Four goals, a red card, three penalty appeals, and one late missed penalty – but still Bohs are craving an elusive home league win with more than half the season gone. Paul Skinner’s 88th minute save from Dinny Corcoran’s spot kick was enough to earn the Midlanders a point after a spirited comeback saw the Gypsies come from 2-0 down early in the second half.

The only change from the team that thrashed Bray 5-0 before the break saw Kevin Devaney make way for the returning Steven Beattie, but it was one that almost backfired – Bohs were flat and lifeless until Devaney’s introduction. The substitute ignited the Bohs comeback and earned the Man of the Match Award with a blistering 40 minutes, writes KEVIN FAGAN.


Like far too many of the league games at Dalymount this season, the home team were laboured and sluggish in the first period. Sticking with the attacking 4-4-2 formation that put Bray and Limerick to the sword, Heary set out his attacking intentions against the team that lost all 10 of their opening league games. However, movement was stifled by a hard-working three-man Athlone midfield, and Alan Byrne at the back seemed to be capable of dominating Dinny Corcoran and Steven Beattie in the air. Byrne was mopping up 99% of the disappointing long balls into the Athlone box, and Corcoran and Beattie cut frustrated figures.

Even against a dogged Town, it was a surprise when the opening goal came against the run of play. Athlone had barely ventured anywhere near Dean Delany when suddenly, a quick-fire break tore the Bohs defence open. Neat interplay between Kealan Dillon and Barry Clancy led to Clancy toe-poking the ball through to James O’Brien. Delany rushed out to close down the space, but O’Brien stayed cool and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Bohs almost replied instantly, but Keith Buckley’s dangerous cross flashed across the face of goal and wide.

The second half couldn’t have started worse for Bohs, and in particular for Jack Memery. The left back was making his first appearance since a nightmare against Shamrock Rovers, and was completely culpable for the Athlone second, which arrived just a minute after the break. Memery dawdled on a long punt, allowing it to bounce high before attempting a hooked clearance. Sean Brennan blocked down the Memery clearance, and was suddenly bearing through on the right flank. His cross was identical to Buckley’s, and Philip Gorman hit the post sliding in at the back. However, the rebound fell straight to James O’Brien, who grabbed his second to send the small band of travelling support wild. Remember, Athlone had won a single point from 8 away games before last night.

Heary’s response was immediate. Kevin Devaney replaced Buckley on the right, and the effect was immediate. He showed a pace and power that Buckley lacked, and immediately turned the Athlone defence toward their own goal. It took just three minutes for him to grab Bohs’ first. He started a run from about thirty yards out, beat two Athlone defenders, and was suddenly in on goal. His left footed shot was somewhat scuffed, but squirmed underneath Paul Skinner and into the net.

Cue referee Paul McLaughlin’s entry into the affair. Bohs’ first penalty appeal was 50-50 as Prendergast and Beattie clashed. McLaughlin ruled that Prendergast got a touch on the ball, but Beattie, the Bohs bench, and the Jodi Stand were incensed. The second appeal was much more clear cut. A Memery cross bounced up at Alan Byrne, who dipped his arm and clearly made contact. with his bicep. Again, McLaughlin was having none of it, to the Bohs fans chagrin.

The equaliser came with more than enough time to get a winner. 77 minutes had gone when Anto Murphy’s looped header entered the box. Alan Byrne, immaculate all evening, missed his clearance, allowing Dinny Corcoran with a free shot from 6 yards. Dinny notched his 12th goal of the season, and surely there was only one winner from here? The third and final penalty claim proved to be the one – this time it was Neil Harney who hand-balled, in a similar fashion to Byrne just minutes earlier. McLaughlin was still in no mood to give it, but the linesman flagged, and Bohs had the chance to finally win a league game at Dalymount for the first time since September 2013. Harney got a second yellow card for the offence, and marched off. However, Dinny’s penalty was weakish – low and not sufficiently into the corner. Skinner palmed it away easily, and the ball was cleared for a corner.

Disappointment at not winning, but relief at not losing was clear. Bohs remain 9 points clear of bottom of the table Athlone, but with Champions St. Pats and title-chasing Cork City the next two visitors to Dalymount, the search for an elusive home league win may continue.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Dano Byrne, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Keith Buckley (Kevin Devaney 54), Roberto Lopes, Eoin Wearen, Paddy Kavanagh (Karl Moore, 83), Steven Beattie, Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Jason Byrne, Jake Hyland, Craig Walsh, Gavin Moore.

Athlone Town: Paul Skinner, Stephen Quigley, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Sean Byrne, Kealan Dillon, Mark Hughes, Sean Brennan, James O’Brien (Ian Sweeney 84), Barry Clancy (Neil Harney 68), Philip Gorman. Subs not used: Derek Doyle, Graham Rusk, Thomas Mulroney, Dean Mahon, Jason Marks.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Kevin Devaney

Pic by Eddie Lennon –

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