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SHAMROCK ROVERS 1 – 1 BOHEMIANS

A dramatic injury time equaliser from Ryan McEvoy stretched Bohemians’ unbeaten run against their fiercest rivals after a terrific away performance at Tallaght Staduim. The Gypsies were clearly the better side against their supposedly superior opponents, who only took the lead following a ridiculous penalty decision from referee Neil Doyle. It’s now over a year since Rovers have picked up three points against Bohs, and the pantomime boos from the home fans at the full-time whistle will only increase the pressure on manager Trevor Croly, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Despite suspensions for Chris Lyons and Roberto Lopes and an injury to Owen Heary, Bohs dominated in midfield areas, restricted the Hoops to long-range efforts, and looked extremely dangerous on the counter attack. Andy Mulligan was a constant threat, Dave Scully held the ball up brilliantly, and Dave Mulcahy was a rock at centre back. Only a dreadfully poor refereeing performance from Neil Doyle denied Bohs what would have been a deserved 3-points.

The visitors had the first chance after a fine break down the left. The returning Ciaran Nangle cut the ball back to Mulligan whose whipped cross was inches from Scully’s head. Bohs continued to control the game and after a scrambled corner, Dave Mulcahy nodded to Derek Pender who flashed a left-footed volley just wide of the post.  The excellent Mulcahy released Mulligan again down the left on 25 minutes, and the Carlow man was caught in two minds whether to cross or shoot. In the end he did neither, and his effort didn’t trouble Barry Murphy in the Rovers goal.

Rovers’ only first half chance came predictably from a set piece. Billy Dennehy’s whipped corner found the head of Ciaran Kilduff. His header from six yards had goal written all over it, but Dean Delany somehow managed to claw it onto the crossbar and over. The Bohs net minder has come in for a fair amount of criticism this season, but showed here why he’s been playing at the top level in the country for so long.

Rovers started to come into the game just before half time, and the whistle probably came at a good time for Aaron Callaghan’s men. After regrouping at the break, Bohs took control of the second half. The midfield trio of Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley and Shane Murray were bossing the game, finding spaces in between the lethargic Rovers duo of Finn and Robinson. Ten minutes into the second half, Buckley released Mulligan – who haunted Conor McCormack all night. Mulligan’s cutback found Scully, but the forward’s shot was rather weak and David Elebert blocked on the line.

Bohs were constantly creating half-chances, with long range efforts from Buckley and Scully flashing wide of Barry Murphy’s goal. At the other end it was a similar story. Ronan Finn had Rovers’ best long ranger, but Dean Delany didn’t have to make any saves in the second period.

A theme running throughout this pulsating Derby was the truly awful refereeing performance from Neil Doyle. A host of 50-50 calls went the wrong way for both sides, players were fooling him with exaggerated falls, and he dished out amazing yellow cards to Mulcahy and Scully. The icing on the cake came in the 80th minute when he gave Rovers a penalty with a decision that would have almost been comical if it wasn’t so important. Sean O’Connor’s cross fell to Andy Mulligan who tried to hook the ball over his head. Instead, he clumsily kicked it off his own face – but Doyle thought otherwise and pointed to the spot. TV replays clearly showed the ball striking Mulligan in the mouth – he even had a bloody lip to show for it! Ronan Finn sent Delany the wrong way and it looked like the Hoops had stolen the points. Doyle had even managed to miss a shocking two-footed lunge from Shane Robinson on Dave Scully just a couple of minutes before that. Many managers and pundits have commented on the standard of refereeing in the league so far this year, and this was another exhibition of poor decision making.

