Report: Shamrock Rovers 0 – Bohemians 1


It may have taken eight attempts but on Monday, Bohemians finally recorded their first win against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, Robert O’Reardon reports.

On their seven previous trips to south Dublin since the Hoops moved to their new home in 2009, the best Bohs could muster up was a 1-1 draw last season.  Fans had almost  become accustomed to making the return Luas trip home cursing their luck. But it was different this time.

Kevin Devaney, in only his second start for the Gypsies, fired home from close range just before half-time to send the noisy, bouncing Bohs fans into ecstasy.

Some sturdy defending from Evan McMillan and Kevin Feely in particular ensured the Gypsies notched up their second win over the Hoops this season, having lost 2-0 in Tallaght in March and won 4-0 in Dalymount when the sides met in June.

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 It’s Bohs’ best head-to-head record with Rovers since Pat Fenlon’s double-winning team of 2008.

With Bohs without a league win in seven, Rovers without defeat at home since May and unbeaten in Tallaght against the Gypsies, all the signs looked ominous for Aaron Callaghan’s side.

But it was the visitors who created the early openings. A flurry of quickfire Bohs chances gave the hosts something to think about.

First, Keith Ward shot wide past Oscar Jansson’s post. Then new boy Devaney – formerly of Sligo Rovers and Finn Harps – came close to opening the scoring when he flashed a header wide from a tough angle.

But after that, it was Stephen Kenny’s side who were in the ascendancy for most of the opening half.

Gary Twigg, so often the thorn in Bohs’ side, was beginning to wreak havoc and he came close when he peeled away from Feely to flash a half-volley over the crossbar.

Not long afterwards, a further warning was delivered after Thomas Stewart blasted a shot against the crossbar from 18 yards out.

Bohs were having to withstand some serious pressure, but the likes of the impeccable Feely at the back and impressive 19-year-old Greg Murray in goal – in only his second game for the first team – were more than a match for everything Rovers threw at them.

And Bohs’ dogged performance received an unlikely reward just before half-time.

A Ward free-kick on 44 minutes was delivered into Rovers’ penalty area. McMillan rose for the ball but it hit the onrushing Jansson and fell into the path of  Devaney, who scored his first goal for the club at a vital time.

Bohs fans were delirious, Rovers’ were silenced.

In what proved to be a nail-biting second 45 minutes for the travelling faithful, Ward could have – and should have – made it 2-0 just after break.

Ward capitalised on a mistake from former Bohs man Ken Oman and was one-on-one with Jansson, but his poorly-hit shot flashed wide.

Having been on fire throughout the game, Ward will have been disappointed with a missed opportunity that could have proved costly.

And not long afterwards, Twigg almost made Bohs pay. The Scot latched on to the end of a Stewart cross to divert the ball towards the top corner of Murray’s net.

But Twigg – the league’s top scorer in 2009 and 2010 – saw the ball ricochet off the crossbar and once again, Feely was on hand to clear the danger.

Having come so close in the past, it was beginning to look like it could finally be Bohemians’ night in Tallaght.

Rovers continued to try and press for the equaliser but Callaghan’s instructions seemed to work as his side looked comfortable for the last half-hour or so.

Former Bohs favourite Killian Brennan came on but was unable to make any real impact.

In fact, it was a Bohs substitute – Ken Carr – who came closest to finding the net.

He raced through towards Jansson less than a minute after he was introduced in place of Devaney. But his shot was well-saved by the Swedish goalkeeper.

When McMillan slipped under a high ball in the dying moments, it looked as if Oman would spare his team’s blushes.

But he headed tamely into the ground where the unfazed Murray gathered the ball without any fuss.

Rovers knew the game was up.

We’ll never win in Tallaght, eh?


MAN OF THE MATCH: Kevin Feely.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; Sullivan, Oman, Hawkins, O’Connor; McCabe (Kilduff 60), Finn, Rice, Dennehy (Brennan 74); Twigg, Stewart (Greene 78).

BOHEMIANS: Murray; Barker, McMillan, Feely, Lopes; Pender, Ward, (J O’Connor 88), Mulcahy; Buckley, Devaney (Carr 80), Moore (Mulligan 68).

REFEREE: P McLaughlin.

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