DALYMOUNT DESPAIR CONTINUES – DROGS DUMP BOHS OUT

BOHEMIANS 0 – 3 DROGHEDA UNITED

Outclassed, outfought and out of the FAI Cup – Bohemians are a team flirting dangerously close to a crisis.  Three unanswered goals from visitors Drogheda United saw the Gypsies limp out of the cup at the first time of asking in front of a disappointingly small crowd at Dalymount Park.

Aaron Callaghan’s men were without the suspended Dave Scully and worryingly enough really struggled without the big front man.  Chris Lyons was deployed as the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation that struggled to create chances and rarely got in behind the Drogheda defence, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs have had the unhealthy habit of conceding early goals this season, and tonight the trend continued.  A Jason Marks corner was knocked down to right back Stephen Quigley who unleashed a powerful half-volleyed shot from the edge of the area.  Not for the first time this season, Dean Delany will be disappointed with his role, as the ball seemed to go right through his out stretched arms.  On the bench – Greg Murray watches and waits.

Bohs only real spell of dominance came during the middle of the first half.  First, a Ryan McEvoy swirling cross slipped through Gabriel Sava’s hands and hit the post. Then, Bohs only clear cut chances were created. Unfortunately for the home side, they fell to the less prolific Keith Buckley.   He created the first for himself, jinking inside and floating a shot too close to Sava. The second chance was the key one. Good work from Lyons down the left led to Buckley in acres of space, 14 yards out in the centre of the goal. His right-footed shot was somewhat scuffed, and bobbled off the post. It was a stroke of luck that has summed up Bohs last few performances at Dalymount Park.

Drogheda’s second goal came from a simple move down the left. Michael Barker was tortured by Jason Marks all night, and the left winger’s 38th minute cross found Declan O’Brien in acres of space in the six yard box. A striker of Fabio’s quality doesn’t need to be asked twice, and his header doubled the Drogs’ lead. The half-time whistle was greeted with a kind of glum silence.

Fair play to Bohs, they tried to gee themselves up in the second period. Buckley was especially busy, buzzing around the midfield areas. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any real cutting edge. The watching Pat Fenlon would have been puzzled to see the strike force that ended the game. Kevin O’Leary and Adam Kelly are not household names, but their inclusion in such an important game underlines the standard of Bohs squad at the moment.

Drogheda’s third goal fully killed the game. After Bohs failed to properly clear their lines, Philip Hand unleashed a powerful shot from a truly outrageous angle. Delany will again be disappointed to be beaten at his near post, but the finish was very good.

Bohs return to league action next week with a daunting trip to Sligo before a crunch relegation clash against Shelbourne.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore, 75), Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Michael Barker, Dwayne Wilson (Kevin O’Leary, 46), Chris Lyons (Adam Kelly, 70). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Stephen Traynor, Michael Scott, Darragh Reynor.

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava, Stephen Quigley, Paul O’Conor, Alan McNally, Cathal Brady, Ryan Brennan (Michael Daly, 86), Peter Hynes, Shane Grimes, Jason Marks (Philip Hand, 58), Alan Byrne, Declan ‘Fabio’ O’Brien (David Cassidy, 64). Subs not used: Michael Schlingermann, Gary O’Neill, Brian Gannon, Dean Gaynor.

Bohs Man of the Match: Luke Byrne

FAGAN, BRENNAN RETURN TO SEND BOHS INTO BOTTOM TWO

Bohemians’ winless run stretched to 6 league games following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to St. Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park. The Gypsies have now slipped into the bottom two, with just one win in 10 Premier Division games after goals from ex-Bohs men Christy Fagan and Killian Brennan downed Aaron Callaghan’s men.

The Gypsies boss made two changes to the team that drew  with Shamrock Rovers in last week’s Derby, but the returning Chris Lyons and Stephen Traynor could do little to influence a game dominated by the newly-crowned league leaders, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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While the gulf in class was apparent, Bohs will be extremely disappointed with a listless first half performance that showed very little heart and determination. The goals came within just three minutes of each other, and knocked what little stuffing was left out of Callaghan’s young side.

The opening 20 minutes was painfully cagey, with both teams feeling each other out on a deceptively bobbly surface in Phibsboro. You felt it would take a moment of magic or a mistake to open the game, and it was the latter, unfortunately for Bohs and Stephen Traynor. The midfielder was caught in possession 30 yards from goal on 23 minutes by John Russell, who quickly slipped a lovely ball through to Christy Fagan. The former Man United trainee showed his class by slotting the ball between the legs of Dean Delany to give the Saints the lead.

A clearly shell-shocked Bohs had barely registered the opener when the lead was doubled. Just 90 seconds had passed when Chris Forrester’s mis-hit cross was clearly handled just inside the box by Derek Pender. It was a silly and needless error from the experienced Pender, and referee Alan Kelly had no choice but to point to the spot. Killian Brennan smashed the penalty home with an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Brennan’s Ronaldo-esque apologetic celebration showed some respect to the club he spent 4 successful years.

Half-time couldn’t come quick enough for the Gypsies who were at sixes and sevens. Traynor was having a particularly torrid evening alongside Ciaran Nangle. The left back was culpable again as Fagan got in behind for a second time, but this time his shot creeped just past the post.

Callaghan changed to a 3-5-2 in the second period, but Bohs still struggled to create any clear cut chances. The home fans were howling on the hour mark when a Dave Scully cross seemed to strike the arm of Kenny Browne. Although Pender’s was more obvious, many felt Alan Kelly would even up the penalty count – but to no avail. The Bohs fans were particularly irked by a string of Kelly decisions. Perhaps that was a good thing for the Bohs players as it took the attention away from probably one of the team’s worst performances in a long time.