Luckily for Bohs, sweet Karma was smiling down as the sun set over the Wicklow horizon. With two minutes of injury time played, a long throw from Luke Byrne was only partially cleared to Ryan McEvoy in the box. Time stood still as he kept his head, kept the shot low, and sent the travelling support into a delirious frenzy. It may have taken a deflection, but tell that to the Bohs fans who had backed the team all night in the ground where they have suffered so much heartbreak. They could easily be forgiven for the pitch invasion that followed, it was a classic moment in another classic game between these two great rivals.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Conor McCormack, Derek Foran (Ken Oman 68), Jason McGuinness, David Elebert; Gary McCabe (Karl Sheppard 79), Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson, Billy Dennehy (Sean O’Connor 59); Thomas Stewart, Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Richard Brush, Alan Kehoe, Stephen Rice, James Chambers.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nangle (Michael Scott 87); Kevin Devaney (Michael Barker 67), Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley, Andy Mulligan; Shane Murray (Karl Moore 67); Dave Scully. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Kevin O’Leary, Shane Fitzgerald, Dwayne Wilson.

Bohs Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

HEAVEN KNOWS IT’S MISERABLE NOW – MORRISSEY SINKS BOHS

BOHEMIANS 1 CORK CITY 2

cork City produced a smash and grab victory as Bohemians slumped to a second consecutive Airtricity League defeat to one of the teams around them in the bottom half of the Premier Division. A Denis Behan penalty and a late Gearóid Morrissey effort pegged back the Gypsies, who had taken the lead with a Colin Healy own goal. The defeat leaves Bohs with just one win from their last 7 games, and flirting with the bottom three writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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After a run of games with a 3-5-2 formation, Bohs switched to an orthodox 4-4-2 with Dave Scully returning to partner Chris Lyons up front. Derek Pender looked much more comfortable at right back rather than right wing back, and his pinpoint cross set up the first chance of the game. Unfortunately for Bohs, Ryan McEvoy just couldn’t quite get enough on his header.

A first half of few chances exploded into life with 9 minutes to go. Good work from Andy Mulligan down the left forced a Bohs corner, which was whipped in by Stephen Traynor. With the ball about to reach Owen Heary at the back post, Colin Healy stretched out a leg but only managed to divert the ball into his own net.

Aaron Callaghan will be extremely frustrated not to hang onto the lead at least until half time. Denis Behan and Gearoid Morrissey played a simple one-two on the edge of the Bohs box before Morrissey skipped past Heary. The Bohs captain’s outstretched leg clearly caught the Cork forward, and referee Paul Tuite had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Denis Behan sent Dean Delany the wrong way in front of the disappointingly small away contingent in the Des Kelly Stand.

Bohs clearly stepped up their game in the second half, and should really have taken the lead on more than one occasion. Dave Scully had three chances in close succession. The first saw him caught for pace by Kalen Spillane when pretty much through on goal. His second chance came when his header was tipped around the post by Mark McNulty, while his third chance was a header that was wonderfully blocked by John Dunleavy.

A large contingent of the Bohs fans have been calling for Greg Murray to be given his chance in goal, and the Palmerstown man did make his season debut when Delany was forced off with what looked like a muscle strain on the hour mark. The sub keeper could do nothing as Cork got their winner totally against the run of play. Karl Moore, who had a wretched evening, was caught in possession down the Bohs right. Gearoid Morrissey raced away down the left and pulled it back for his namesake Danny, who blasted it in from six yards.

Bohs huffed and puffed for the final 10 minutes, and could have snatched an equaliser when Cork keeper McNulty miscontrolled and allowed Mulligan to square it. Kalen Spillane just got there ahead of the sluggish Chris Lyons and Bohs hopes of a point were snuffed out. With two difficult games against Shamrock Rovers and St Pats to come, things could get squeaky for Bohs before the mid-season break in June.

Bohemians: Dean Delany (Greg Murray, 59), Owen Heary, Derek Pender, Luke Byrne, Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Michael Barker, 81), Andy Mulligan, Karl Moore (Kevin Devaney, 81), Dave Scully, Chris Lyons. Subs not used: Roberto Lopes, Darragh Reynor, Dwayne Wilson, Kevin O’Leary.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Kalen Spillane, Neal Horgan, John Dunleavy (Gary Buckley, 87), Colin Healy, Shane Duggan, Gearóid Morrissey, Daryl Horgan (Ian Turner, 65), Danny Morrissey, Denis Behan (Daryl Kavanagh, 74). Subs not used: Kevin Burns, Ian Turner, Daryl Kavanagh, Adam Rundle, Danny Furlong, Stephen Kenny, Garry Buckley.

