DRAW JUST HUNKY DORY FOR BATTLING BOHS

DROGHEDA UNITED 2 – 2 BOHEMIANS

Bohemians earned a second valuable point in a row away from home in the Airtricity Premier Division, after a hard-fought 2-2 draw with in-form Drogheda United at a wet and windy Hunky Dorys Park.  Bohs were twice behind, but showed great character with equalisers in each half from Dwayne Wilson and Ryan McEvoy.

Boss Aaron Callaghan made just one change from the side that heroically drew with St Pats on Monday night.  Derek Pender came in for Conor O’Brien as Callaghan stuck with a 3-5-2 formation, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Unfortunately for the visitors, they slept their way through the opening minute, and Drogheda were ahead in no time.  After ex-Bohs man Gary O’Neill had forced a corner straight from the kick off, Ryan Brennan caught the Bohs defence napping by taking it quick and whipping in a devilish cross.  Michael Daly rose to meet the ball at the height of his jump, giving Dean Delany no chance, stunning the travelling Bohs faithful.

A howling gale was blowing straight in Delany’s face in the first half and the Drogs were well on top, playing the kind of neat football that saw them finish a surprise 2nd in the league last year. Graham Rusk and Brennan both flashed shots across goal as Bohs struggled to get the ball down and play.

When the equaliser came, it was totally against the run of play. Michael Barker played the ball forward to the previously anonymous Dwayne Wilson who’s first touch took him past United defender Shane Grimes.  Wilson then showed an incredible burst of pace and was suddenly through on goal.  For a man who hadn’t yet scored this season, he showed remarkable composure to slide a neat, right-footed finish passed Gabriel Sava into the bottom corner.

The Drogheda response was immediate, and almost produced one of the goals of the season.  Gary O’Neill may not be as nippy as he once was, but he showed incredible control to wrong foot Roberto Lopes.  Just as it looked like he was about to let fly with a screamer – he stopped, checked and chipped Dean Delany – Cantona-esque,  from 25 yards.  The Bohs keeper could only watch as the ball sailed over him and cannoned off the cross bar, with Michael Barker completing a great clearance under pressure from Brennan.

Drogheda didn’t take long to reassert their dominance, and re-took the lead with another sloppy goal for Bohs to concede.  Paul O’Conor’s header was tamely parried back into the danger zone by Dean Delany and O’Conor himself followed up to restore the home side’s lead.  Although it was from close range, Delany might well be disappointed that he didn’t keep the rebound out – as it rather squirmed under his body.

Aided by the wind, Bohs started the 2nd half much brighter – and were level within just 6 minutes.  Chris Lyons came short, and sent an ambitious ball ahead of Andy Mulligan down the left.  Many players would have given up on the pass, but Mulligan’s lightning pace allowed him to amazingly reach it – before getting to the by-line and pulling it back.  The ball ricocheted off two Drogheda defenders before falling on a plate for Ryan McEvoy who buried past Sava from 12 yards.

Again, Drogheda reacted smartly to being pegged back.  The impressive Ryan Brennan did well down the left and fired a dangerous ball across the face of the goal.  It fell to Gary O’Neill just two yards out with the goal at his mercy – but he inexplicably skewed it over the bar when scoring would have been easier.

You almost felt that Bohs would get a chance to win it, and that chance came on 75 minutes.  Wilson’s pace caused Drogheda problems all night, and again took him clear down the right side.  He clipped a lovely ball that sailed over Chris Lyons head but found Andy Mulligan unmarked in acres of space, just 15 yards out.  If ever a player panicked with the result as his feet, it was then.  Mulligan lost his footing, and fell flat on his face.  He was in so much space that he even had time to pick himself up, jink around the on-rushing Sava before firing a shot disappointingly high and wide.

The home side searched for a winner but couldn’t find a way past a steadfast Bohs defence marshalled well once again by new cult hero Dave Mulcahy. That’s two welcome away points for the Gypsies, with the 3rd of a travelling trilogy to come against UCD on Tuesday.

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava, Derek Prendergast, Alan McNally, Shane Grimes, Brian Gannon, Graham Rusk (Declan “Fabio” O’Brien, 74), Paul O’Conor (Eric Foley, 64), Michael Daly, David Cassidy, Gavin Brennan, Gary O’Neill (Peter Hynes, 86). Subs not used: Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Cathal Brady, Michael Schlingermann

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Michael Barker, Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan,  Dwayne Wilson (Kevin O’Leary, 86), Chris Lyons (Kevin Devaney, 90). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Ciaran Nangle, Owen Heary, Shane Murray, Stephen Traynor.