With the next league game away to Sligo Rovers, Bohs may well be still in the bottom two by the time Shelbourne visit on the 14th of June. What a huge game that might be in the context of the season.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nangle (Kevin O’Leary, 66), Shane Murray, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Roberto Lopes, 46), Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore, 83), Chris Lyons, Dave Scully. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Kevin Devaney, Michael Barker, Michael Scott.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne (Aidan Price, 77), Ian Bermingham, Chris Forrester, Greg Bolger, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan, John Russell, Christy Fagan (Anto ‘Bisto’ Flood, 86). Subs not used: Dave Ryan, Jake Carroll, Shane McFaul, Sean Gannon, Jake Kelly.

Bohs Man of the Match: Luke Byrne

EXTRA -TIME DOUBLE SENDS BOHS INTO EA QUARTERS

BOHEMIANS 4 BRAY WANDERERS 2 (AET)

T wo goals in the first period of extra-time sent a much-changed Bohemians into the last eight of the EA Sports Cup after this second-round tie against Bray Wanderers finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Bohs had earlier thrown away a 2-0 lead in the first half of this topsy-turvy all-Premier Division clash in Dalymount Park.

Boss Aaron Callaghan made eight changes from the team that drew heroically with Shamrock Rovers on Friday.

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 Shane Murray, Ciaran Nangle, and captain for the night Luke Byrne were joined by the returning suspended duo Chris Lyons and Roberto Lopes, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

In one of the most open and entertaining games at Dalymount this year, the Gypsies got off to an absolute flyer, and were two up within the opening 15 minutes.

The returning Stephen Traynor got the lead goal, and it was a cracker. He collected a half-hit clearance 25 yards from goal, skipped through two lunging Bray defenders, steadied himself, and let fly with an unstoppable right-footed strike from the edge of the 18-yard box. Sean Homes in the Seagulls’ goal could only watch as the ball flew past him into the net. A great way for Traynor to celebrate his inclusion in the World Student Games squad. He’ll travel to Russia in July along with Andy Mulligan and the rest of the Ireland team.

Just five minutes later, Bohs doubled their advantage. Good interplay between Karl Moore and Nangle down the left fed Lyons just on the edge of the box. The striker squeezed past Peter Thomson, who went to ground, sending Lyons sprawling and the Bohs fans appealing. Referee Paul McLaughlin must have been watching on Friday night, and gave Bohs what looked to be a soft decision. It seemed like Thomson got at least a toe on the ball. Bray were understandably miffed, and Lyons made no mistake from 12 yards – sending Holmes the wrong way.

After a superb opening 20 minutes for the Gypsies, Bray started to get a foothold on the game. Pat Devlin made seven changes from the team that beat Cork impressively in Turner’s Cross on Friday, but they still had some quality on the field – most notably 19-year-old Ishmail Akinade. The powerful Nigerian striker forced a corner on the half-hour mark and with it, Bray got back in the game. The near-post cross was flicked toward the back post where centre-half Danny O’Connor bundled it home. Bohs keeper Greg Murray appealed that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, but the goal stood and the tie was back on.

If Murray, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Monk’, was unhappy with his role in the first goal, he could safely say he had no chance with the Bray equaliser, which came on 38 minutes. Sean Hurley whipped in a beautiful cross from the left wing and Akinade was in the right place to power a header in from eight yards. Luke Byrne, impressive again at centre-back, could do nothing to prevent the towering header from the big man, which squared things up at the break.

After the flurry of first-half goals, it was plain to see that both managers had instructed the teams to tighten up in the second half. Chances were at a premium as both sides seemed wary of making a mistake that could send their team out. As Callaghan said before the game, this is a competition Bohs can win, and it showed in the intensity of their defensive concentration in the second half. Neither side created any clear cut openings, with Murray perhaps being the more active keeper, having to claw away a number of threatening crosses. It was no surprise to see the game finish 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Amazingly, Bohs started extra-time in almost the exact fashion as the regulation 90, with two quickfire goals in the opening 15 minutes. The introduction of Dave Scully was key to this, with the cult hero moving up front and Lyons retreating into a midfield role. Scully’s strike partner Kevin O’Leary forced a corner straight from the kick-off, and Bohs instantly retook the lead. Scully caused mayhem in the box and, after a scramble, the ball was cleared to the now deep-lying Lyons, whose shot deflected into the top corner.

With 97 minutes on the clock, Bohs’ place in the last eight was sealed. Sub Dwayne Wilson fed O’Leary, who turned a Bray defender and fired a crisp shot that wrong-footed keeper Holmes to make it 4-2. The remaining 20 minutes of extra time was the Scully show, with the striker playing to the crowd with a series of slaloming runs, tricks, and flicks. There was even a ‘stand up for Dave Scully’ chant that had most of the small crowd on their feet! Boss Callaghan might be a little concerned at 120 minutes for Man of the Match Byrne with a crucial home game against St Pats on Friday, but Bohs are through to the quarter finals, and that’s the main thing.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nangle, Karl Moore, Shane Murray (Darragh Reynor, 77), Stephen Traynor (Dave Scully, 91), Shane Fitzgerald (Dwayne Wilson, 59), Chris Lyons, Kevin O’Leary. Subs not used: Conor Little, Adam Kelly, Michael Scott, Saniago Miguel Falbo.

Bray Wanderers: Sean Holmes, Kevin Knight, Danny O’Connor (Dave Webster, 46), Conor Earley, John Mulroy, Peter Thomas (Kieran “Marty” Waters, 81), Paul Malone, Sean Hurley, Danny Joyce (Dean Zambra, 74), Daire Doyle, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Paul Moffatt, Ger Pender, Ed McDonagh.

Bohs Man of the Match: Luke Byrne

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