SWORDS NO MATCH FOR STEVEN’S CUTTING EDGE

BOHEMIANS 4 SWORDS CELTIC 0

A goal from skipper Derek Pender and a hat-trick by trialist Steven Beattie ensured that Bohemians’ first fixture of 2014 resulted in a comfortable victory over Swords Celtic at Martin Savage Park in Scribblestown, writes CONOR HAYES.

Played on a bitterly cold Sunday evening, the game was lit up by half-time substitute Beattie who provided three expert finishes, all in the second half, to turn this one into a rout.

Bohs’ six off-season signings were included in the starting XI and Owen Heary’s men began the game confidently, looking to spray the ball around the park. They had much of the possession during this opening period but failed to create a chance against the Swords Celtic back-line, who started the game defending deep.

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It was one of the new boys who had the Gypsies’ first real shot in anger on 16 minutes. A free-kick floated into the box had been half-cleared by Celtic’s defence, allowing left-back Jack Memery, signed from Shelbourne, to hit a vicious, dipping volley from outside the area which flew just wide.

Bohs grew more in confidence after this and Karl Moore began causing problems down the right-hand side for the Swords defence. It was no surprise, therefore, that he was heavily involved when Bohs broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. Good play from the former Manchester City youngster on the wing saw him pick out Craig Walsh inside the box. The ex-UCD midfielder’s blocked shot landed to the feet of Pender, who coolly finished with his left foot from just inside the area.

Swords seemed rattled by falling behind and a poor lofted backpass which goalkeeper Simon Dunne couldn’t clear fell to Patrick Kavanagh – the winger signed from Derry City should have scored with the goal at his mercy.

On 38 minutes, Dunne redeemed himself with a wonderful save from Moore,whose hooked shot from the right edge of the area seemed destined for the net before being dragged away by the net minder and out for a corner.

Bohs made seven changes at the break but this didn’t seem to disrupt their rhythm as Walsh shot just over with the second half barely a minute old. Next, Andy Mulligan found Dinny Corcoran in the box but his knock-down just failed to find Beattie. The striker, who has enjoyed spells in the US, Canada and Iceland, would soon get his name on the scoresheet, however.

On 58 minutes, the best moment of the game arrived. A disallowed goal from Celtic for a handball allowed Bohs to clear with a searching ball from defence. It eventually found its way to Beattie who, on the turn, hit a stunning scissor kick volley into the top corner of the net. A marvelous strike.

But Beattie was not done yet. Ten minutes later, a short corner found its way to sub Kevin Devaney, whose cross went through a melee of bodies untouched only to find Beattie creeping at the back post. The striker finished tidily from six yards to claim his second of the night.

Swords began to visibly tire at this point and striker Corcoran missed two glorious chances to put a real gloss on the scoreline. The first set up by Anto Murphy’s header and the second saw the former Drogheda and UCD man fluff his lines after nice interplay between Stephen Traynor and Mulligan.

Bohs would not be denied a fourth though and three minutes from time, Beattie completedhis hat-trick. The forward rounded the keeper and slotted home after a brilliant through ball by Traynor.

So, a good result and a nice run-out for boss Heary, who was able to use 21 players on the night. Bohs continue their pre-season itinerary against Waterford United on Friday evening at the R.S.C.

Bohemians: Lee Murphy (Dean Delany 45), Jack Memery (Philly McCabe 45), Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes (Lee Whelan 80), Derek Pender (Anto Murphy 69), Keith Buckley (Kevin Devaney 45), Ryan McEvoy (Stephen Traynor 45), Craig Walsh (Jake Hyland 65), Karl Moore (Andy Mulligan), Patrick Kavanagh (Steven Beattie 45), Jason Byrne (Dinny Corcoran 45).

Swords Celtic: Simon Dunne, Brian Finnigan, Mark Gibson, Keith Reilly, Niall Hudson, Adam Hanley, Paul Shields, Andrew Timmons, Gavin Whelan, Stephen O’Reilly, Daniel Smith.

Referee: Ben Connolly.

HEARY SCORES IN FITTING FAREWELL

Over 1000 spectators and 36 players created a lively atmosphere for the Owen Heary Tribute Match at Dalymount Park on Sunday afternoon, writes Brian Trench.

Glen Crowe and Dessie Baker rolled back the years as they scored for Bohemian XI and Shelbourne XI respectively.

The crowd appreciated the flicks and feints of Joseph Ndo and double goal-scorer Killian Brennan, and the several audacious chips and lobs of Neale Fenn.

There were repeated cheers for the efforts of Owen Heary, who played the first half in Shelbourne strip and the second half in a Bohemian shirt.

The biggest cheer came in the second half when Heary hit a speculative lob from 40 yards that somehow found the net having touched the post and goalkeeper Fred Davis’ (yes! he played too) shoulder. Heary immediately left the field to long applause.

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The goalkeeper at the other end, Lee Murphy, recently signed to Bohemians from Shelbourne, had the dubious distinction of picking up the only yellow card.

Like others of the currently active players, Murphy was more energetic than some of the veterans and he pulled off several fine saves, including one from Owen Heary.

When Shelbourne were awarded a soft penalty and the spot-kick was given to Shels fan Fran Reilly, Murphy dived low to his right and saved it. Referee Paul Tuite gave him a yellow card, presumably for bad sportsmanship!

Five goals down after Heary’s score, Shelbourne continued to look for consolation. When second-half sub Dessie Baker eventually scored with a fine shot, Tuite blew the final whistle.

Following Saturday night’s tribute dinner, when Johny Logan, Eric Lalor and a very enthusiastic Dermot Keely were among those who entertained the gathering, Sunday’s match provided a fitting farewell tor Owen Heary, the player.

