ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT

SHELBOURNE 0 BOHEMIANS 1

Kevin Devaney fired Bohemians to their second win of the season in a hotly-contested North Dublin Derby at Tolka Park on a bitterly cold Easter Monday.

Aaron Callaghan’s white knights were no April Fools as Devaney’s fifth-minute strike was enough to send the Gypsies into the top half thanks to this victory over 10-man Shelbourne, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

Bar a 15-minute period of intense pressure early in the second half, Bohs were definitely the better side against a Shelbourne team still looking for their first win of the season.

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The visitors’ midfield trio of Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy and Stephen Traynor controlled what was often a scrappy affair, with neither side able to fully commit to passes due to the bobbly and uneven Tolka Park pitch.

Following a disappointing defeat but a promising performance against champions Sligo Rovers on Friday, Bohs came out of the blocks all guns blazing against their near-neighbours. Traynor’s slaloming run forced an early corner, which was whipped in by McEvoy. Stephen Paisley, in for the injured Owen Heary, miskicked in the six-yard box, and the ball fell to Devaney, who fired a low drive into the bottom corner of Niall Burdon’s net.

It was the kind of start that Callaghan would have dreamed about, and the Gypsies continued in a confident vein. Ciaran Nangle and Devaney were occupying the flanks to good effect, while the bustling Dave Scully was proving a nuisance to the Shelbourne defence.

The home side’s captain Ian Ryan was booked for a particularly high challenge on Nangle, while Devaney saw yellow for an unfortunate slip that comically clattered former Bohs man Robert “Boccer” Bayly.

Bohs forced a string of first-half corners but just couldn’t quite find a second goal that would have been richly deserved at the break. Devaney could have doubled his tally but for a last-ditch block by Brian Shortall with the goal gaping. Shelbourne, and Philly Hughes in particular, had a couple of half-chances, but Dean Delany was never really troubled.

Whatever Alan Matthews said to his charges at half-time, it definitely worked. The home side were a different animal after the break and Bohs found themselves pinned in their own half. A series of free-kicks and corners brought a couple of good saves from Delany, while Paisley and Roberto Lopes were kept busy by a smattering of long balls into the Bohs box.

One of these was cleared out to Bayly 25 yards out, and he screamed a shot that cannoned back off the crossbar. That seemed to shake Bohs back into life, and the introduction of Dwayne Wilson also relieved some pressure. The gangly and unorthodox Wilson managed to win a few frees with a series of powerful runs, providing much-needed relief to a stretched Bohs back-line.

Bohs got the cushion of an extra man with 20 minutes remaining. Wilson fed Scully in space, and after the striker flicked it past Ian Ryan, he found himself body-checked to the ground. Referee Sutton had no choice but to give Ryan a second yellow. After that, Bohs could well have had a second but for some lax play in the final third.

The excellent Mulcahy marauded forward on more than one occasion, but after he set Wilson through, the sub could only shoot at Burdon’s feet. Bohs saw out the final minutes without incident, and can go into Friday’s televised clash with Derry City with renewed confidence.

Shelbourne: Niall Burdon; Robert Cornwall (Mark Leech, 86), Ian Ryan, Brian Shortall, Jack Memery, Adam Hanlon, Pat Flynn, Paul Crowley, Robert Bayly (Stephen Hurley, 82), Dean Kelly, Philly Hughes. Subs not used: Sean Brennan, Alex Prizeman, Craig Mooney, Darren Tinnelly, Eoin Comerford.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Paisley, Luke Byrne; Ciaran Nangle, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Dwayne Wilson, 64), David Mulcahy; Kevin Devaney (Keith Buckley, 77), Dave Scully. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Shane Murray, Karl Moore, Michael Barker, Andy Mulligan.

Attendance: 1,329

Bohs Man of the Match: Dave Mulcahy

SLICK SLIGO STUN GYPSIES

BOHEMIANS 0 SLIGO ROVERS 3

Bohemians were given a masterclass in counter-attacking football as champions Sligo Rovers ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Dalymount Park.

