes, Michael Barker, Luke Byrne; Karl Moore, Shane Murray (Dave Scully, 70), Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Darragh Reynor Dave Mulcahy, 52); Conor Murphy. Subs not used: Greg Murray; Owen Heary, Chris Lyons, Santiago Miguel Falbo.

Limerick: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy (Shane Costelloe, 52); Stephen Bradley (David O’Leary, 63), Joe Gamble, Danny Galbraith, Craig Curran; Darragh Rainsford, Axel Bossekota. Subs not used: Shane Cusack; Brian O’Callaghan, Barry Sheedy, James McGrath, Val Feeney.

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