Owen Heary, the manager, will continue to grace Dalymount Park and inspire the next generation of players.

Bohemians selection: Lee Murphy, Owen Heary, Thomas Heary, Glen Crowe, Neale Fenn, Mark Rossitter, Anto Murphy, Ken Oman, Jason McGuinness, Fergal Harkin, Stephen O’Donnell, Ryan McEvoy, Killian Brennan, Conor Powell, Dave Mulcahy, Jason Kavanagh (Winner of fan auction).

Managed by Pat Fenlon

Shelbourne Selection: Steve Williams, Richie Baker, Owen Heary, Stuart Byrne, Jamie Harris, Alan Cawley, Declan Geoghegan, Stephen Geoghegan, Jim Crawford, Kevin Doherty, Jason Byrne, Ollie Cahill, Glen Fitzpatrick, Joseph N’do, Alan Reynolds, Derek Pender, Fred Davis, Dave Rogers, Dessie Baker, Fran Reilly (winner of fan auction).

Managed by Dermot Keely

KIERAN MARTY SPOILS HEARY PARTY

BOHEMIANS 0 – 1 BRAY WANDERERS

A smash and grab goal from Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters 15 minutes from time gave Bray Wanderers three precious points, relegated Shelbourne, and ensured that next week’s final round of games will have a ‘squeaky bum’ edge for Bohemians, Bray, and UCD. Should Bohs fail to get a point in Drogheda, wins for UCD and Bray would condemn the Gypsies to a scarcely believable relegation play-off against either Mervue United or Longford Town.

This wasn’t in the script. The script read that it was Owen Heary’s final home game as a Bohs player, he would come on for the final few minutes to a hero’s applause, and the Gypsies would secure their Premier Division status for 2014 with a comprehensive performance. However, Pat Devlin has proved many times that has no interest in Bohs-friendly scripts. He convincingly won a tactical battle against Heary and Bobby Browne by seeing his team sitting deep for most of the game, nicking a goal on the break, and defending well to the death, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Slippery conditions, swirling winds, and a steady stream of rain made this tension-charged game even scrappier than it needed to be. Bohs were clearly the more nervous team. Bray knew exactly what they needed to do, but Bohs lacked the Seagulls’ urgency. The home side knew a point would suit them, and they seemed to play with this in the back of their minds. The very first play of the game saw Karl Moore let the ball slip under his foot and out of play, and the pattern continued frustratingly like this for most of the night.

Even though their play wasnt particularly slick, Bohs were well on top of the first half as Bray sat back to an almost staggering degree. Dinny Corcoran and Ryan McEvoy combined for a well worked corner, but McEvoy’s shot was blocked by old friend Jason Byrne. Nerves on the pitch were echoed in the Jodi Stand, where the Bohs fans got some solace from the fact that Shamrock Rovers were surprisingly doing them a favour in beating UCD. Corcoran had the best chance of the half just before the break following superb work from Karl Moore down the left. Moore fed Keith Buckley, who laid off to Corcoran – but the striker’s shot flew over the bar from 10 yards.

As the game wore on, the growing realisation that this would be ‘one of those nights’ became all too apparent. The key moment arroved on 67 minutes. Stephen Traynor was played clean through by a nice lobbed Corcoran pass, but dallyed too long and allowed keeper Darren Quigley to block down his tame shot. In the ensuing scramble, the ball somehow popped up to an onrushing Corcoran, who could only direct his shot onto the crossbar. Bohs fans shared knowing looks; they’ve been following this team for too long to think it would all be wrapped up in a neat little package.

The inevitable goal came against the run of play on 76 minutes. Ryan McEvoy seemed to be fouled in the air, and the Bohs players seemed to stop. Neil Yadolahi played an aimless ball into no one, and suddenly Bray were on the attack. Kevin O’Connor slipped a lovely ball through to Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters who trapped the ball well but still had a lot to do. He wonderfully held off challenges from Yadolahi and Lopes before keeping his balance and firing past Dean Delany in off the upright. No one has ever explained why Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters is called Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, but if things go wrong next week, Bohs fans will be cursing his names.

The fightback never really materialised. There was one appeal for a penalty when Corcoran seemed to be manhandled in the Bray box, but the toothless attacking display never really looked like creating a goal all night. The final whistle should have resulted in a celebration and even a mini lap of honour, but instead was greeted with something of a stunned silence.

Next week’s final fixtures almost certainly pits the Gypsies with the most difficult game of the three relegation showdowns. They travel to Drogheda to face a group of players eager to impress ahead of the following week’s FAI Cup final. UCD take on an already relegated and turgid Shelbourne team, while Bray are at home to a Dundalk side that have already sealed European qualification. Just to reiterate, both Bray and UCD have to win and Bohs have to lose for the unthinkable to happen. Stranger things have occured in football, and there will undoubtedly be some squeaky bums heading north on the M1  next Friday evening.

Bohemians: Dean Delaney, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Neil Yadohali, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Darragh Reynor (Dave Scully 88), Ryan McEvoy, Karl Moore (Andy Mulligan, 85) Stephen Traynor (Kevin Devaney, 79), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Owen Heary, Michael Barker, Daniel Byrne, Greg Murray.

Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, David Webster, Shane O’Connor, Danny O’Connor (Daire Doyle 63), Dean Zambra, Ismahil Akinade, Kevin Maher, John Mulroy, Kevin O’Connor, Kieran Marty Waters, Jason Byrne (Gary Dempsey 75). Subs not used: Kevin Knight, Eoin Hyland, Ryan Coombes, Niall Cooney, Shane Redmond.

Attendance: 1,376

Website by Simon Alcock