First-half goals from ex-Bohs men Raffaelle Cretaro and Aaron Greene and a second-half header from Anthony Elding sent Aaron Callaghan’s men crashing to their first home defeat of the new season, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Callaghan welcomed back Dave Mulcahy into the Bohs midfield, with Kevin Devaney leading the line in place of the injured Chris Lyons in a 4-5-1 formation.

In a departure from their usual tactics, Sligo played an orthodox 4-4-2, with Cretaro partnering top scorer Elding up front. But for all their quality, the Bit O’Red were gifted the first goal with barely 90 seconds on the clock.

A deep cross by Ross Gaynor was uncharacteristically misjudged by Owen Heary. Cretaro chested the ball over Heary, but it looked like Roberto Lopes was about to clean up. However, both he and Heary seemed to say “after you”, allowing the Tubbercurry Tornado to poke the league leaders in front. A very sloppy goal from a Bohs point of view.

Credit to Callaghan’s side, the early goal didn’t faze them. They played the better football in the opening periods, with the Dalymount pitch noticeably improved from the draw with Shamrock Rovers. While the surface doesn’t quite lend itself to the flowing passing that Callaghan has instilled, a good April’s growth should see the pitch come back to its best.

An equalizer would have been no more than the Gypsies deserved, and Devaney had a golden chance to do just that on the half hour mark. After sterling work from Derek Pender down the right, Stephen Traynor clipped a lovely ball through. Devaney’s shot was at the angle of the six yard box, but he fired wide at the near post instead of shooting across goal.

Just when Bohs were asserting their dominance, another old boy popped up with a sucker punch. Aaron Greene received the ball on the edge of the box from Alan Keane with his back to goal. Their seemed to be little danger with Lopes tight to the winger, but with a quick turn flash of his left boot, Bohs were suddenly two down. His 20 yard effort went in off Dean Delany’s near post. The Bohs keeper had no chance.

Despite the deficit, Bohs continued to play the kind of football that will surely serve them well throughout the season. McEvoy and Traynor were again impressive, with Luke Byrne continuing to show why he’s so well thought of at Dalymount. Half time came at a bad time for Callaghan’s charges who were well on top when the whistle went.

Captain Heary, who had suffered a torrid first half, was replaced by Stephen Paisley for the second period. With a game against Shelbourne on Monday, Bohs will be hoping that the 37 year old’s knock isn’t too serious.

Sligo soaked up all Bohs second half pressure with the experience of Champions. Evan McMillan was particularly solid. Devaney struggled against the former Bohs and UCD defender. Dave Scully arrived to bolster the Bohs attack, but they could do little to break down the Sligo banks of four. The visitors sealed the victory with one final devastating counter in the 70th minute. Lee Lynch snet Cretaro through down the right, and his delightful clipped cross found Elding un-marked at the back post. The league’s top scorer made no mistake, heading his 8th goal in 7 games for the Bit O’Red.

Bohs don’t have long to reflect on this defeat, with a Dublin Derby in Tolka Park looming on Easter Monday. The perfect tonic for a team looking to bounce back.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Owen Heary (Stephen Paisley, 46), Roberto Lopes (Darragh Hanaphy, 83), Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Dave Mulcahy, Stephen Traynor, Ryan McEvoy, Karl Moore (Dave Scully, 59), Kevin Devaney. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Shane Murray, Ciaran Nangle.

Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers, Alan Keane, Jeff Henderson, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor, Ryan Connolly (Kieran Djallili, 60), David Cawley, Lee Lynch, Aaron Greene (Pascal Millien, 79), Raffaele Cretaro (Liam Martin, 87), Anthony Elding. Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Hugh McFadden, Marty Owens

Bohs Man of the Match: Luke Byrne

THE HANGOVER

BOHEMIANS 0 SHAMROCK ROVERS 0

It was billed as a Bank Holiday Blockbuster – but the first big Dublin Derby of the season failed to live up to expectations as Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers played out a goalless draw in front of a strong 4,000 crowd at a bitterly cold Dalymount Park, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

Bohs struggled to break down a determined 10-man Shamrock Rovers side who did little to justify their tag as one of the favourites for the title. Derek Foran’s first half red card handed the initiative for the Gypsies, who despite controlling the game for large patches, failed to create any real clear cut chances.

