In his wildest dreams, Keith Long could hardly have envisaged a better start to Bohemians’ 2015 season. Less that 90 seconds into a tricky opening away game, the Gypsies had the lead, then carefully built on it to record a comfortable 3-0 victory in Limerick on an electric Saturday night for the North Dublin side.

Goals from Adam Evans, Dean Kelly, and Lorcan Fitzgerald gave the away side an emphatic victory against an abject Limerick side in front of a raucous away crowd in Jackman Park. Fears about  a lack of goals in pre-season were swiftly put aside as the Gypsies raced into a 2 goal lead inside 15 minutes. A third goal followed early in the second half, and Long’s side eased to a truly impressive win – and a place at the top of the fledgling Airtricity League Premier Division table, writes KEVIN FAGAN.


Long welcomed Anto Murphy, Derek Pender, and Dean Kelly into the side after recent knocks, and was treated to an opening goal that caught out most of the late arrivals into Jackman Park. Straight from the tip off, Keith Buckley pinged a crossfield ball toward Adam Evans which was cleared by Limerick’s Sean Harding. From the resulting corner, Dean Kelly’s flicked header cannoned off goalkeeper Conor O’Donnell, and fell kindly for Evans who simply bundled the ball in from less than a yard out.

The tempo to Bohs’ play was excellent from the word go – with Roberto Lopes and Kealan Dillon dictating the pace in the middle of the park. The midfield duo were too strong, too determined, and too skillful for Limerick, who were forced onto the back foot for the majority of the opening half. Limerick’s new look defence looked shaky, and the second goal was an unsurprising occurrence.

Evans was involved again, latching onto a lovely dinked pass from Dillon. Limerick left back Robbie Williams came across to clear, but his challenge ricocheted off of Evans, and rolled deliciously across the six yard line. Dean Kelly couldn’t believe his luck, and side-footed into the empty net from six yards. By this time, the entire away crowd had assembled into the temporary stand behind the goal, and the celebrations were as wild as you could imagine.

Shellshocked, struggling, and seemingly out of ideas already, Limerick employed a crass, long-ball style of play with no real coherence. Bohs’ centre-half partnership of Anto Murphy and Derek Prendergast seemed in complete control, and Dean Delany had little to do bar the collection of the occasional over-hit cross. The game fell into a perfect rhythm for Bohs, who could counter attack with menace whenever Limerick gave the ball away. A feature was Bohs’ ability to win 50-50 challenges, and this set up some decent counter attacking opportunities, but none turned into clear-cut chances. Dean Kelly had a free kick from 20 yards out, but shot straight at O’Donnell.

The game was ended as a contest just before the hour mark. The impressive Dillon was clumsily upended by Aidan Price about 25 yards out. Although only signed by Martin Russell in midweek, Price had a nightmare of a debut for the Blues, who looked to be a side bereft of ideas and cohesion. In contrast, Bohs were well organised, disciplined, and dangerous on the counter. Lorcan Fitzgerald stepped up to take the free, and curled a beautiful left-footed strike into the far corner, giving O’Donnell no chance.

Long had the luxury of taking captain Pender out of the firing line with more than a half hour to go. Bohs now face two home games in the space of four days. Athlone arrive in Dalyymount for an EA Sports cup tie on Tuesday before newly-promoted Galway United visit on Friday in the league. The boisterous away crowd in Limerick debuted a number of new chants, but the most apt was a simple rendition of Oasis’ 1995 album opener ‘Hello’. “It’s good to be back, it’s good to be back”, they sang. How true.

Limerick FC: Conor O’Donnell, Sean Harding, Paudie O’Connor, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor, Ross Mann (Vinny Faherty, 46), Darragh Rainsford (Sean McSweeney, 78), Dean Clarke. Subs not used: Tony Whitehead, Tommy Holland, Kieran Hanlon, Val Feeney, Shane Costelloe.

Bohemians: Dean Delaney, Derek Pender (Dylan Hayes, 61), Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon, Adam Evans, Keith Buckley (Robbie Creevy, 78), Dean Kelly (Jason Byrne, 73). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jake Hyland, Karl Moore, Marc Griffin

Attendance: 920 Man of the Match: Kealan Dillon

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