Bohemians’ first visit to the Athlone Town Stadium at Lissywoolen proved to be a fruitful one as Owen Heary’s men grabbed all three points to record their second victory of the season on Monday night. Bottom club Athlone finished with 10 men as they were put to the sword thanks to goals from Dano Byrne, Jason Byrne, and one of the most comical own goals ever witnessed in the League of Ireland.

Veteran striker Byrne and Kevin Devaney were the only outfield changes from the team that drew with Bray Wanderers, while Lee Murphy replaced the suspended Dean Delany in goal. Bohs boss Heary will be delighted with a first league victory since the opening weekend as the Gypsies jumped into fifth place in the SSE Airtricity League table, writes KEVIN FAGAN.


Wearing their green away strip, Bohs were quick out of the blocks with Paddy Kavanagh creating the first opening on four minutes. Playing from the right flank, he jinked inside before switching the play across to Kevin Devaney on the left. Devaney got the ball on his right foot and let fly from 18 yards, but the ball crashed off the crossbar and went over. Devaney was impressive as a substitute against Bray, and did well on his third league start of the season here. He had a goal disallowed mid-way through the first half for what appeared to be a handball before he prodded Jason Byrne’s cross into the roof of the net.

Athlone offered little going forward, and all signs point to a long and rather difficult season ahead for Mick Cooke’s men. Bohs were finding them hard to break down, with most opportunities arising from inswinging Darragh Reynor corners. The opening goal came from one such incident just two minutes before the break. Having skewed a couple to the near post, this time Reynor floated the ball to the back stick where Dano Byrne was on hand to turn the ball home for his first goal in the colours of his boyhood club. The disadvantage was compounded for Athlone as skipper Aidan Collins was stretchered off after injuring himself attempting to block the goal.

The second half started slowly, but exploded into life with two goals and a red card in the space of just six minutes. First, the dismissal; Stephen Traynor slid in to get the ball on the right wing, and was clattered late by a lunging Derek Prendergast. The Athlone defender’s tackle caught Traynor on the thigh, and referee Kevin O’Regan reached into the back pocket for a straight red. Prendergast didn’t protest too much, and even offered an apology to Traynor before trudging off.

Although that incident could have deflated the home team, they amazingly grabbed an equaliser almost immediately. A long cross-field pass found Sean Brennan on the right, and he crossed for Graham Rusk – who beat Murphy with an arrowed finish from 16 yards.

In 15 years’ time, there will be an own-goal compilation video on Youtube that simply has to feature Bohs’ second goal. Reacting to a quick throw from Derek Pender, James O’Brien lunged and swung his leg to stop the ball from getting to Stephen Traynor. Much to everyone’s amazement, the ball shanked off his boot looped up, and soared over keeper Paul Skinner from all of 25 yards at an amazing angle. It even postage-stamped the top corner.

Heary went for the jugular, bringing on Stephen Beattie and Dinny Corcoran and switching to a 4-4-2. With Athlone pushing for an equaliser, Bohs capitalised on the break. A wonderful cross-field Devaney pass set Beattie through, but his simple square ball was somehow missed by Jason Byrne. Not to be denied, the legendary striker got the insurance goal with six minutes remaining. A Reynor corner was taken short to Traynor who clipped an inviting ball in. Dano Byrne rose to flick it on, and namesake Jason was on hand to slide in Bohs’ third at the back post. That goal confirmed a well-deserved win for the Gypsies, who host Limerick at Dalymount on Friday.

Athlone Town: Paul Skinner, Aidan Collins (Jason Marks, 45), Sean Byrne, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Mark Hughes, Kealan Dillon, Sean Brennan (Conor McMahon, 59), James O’Brien, Philip Gorman, Graham Rusk. Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Barry Clancy, Declan Brennan, Ian Sweeney.

Bohemians: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender, Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Darragh Reynor, Kevin Devaney (Karl Moore, 85), Dano Byrne, Craig Walsh (Dinny Corcoran, 70), Paddy Kavanagh (Steven Beattie, 64), Stephen Traynor, Jason Byrne. . Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Philip McCabe, Keith Buckley, Jake Hyland. Man of the Match: Dano Byrne

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