Picture credit: Owen Heary in action against Cork City’s Denis Behan – Photo by Eddie Lennon (www.eddielennonsportingimages.com)

STUDENTS STUN LIFELESS BOHS

UCD 1 – 0 BOHEMIANS

Bohemians were given a lesson in frustration as UCD halted the Gypsies good run of form with a single goal victory at the UCD Bowl. Dean Clarke’s 8th minute strike was enough to seal all three points for the Airtricity League’s basement side, who leapfrogged out of the relegation zone with just their second win of the season.

The flat atmosphere in the stands was mirrored on the field as Bohs struggled to create many chances. Boss Aaron Callaghan may point to a possible handball incident mid-way through the second half, but in truth, the Gypsies didn’t deserve anything from this game. The misery was compounded in injury time as Keith Buckley was given a straight red card for dissent to cap off a disappointing night in Belfield, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs welcomed back captain Owen Heary in the only change from Friday’s battling draw with Drogheda United. The 37 year old started the game in an unfamiliar right wing back role before being shifted to centre half after an uncomfortable opening period. Just like that Drogheda game, Bohs started sluggishly. The pitch at the UCD Bowl is deceptively bobbly, but that didn’t stop the Students from playing the ball around with ease. After just 8 minutes of mostly home possession, David McMillan slipped a cute ball through to Dean Clarke, whose first time shot easily beat Dean Delany for an all-too-easy opening goal.

The home side clearly settled better, and had a succession of corners which troubled Delany and the Bohs defence who struggled to clear their lines on more than one occasion. Some respite came on 17 minutes when Chris Lyons had Bohs’ first shot in anger – but it was fired straight at Conor O’Donnell. Unfortunately for Bohs, that was as good as it got in the opening half. Heary seemed lost on the right flank and was switched to centre back as Callaghan stuck with the 3-5-2. The half time whistle came just as Bohs seemed to be finding some kind of rhythm. Happily, this continued after the break – with the now midfield-lying Dave Mulcahy producing a smart save from O’Donnell after a 25 yard shot.

Perhaps the key moment of the game came on 69 minutes. Andy Mulligan was probably Bohs’ shining light on the left hand side, and when his shot was parried, Chris Lyons looked odds-on to score the rebound. However, his shot was miraculously cleared off the line by Tomás Boyle. Bohs players, staff, and fans all screamed for a handball, but referee Padraig Sutton was having none of it, and waved away the fervent protests. From first glance it seemed inconclusive, and Sutton would have had to have been 100 per cent sure to award a penalty and inevitable red card.

Bohs again felt hard done by ten minutes later when sub Kevin Devaney’s headed effort was ruled out for offside, but the ex-Sligo man did look a yard off. Frustration grew and grew for Bohs both on and off the pitch, and culminated in Keith Buckley’s dismissal with just a minute to go. He must have said something to the linesman on the far side, as he flagged before Sutton produced the straight red. If the red card was indeed for dissent, it was a ridiculous action from Buckley, who was perhaps frustrated most at his own performance, which was littered with misplaced passes and poor control. He will most likely miss the league games against Cork City and Shamrock Rovers, as well as the EA Sports Cup tie with Bray.

UCD easily saw out the 4 minutes of additional time to earn a valuable three points in their fight to avoid the drop. More performances like this, and Bohs will be part of that fight.

UCD: Conor O’Donnell; Hugh Douglas, David O’Connor, Tomas Boyle, Gareth Matthews, Cillian Morrison (James Kavanagh 73), Gary Burke, Robbie Creevy, Robbie Benson, Dean Clarke (Samir Belhout 77), David McMillan (Dinny Corcoran 86).
Subs not used: Mark McGinley, Barry McCabe, Tyrone McNelis, Craig Walsh.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne; Owen Heary, Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy (Karl Moore 84), Andy Mulligan, Dwayne Wilson (Dave Scully 59), Chris Lyons (Kevin Devaney 73). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Ciaran Nangle, Shane Fitzgerald, Stephen Traynor.

Bohs Man of the Match: Andy Mulligan

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