Bohs Man of the Match: Dwayne Wilson

MAGIC MULCAHY RESCUES GYPSIES

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 1 – 1 BOHEMIANS

At the end of this nailbiting re-scheduled clash, the chants of ‘Super Dave Mulcahy’ from the travelling fans said it all, as a wonderful individual performance earned the Gypsies a point against high-flying Pats at Richmond Park. The above scoreline could easily read St. Pats 1 – 1 Dave Mulcahy, as the Bohs number 5 put in a truly phenomenal defensive showing, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

How the Gypsies escaped from Inchicore with a point is a question that few could answer – but many will point to the contribution from the big Kilkenny man. He was everywhere – blocking shots, intercepting passes, clearing headers, and even scoring a dramatic equaliser that gave Aaron Callaghan’s men a real bonus point against one of the Airtricity League’s form teams.

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Bohs made the short trip across the city without the injured Derek Pender and Dave Scully. Conor O’Brien and Dwayne Wilson were drafted into the 3-5-2 formation that began the game against Bray Wanderers on Friday. Initial signs were good, with the visitors’ tactics seeming to catch St Pats off guard in the opening quarter. Chris Lyons was a constant menace, and he created the first chance of the game for himself after 4 minutes. He collected Andy Mulligan’s cross, swiveled on a sixpence, and fired over the bar all in one movement. How many more points would Bohs have if the former UCD striker hadn’t missed half of the 10 league games so far?

Bohs were definitely the brighter team, with Lyons again causing trouble for the Pats defence. He received the ball out on the right from Wilson, and skipped past the lunging Kenny Browne inside the box. The Bohs crowd in the Shed End begged, nay,  implored Lyons to go down, but the honest striker stayed on his feet and crossed for Wilson, whose eventual pass toward Mulligan came to nothing.

With the Gypsies bossing the opening half hour, a sucker punch was almost inevitable, and it came courtesy of ex-Bohs striker Anto Flood. Putting it kindly, Dean Delany is struggling for confidence, and he wont be happy again with his role in the opening goal here. A routine short corner wasn’t reacted to by the Bohs defence, and the cross was floated in by Ian Bermingham. Delany came, flapped, and didnt connect, leaving ‘Bisto’ Flood with the simple task of rising above Luke Byrne to head the Saints into the lead.

The home side’s confidence grew from that point, and they really took control before and after half time. Kevin Devaney came on for the struggling Conor O’Brien at the break, but Pats were well on top by that stage. Delany spilled a Bermingham shot, but recovered in time to collect in front of an on-coming Flood. The introduction of Jake Kelly for Pats added an extra dimension to their game. His slid pass found Conan Byrne who dinked it over Delany, only for Roberto Lopes to clear off the line. Just a minute later, Kelly again found Byrne with a low cross, but the ball inexplicably came back off the crossbar.

A rare glimpse of the Pats goal came for Bohs on 70 minutes when Michael Barker showed great composure to beat two players and let fly with a stinging shot that Brandan Clarke tipped over the bar. From the resulting corner, Ryan McEvoy’s whipped cross was met with blunt force by Dave Mulcahy at the near post. Two men on the line couldnt stop it, and Bohs had smash-and-grabbed an equaliser!

Almost instantly, Pats hit the woodwork again, Conor Kenna’s header was clawed onto the post by Delany, as the home side searched for a winner. Up stepped Mulcahy, who started to produce a string of amazing last-ditch blocks. At one stage, he had been laid out on the ground by a clash of heads with Christy Fagan – but even his prone, spread-eagled body managed to get in the way of a Chris Forrester shot. Jake Kelly blazed over from 8 yards after a slaloming Forrester run, and it started to look like one of those nights.

Bohs almost pulled off an amazing win when sub Shane Fitzgerald crossed for Lyons, but Conor Kenna pulled a Mulcahy-esque block out of nowhere to deny the quiffed forward a fourth league goal. Dean Delany weighed in with a couple of smart injury time saves to deny Fagan and Kelly, and a hard-fought point was amazingly secured. Next up for Bohs, they conclude the first round of league fixtures with a trip to Drogheda on Friday.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Connor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Sean Gannon (Jake Kelly, 60), John Russell, Shane McFaul; Conan Byrne, Anthony Flood (Christy Fagan, 65), Christopher Forrester. Subs not used: Dave Ryan, Aidan Price, Jake Carroll, Stephen Maher, Conor Murphy. 

