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

NEILY THERE

BOHEMIANS 1 DUNDALK 1

Bohemians edged a point closer to safety on Saturday night with a 92nd-minute equaliser from centre-half Neil Yadolahi, writes CILLIAN SHIELDS.

Dane Massey had earlier given Dundalk the lead with a fine header in the first half, but an electric Dalymount Park atmosphere inspired the Gypsies to the late comeback.

The home side, in great form of late, started well. A couple of set pieces showed intent but led to nothing. Ryan McEvoy made sure that Peter Cherrie was still concentrating in the Dundalk goal, however his shot went over the bar.

In the 18th minute, John Dillon delivered an inch-perfect pass over the heads of the Bohemian back four, and found the on rushing left-back Massey, who looped his header over stranded goalkeeper Dean Delany to give Stephen Kenny’s title hopefuls the lead.

Bohs looked to respond quickly, and minutes later were awarded a free-kick in dangerous territory. Karl Moore’s effort was unintentionally met by Lilywhite Sullivan, resulting in the ball narrowly going wide of his own goal and out for a Bohs corner.

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Dundalk then began to assert themselves, clearly looking to make amends for their controversial but brave cup exit last week against rivals Drogheda United. Vinny Faherty had claims for a penalty and a great chance to double the lead before the half-time whistle came, but the score remained 1-0 going into the break.

Into the second half, Bohs were gifted one of the rarest of scoring opportunities. A lapse in concentration from Dundalk net-minder Cherrie saw him pick up a ball that was kicked back to him from one of his own defenders. Referee Paul Tuite pointed to the six-yard line for an indirect free-kick for the back-pass. The majority of the away side lined up on the goal-line, and McEvoy’s lay-off to Stephen Traynor only resulted in the shot being charged down and blocked.

Both sides stiffened up after this Dundalk let-off, leaving chances at a premium. One side was fighting to keep alive their title hopes, however slim they may have been with St Pat’s firmly in the driving seat, and the other battling for those last few points to ensure safety and top division status for next season.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, it looked like Dundalk’s title efforts would continue strongly for another week, while Bohs would have to wait to celebrate salvation. Luke Byrne’s tackle on John Mountney at the edge of the box was seen as a foul in the eyes of ref Tuite, and captain and former Bohs man Stephen O’Donnell stepped up to take the kick. His audacious attempted chip into the top left corner of the net went safely out of play for a Bohs goal-kick, much to the delight of the home fans.

The Gypsies knew they had been let off with the penalty miss and were spurred by the opportunity given to them to get back and earn something from this game. The players waged on in search of the goal, substitute Kevin Devaney stung Cherrie’s fingers as the keeper sent the ball out for a corner, which fellow substitute Darragh Reynor took. Young centre-half Neil Yadolahi met the cross perfectly and ended the Lilywhites’ title ambitions with his first goal for the Gypsies.

With Bray beating Limerick 1-0 on Sunday, focus now turns to the Seagulls’ visit to Dalymount this Friday. Pat Devlin’s men are now just five points behind Bohs and with two games remaining. A point for the Gypsies would be enough to avoid the dreaded play-off.

Bohemians: Delany; Pender, Lopes, Yadolahi, Byrne; Buckley (Mulligan, 60), Mulcahy (Reynor, 60), McEvoy, Moore; Traynor (Devaney, 79); Corcoran.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Rossiter, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Mountney, Sullivan, O’Donnell, Dillon (McCaffrey, 60), Byrne  (Murphy, 85), Faherty (Hoban, 88).

Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).

RYAN HIGH

BOHEMIANS 2 DERRY CITY 0

An eight-point advantage over bottom side Shelbourne was the reward for Bohemians as they beat Derry City 2-0 at Dalymount Park on Friday night, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

Ryan McEvoy struck twice to give his side two straight wins and moved Bohs up to ninth – that could lead to the club being mathematically safe of relegation as early as Monday evening.

The Gypsies’ recent record against the Candystripes has been poor to say the least but this demon was put to bed with ease.

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Bobby Browne and Owen Heary had their team fired up as they came out of the dressing room looking hungrier than their opponents and it paid off after just four minutes.

The ball was headed over the top and Stephen Traynor was bundled over by David McDaid inside the box having just beating the offside trip by inches.

Ryan McEvoy stepped up and placed the ball to the left of Derry keeper Ger Doherty, who guessed right but couldn’t do anything about it.

The confidence was coursing through the veins of those in red and black, and the chances began to come thick and fast.

Dinny Corcoran, key to the revival under the several different management teams in recent weeks, had a decent shot that flashed wide.

Declan Devine’s team began to take more of an interest in proceedings but once again McEvoy dealt them a huge blow.

After some great football in midfield, Keith Buckley found himself with the ball in midfield. He floated it up and McEvoy, the architect of the move, made a late run into the box.

He got his head to the ball and at first it looked as if it wouldn’t have the pace to beat the goalkeeper but Doherty couldn’t get near it and it was 2-0.

And that’s how it would stay, despite the Candystripes’ best efforts. Corcoran had a half-chance with a header at the beginning of the second half but the visitors had a couple of chances midway through the second half, including a heart-in-mouth moment for Dean Delany after a goalmouth scramble.

Corcoran was again in the thick of the action as Ryan McBride was given his marching orders for hauling down the former UCD man when he was through on goal. McBride was deemed to be the last man.

Despite an initial flurry of attacking intent from Bohs, Derry began to look a more composed side than they did when they their full complement of players.

Simon Madden came closest to pulling one back as he trickled the ball wide but that was that and there we joyful scenes at the end from both players and fans alike. One more win will surely do the trick and hopefully that could come away at Limerick on Monday evening.

BOHEMIANS: Delany, Pender, Lopes, Yaholadi, Byrne, Mulcahy, McEvoy, Moore, Buckley (Mulligan 85), Traynor, Corcoran (Lyons 92).
DERRY CITY: Doherty, Madden, S McEleney, McBride, Jarvis, McDaid (P McEleney 55), Higgins, McNamee, Duffy (Curran 80), Rafter, Patterson.

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