REPORT: Bohemians 1 – Drogheda United 4

Bohemians capped a rollercoaster season with a predictably unpredictable performance – going down 4-1 to the Airtricity League runners-up, the impressive Drogheda United in Dalymount, writes Kevin Fagan.

A hat-trick from Drogheda native Tiernan Mulvenna condemned the Gypsies to their worst defeat of the season, but still a respectable 7th place finish.

Despite the disappointing defeat, the reception given to Aaron Callaghan and his men after the final whistle was rousing, with the Bohs faithful showing their appreciation for what has been a truly entertaining season. In classic Bohs style, there were highs and lows, but overall, the feeling at the end of the game was positive on a bitterly cold night in Dublin 7.

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In truth, the defeat could have been much worse, with the visitors missing a number of guilt-edged chances in a rare, frail defensive performance from Aaron Callaghan’s men. Andy Mulligan kept his place in the side after his impressive display against Bray last week, but he was given little to work on in a frustrating night for the home side going forward.

Two out of the three Drogheda Brennan brothers started for United, with Ryan and Sean roaming around the Dalymount pitch reminiscent of their older sibling Killian in his pomp. Ryan had the first two efforts on goal – the first was saved by Greg Murray in the Bohs goal, while the second was blocked by BFC Player of the Year Evan McMillan.

It wasn’t a great night for Murray, who had a terrible time with his kicking all night. A scuffed clearance in the 16th minute went straight to Tiernan Mulvenna, who found Ryan Brennan at the back post, but his shot went wide. Drogheda took a deserved lead on 24 minutes. Paul Crowley’s long ball split the Bohs defence, and Mulvenna ran through to finish smartly over Murray to send the Drogs fans in the Des Kelly Stand wild with delight.

Bohs’ first chance arrived on the half hour mark. Neat play between Ryan McEvoy and Derek Pender sent Mulligan through on the left flank. His low cross found Dinny Corcoran, but the striker couldn’t get enough on the finish. Mulvenna really should have doubled Drogheda’s lead five minutes before the break. A sweeping move set Sean Brennan through in behind the Bohs defence. He crossed for Mulvenna, but the striker scuffed his shot wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

But the Drogs man wasn’t to be denied. In the 44th minute, another well-worked, flowing move set Alan Byrne in on the right. This time, Byrne’s his cross found Mulvenna with his shooting boots on, and Drogheda led 2 – 0. However, instead of going into the break 2 down, Bohs gave themselves a glimmer of hope in first half stoppage time. McEvoy’s clipped ball looked to be going into Gabriel Sava’s hands, but a challenge from Dinny Corcoran meant the ball ricocheted out to Evan McMillan. Bohs top scorer made no mistake, firing home to make it 2-1 on the stroke of half time.

Drogheda boss Mick Cooke must have given his side a real rollicking for their pre-half time slip, as the visitors came out all guns blazing in the second half. It wasn’t long before they had regained a two goal advantage. A soft goal from a Bohs perspective, Alan McNally headed home from a near post Sean Brennan corner. Drogheda looked every bit the second place team heading for Europe next season. Bohs struggled to come to terms with the Louthmen, even when playmaker Keith Ward came on.

Mulvenna completed his hat-trick and sealed the game for Drogheda with twenty minutes remaining. Greg Murray capped what could only be described as a nightmare display by spilling sub john Sullivan’s cross into Mulvenna’s path, and the striker bundled home his third, and Drogheda’s fourth.

Unfortunately for Mulvenna, the match ball may have to be delivered to the Mater Hospital, as he was stretchered off with a suspected serious ankle injury soon after. The dreaded leg brace came out for the stricken forward, who was warmly applauded off the field by both sets of fans. The game petered out after that, with the Bohs fans coming to life in the final few minutes.

That so many stayed after the game to applaud off the players and staff after such a disappointing defeat is a testament to the achievements of this young side in 2012. Here’s to 2013, and the continued Rise of the Red and Black Revolution.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Owen Heary, Evan McMillan, Kevin Feely, Derek Pender, Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore, 46), Stephen Traynor (Keith Ward, 46), Michael Barker, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Dinny Corcoran (Dave Scully, 76). Subs not used: Andy McNulty, Roberto Lopes, Kevin Devaney, Dylan Connolly.

Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava, Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Alan McNally, Derek Prendergast (Jason Marks, 87), Ryan Brennan, Paul Crowley, Brian Gannon (John Sullivan, 24), Alan Byrne, Tiernan Mulvanna (Johnny Breen, 87), Sean Brennan. Subs not used: Michael Schlingermann, Cathal Brady, Conor O’Keefe.

REPORT: Bray 1 – Bohemians 4

Kevin Fagan @ The Carlisle Grounds 

Bohemians saved the best for last in their sixteenth and final away league game of the season, with an impressive 4 – 1 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Goals from Mulcahy, Buckley, Mulligan and McEvoy gave Aaron Callaghan’s men their first league win since July against a team other than Shamrock Rovers.

It was a dominant attacking performance from the Gypsies, who capitalized on the first half dismissal of Bray’s David Webster with four second half strikes to lift them above Shelbourne into 7th place in the Airtricity League table.

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While their rivals in the race for 5th also had positive results, a victory in the last game of the season against Drogheda could well see Bohs finishing in that commendable Setanta Cup spot.

The opening ten minutes were cagey, but gradually the Gypsies began to exert their dominance, with wingers Keith Buckley and Andy Mulligan in particularly good form. Mulligan forced Bray keeper Brian Kane into a smart near post save on 16 minutes. From the resulting corner, Buckley fired just wide. Bohs had the ball in the net ten minutes later, but Dinny Corcoran was ruled offside after rounding Kane and slotting the ball home.

The game’s key flashpoints happened within three minutes of each other around the half hour mark. Bray defender David Webster brought down Dinny Corcoran to receive his first yellow card on 29 minutes. Then, just three minutes later, Webster felled Keith Buckley when the Bohs youngster was almost through on goal. Neil Doyle prescribed an early bath for the Bray man, and Bohs could now take control of the game.

Corcoran and Mulligan both had chances to put Bohs ahead before the break. Corcoran’s volley flew just over, and Mulligan slipped at the vital moment allowing Kane to gather. Half time came at a good time for the home side, but the feeling was that Bohs were poised to catch fire in the second period.

Bray almost poured water on that notion just after the break. Kieran Marty Waters to be precise. Set through by Jason Byrne, Waters deliciously lobbed Greg Murray, only to see his effort crash off the underside of the bar. Bohs replied instantly – McEvoy played a lovely through ball to Mulcahy, who kept his composure and clipped the ball past Kane to open the scoring. The modest away crowd had barely sat back down when it was 2. Mulligans delightful back post cross found his opposite winger Buckley, who slid in to double Bohs’ advantage.

On the hour mark, Bray got one back. As is the general way of things, Jason Byrne got on the scoresheet – dispatching a penalty after Michael Barker fouled Waters in the area. The flurry of goals kept on coming – with Bohs restoring their two goal advantage with 20 minutes remaining. A neat interchange of passing between Corcoran and substitute Keith Ward set Andy Mulligan through. Mulligan got the goal his performance deserved by blasting the ball low past Kane to make it 3 – 1.

Callaghan kept his promise of blooding some Under 19 starlets – Dylan Connolly came on for his debut, and almost set up the fourth following a powerful run down the left. Only a goal-line clearance kept Bohs from extending their lead. The game somewhat petered out in the latter stages – but there was a warm reception for Jason Byrne from the Bohs fans as he was replaced near the end. There was time for Ryan McEvoy to wrap up the evening by grabbing Bohs fourth in injury time. It was the first and last time this season that Bohs managed to score more than twice away from home.

Wins for Derry and Cork kept them ahead of Bohs in the table, but the race for 5th place is still very much alive. With Derry finished their league games, a win for Bohs against Drogheda will certainly put them ahead of the Candystripes. A win will seal 5th spot providing St. Pats take points from Cork in the final game.

Bray Wanderers: Brian Kane, Kevin Knight, Danny O’Connor, David Webster, Daire Doyle, Dean Marshall, (Lee Dixon 66) Sean Houston, Kevin O’Connor, John Mulroy (Paul Moffatt 72), Kieran Marty Waters, Jason Byrne (Yani Georgiev 87).