Bohemians: Dean Delaney; Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne; Michael Barker, Conor O’Brien (Kevin Devaney, 46), Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan;  Dwayne Wilson (Shane Fitzgerald, 73); Chris Lyons. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Ciaran Nangle, Michael Scott, Darragh Reynor, Kevin O’Leary.

Bohs Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

REPORT: BOHEMIANS 3 – 2 BRAY WANDERERS

Bohemians got their Airticity League campaign back on track with a thrilling 3-2 win over battling Bray Wanderers at a windswept Dalymount Park. A brace from Chris Lyons and a bullet header from Dave Mulcahy were enough to seal all three points for Aaron Callaghan’s men, who recorded their first home victory since the opening weekend, writes KEVIN FAGAN. 

The Gypsies were made to work for the victory by a determined Bray outfit who didnt look like a team that were beaten by an aggregate score of 11 goals in their last two games. Both Mulcahy and Dave Scully shrugged off illness to start the game, and both played a vital part in what could turn out to be a vital win.

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Despite a howling gale blowing towards Dean Delany at the Shopping Centre end, Bohs started brightly, with Andy Mulligan and Shane Fitzgerald making their season debuts out wide in a 3-5-2 formation at the start of the game. The opening 15 minutes belonged to Bohs, and they deservedly took the lead after 12. Lovely footwork from Ryan McEvoy split the Bray defence as they tried to get out from a cleared corner. McEvoy slipped in Andy Mulligan, and the young winger showed great composure to square the ball to Chris Lyons, who had the simple task of tapping in from 6 yards.

After that promising start, things started to go pear-shaped for the home side. Aided by the wind, Bray piled on the pressure. Ex-Bohs goal machine Jason Byrne almost scored an outrageous volley before the equaliser inevitably came. Again, it was a sloppy goal for Bohs to concede. In fact, it was somewhat of a freak goal. After Kieran “Marty” Waters was tackled by Luke Byrne on the edge of the box, the ball broke to Gary Dempsey, who let fly from 25 yards. The ball amazingly canonned off the spread-eagled Waters, looped into the air, and went in off what looked like a ricochet between the crossbar and Dean Delany’s head.

Pat Devlin’s men were unlucky not to get to half time in the lead. Delany pulled off some smart saves from Waters, Byrne, and John Mulroy as Aaron Callaghan abandoned the 3-5-2 and switched to an orthodox 4-4-2. There’s no doubt the Bohs manager would have been happy to hear the half time whistle.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were cagey, then Bohs burst into life. Dave Scully had what was surely his best performance in a Bohs shirt. He held the ball up magnificently, brought others into play, and was a general nuisance for the Bray defence all night. He was almost rewarded with a goal on the hour mark, but his toe poked effort from Mulligan’s cross was well saved by Darren Quigley.

The lead goal was coming, and it was no surprise that the ultra-sharp Lyons was again on the end of it. Keith Buckley, playing in a central midfield role, played it forward to McEvoy, who controlled brilliantly and sent Lyons through over the top. With Quigley coming to meet him, Lyons deflty lifted it over the keeper from the corner of the 18 yard box. It seemed to take an age to come down, but when it did – it nestled in the back of the net.

The home fans had hardly retaken their seats when the third goal arrived. A lovely whipped free kick from Buckley found Dave Mulcahy unmarked on the penalty spot. The big man made no mistake, rocketing his header into the top corner.

There was still 25 minutes left, and Bray came back into it in the final quarter. There was clear jitters in the air as Bohs struggled to keep the ball. Many long clearances were aimlessly directed, and the nerves were clearly on show. These nerves werent helped when Kevin Knight’s pull-back was neatly finished by John Mulroy on 75 minutes. There could have been a capitulation, but credit to the Bohs backline. Marshalled by Mulcahy, they stayed strong and restricted Bray to long range efforts. Jason Byrne dragged one wide, and Bohs held out for a priceless three points.

Next up, a crunch tie in Inchicore on Monday for the re-arranged tie with St Patrick’s Athletic.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Derek Pender (Michael Barker, 72), Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan (Kevin Devaney, 83), Shane Fitzgerald (Karl Moore, 75), Dave Scully, Chris Lyons. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Michael Scott, Dwayne Wilson, Shane Murray.

Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, Danny O’Connor, Danny Webster, Kevin Knight, Conor Earley (Ishmail Akinade, 76), Dean Zambra, Gary Dempsey (Shane O’Neill, 87), Paul Malone, Keiran ‘Marty’ Waters, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Shane O’Connor, Stephen McGuiness, Daniel Joyce, Eoin Hyland, Daire Doyle.

Bohs Men of the Match: Dave Scully / Dave Mulcahy.

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