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Unfortunately for Bohs, the one real negative is the Dalymount surface. Visibly bobbly at the start of the game, the pitch got worse and worse as the match progressed until eventually, simple 10-yard passes became extremely difficult. That said, the Gypsies midfield duo of Stephen Traynor and Ryan McEvoy were far superior to their Hooped counterparts, and Aaron Callaghan will definitely be the more disappointed manager after this one.

Even when the game was 11 v 11, Bohs were the brighter team. The opening quarter saw a pattern developing with McEvoy and Traynor feeding Karl Moore, who was in flying form. The winger was torturing Rovers captain Pat Sullivan, and put in a few good early crosses that had the visitors’ defence scrambling to clear. Sullivan himself launched a trademark pile-driver that had Dean Delany scrambling, but it flashed just over.

In an extremely niggly affair, Shamrock Rovers were clearly rattled by the pace and high-pressing game exhibited by Callaghan’s men. At the forefront of this quick-footed nippiness were Moore and striker Chris Lyons. The former UCD frontman was causing Jason McGuinness and his central partner Derek Foran all kinds of problems. With 10 minutes to go to half-time, Lyons skipped past Foran who caught him with a crunching lunge. A simple yellow-card decision for referee Neil Doyle. Unfortunately for Lyons, he never recovered from the tackle and was replaced by Shane Murray.

The game seemed to have swung Bohs’ way when Foran received his marching orders just five minutes after getting his first card. This time it was Moore who beat him to the ball. Foran’s reckless tackle was just a split-second late, but still offered Doyle no choice but to flash a second yellow. The lack of complaint from anyone in green and white was the tell-tale sign.

Bohs were well on top before and after the half time whistle. McEvoy and Traynor were particularly impressive. Traynor had what was certainly one of his best games in a Bohs shirt. He exuded a calmness and presence on the ball, and also offered plenty of slaloming runs through his apparently more illustrious midfield opponents in James Chambers and Shane Robinson.

Rovers players seemed to mirror the mood of their unusually subdued fans. While the Tallaght club sold out their allocation, the hundreds gathered in the Des Kelly Stand offered little in terms of atmosphere. The Bohs fans, however were in fine voice, but just couldn’t roar their team on to what would have been a deserved victory.

Chances were few and far between to say the least. The most excitement in the second half was a dipping and swerving Moore shot that had Barry Murphy flapping. The fact that Dave Scully’s booking for an outrageous dive was also a highlight tells the tale of a true Derby stalemate. The result leaves Bohs on four points with a win, a loss, and a draw for Callaghan’s men to start the season. The Dublin Derbies are coming thick and fast – next up for Bohs is a trip to Inchicore to face St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Owen Heary, Roberto Lopes, Luke Byrne, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor, Karl Moore (Darragh Hanaphy, 83), Dave Scully, Chris Lyons (Shane Murray, 37 (Dwayne Wilson, 73) ). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Conor O’Brien, Ciaran Nangle, Michael Barker.

Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy, Pat Sullivan, Jason McGuinness, Derek Foran, Conor Powell, Shane Robinson, Stephen Rice, James Chambers (Ciaran Kilduff, 57), Billy Dennehy, Karl Sheppard (Sean O’Connor, 76), Thomas Stewart (David Elebert, 43). Subs not used: Richard Brush, Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn, Conor McCormack.

Attendance: 4,000

Bohs Man of the Match: Stephen Traynor.

(Pic, by Eddie Lennon, shows Karl Moore tackling Rovers’ Pat Sullivan. View more of Eddie’s pics on our Facebook page.

Website by Simon Alcock