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Owen Heary, Kevin Feely, Evan McMillan, Luke Byrne (Kevin Devaney 74); Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Keith Ward 63), Dave Mulcahy, Andy Mulligan (Dylan Connolly 76), Dinny Corcoran.

Bohs Man of the Match: Andy Mulligan

REPORT: UCD 2 – BOHEMIANS 2

After a horrific start at the Belfield Bowl on Friday night, Bohemians got out of jail as two injury-time goals from supersub Dave Scully salvaged a point, Robert O’Reardon reports.

Down to 10 men and two goals behind after 22 minutes, things appeared ominous for Aaron Callaghan’s faltering young side.

UCD, who had won five of their last six league games, started off brightly with the away side looking a group lacking confidence after winning just twice in the the league since the teams met at Dalymount Park in July.

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And the game looked to be going on recent form as the home side drew first blood early on.

A long ball from the hosts went over the head of Kevin Feely, who looked to have the situation under control before slipping under pressure from Danny Ledwith.

The quick-footed Ledwith stole in to take the ball off Feely’s toes and fell to the ground himself after a clumsy challenge just outside the box from the 20-year-old defender.

Referee Seán Grant adjudged the Kildare man’s foul to have prevented a goal-scoring opportunity and had no hesitation in giving the fuming youngster his marching orders.

To compound Bohs’ misery, Ledwith dispatched the resultant free-kick past Greg Murray in the Bohemian goal to give the hosts an early lead.

Things went from bad to worse for the Gypsies as they went 2-0 behind 14 minutes later.

Paul O’Conor was pulling the strings for the Students in the middle of the field, and it was the 25-year-old who struck the second blow as his speculative effort found the net thanks to a wicked deflection.

The ball bobbled around on the edge of the box before O’Conor struck a low shot, which looked to be heading away from danger until Evan McMillan stuck out his leg to divert it past the flat-footed Murray.

John O’Connor came close to getting Bohs back in the game after 27 minutes. The striker, 20, was well positioned at the back post to meet Karl Moore’s cross but his faint touch saw the ball flash wide.UCD then went looking for the vital third and O’Conor’s midfield partner Barry McCabe nearly put the game to bed with a long-range effort that flashed wide of Murray’s left-hand post.

Moments later, Callaghan opted to shuffle his pack as Derek Pender came on in place of O’Connor.

The change failed to halt the Students’ blitzing of Murray’s goal in the second half, however. O’Conor was dangerous from long range and the inexperienced Murray, 19, did well to keep the scoreline down to 2-0.

Dave Mulcahy, Pender and Scully all went close to getting Bohs back into the game. Yet as the clock ticked ticked towards the full-time whistle, it looked like it was going to be the Students’ night.Callaghan used his final two rolls of the dice on 66 minutes as Moore and Kevin Devaney were sacrificed for Scully and Dinny Corcoran. And it was the former who proved to be the hero of the day.

But as the fourth official signaled there was to be three minutes’ injury-time, ex-Monaghan United man Scully found himself running through on goal after a superb through ball.

He composed himself and fired home past Ger Barron from the edge of the area.

Too little, too late? So it seemed. But a hopeful punt up the field from Bohs skipper Owen Heary saw Michael Leahy nearly head past his own keeper in the dying embers.

But it was supersub Scully again, this time from Ryan McEvoy’s placed ball, who was on hand to head home a late and unlikely leveler.The ball went out for a corner and Murray and his glistening silver jersey joined in on one last Bohemian attack.

Next up for the Gypsies is an away trip to Oriel Park to take on Dundalk on Saturday week.

Originally due to host Monaghan United this Friday, after a busy campaign, the Bohs players can take a breather this weekend due to the Mons’ unfortunate demise.

UCD: Barron; Douglas (Russell, 82), Leahy, O’Connor, Nangle; Clarke (Mulhall, 72), O’Conor, McCabe (Kavanagh, 59), Ledwith; Benson; McMillan.

BOHEMIANS: Murray; Heary, Feely, Lopez; Barker, McEvoy, Mulcahy, O’Connor (Pender, 28), Moore (Scully, 64); McMillan, Devaney (Corcoran, 64).

MAN OF THE MATCH: Dave Scully.

 

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