Bohemians played out a drab scoreless draw against English championship play-off hopefuls Burnley in their second pre-season friendly at Dalymount Park on Friday night.
Burnley may be more than half way through their season, but it was the home side enjoyed the better of the chances with Killian Brennan hitting the post with a free-kick and both Chris Turner and Stephen O’Donnell going close in the first half. At the other end, Bohs’ keeper Brian Murphy didn’t have a save to make as the Gypsies defence limited Burnley’s forwards to a few long range shots.
Bohs manager Pat Fenlon made three changes from the side which started the club’s first friendly against Monaghan United earlier this month with Brian Murphy, Mark Rossiter, Kevin Hunt and Stephen O’Donnell coming in for the injured Ken Oman, John Paul Kelly, Neil Fenn and Chris Konopka. Trialist Glen Cronin kept his place in midfield, while Glen Crowe ploughed a lone furrow up front.
Burnley, already well through their season in England and challenging for a place in the play-offs, chose to rest many of their top names with Andy Cole, Kyle Lafferty and Stanislav Varga all left out. An indication of how seriously Burnley were taking this game came when manager Owen Coyle named both himself and his assistant Sandy Stewart as substitutes.
The first real chance of the game arrived after 14 minutes when Brennan won Bohs a free-kick on the edge of the Burnley area after a surging run. The summer signing from Derry City took the free-kick himself, with his dipping shot cannoning back off the inside of the near post and away to safety. It was a rare bright spot in what had been a turgid opening quarter hour.
Just before the half hour mark Burnley goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly almost gifted the home side the opener. His stray back pass fell straight to the feet of Bohs’ Mark Rossiter whose shot from 30-yards was collected under the crossbar by a relieved Kiraly. The Hungarian international was again called into action just moments later, diving to his right to turn a Chris Turner shot round the post. Stephen O’Donnell was next to test Kiraly on 38 minutes, but the midfielder’s shot from 18 yards was comfortably tipped away.
The opening minutes of the second half saw Bohs continue to dominate. Just seconds after the re-start Brennan again went close with another free-kick after Gypsies midfielder Chris Turner had been felled on the edge of the box. As the second half wore on the quality of play suffered as both managers rung the changes - the most notable of which being the introduction of Coyle, now aged 41, just after the hour mark, much to the delight of the 100 or so travelling Burnley fans.
Chances remained at a premium in the closing stages, although Bohs could have snatched a late victory when substitute Paddy Madden blazed over from the edge of the box having got in behind the Burnley defence. Bohs now head off to a training camp in Spain where they will play a friendly against Dynamo Kiev.
Bohemians: Brian Murphy; Owen Heary, Kevin Hunt (John Paul Kelly 60), Jason McGuiness, Conor Powell (Sean Byrne 82); Mark Rossiter, Chris Turner (Paddy Madden 80), Glenn Cronin, Stephen O’Donnell (Harpal Singh 60), Killian Brennan; Glen Crowe (Neale Fenn 75).
Subs not used: Chris Konopka, McGinlay, McAvoy, McDonagh.
Burnley: Gabor Kiraly; Clarke Carlisle, Steven Caldwell, Johannes Gudjonsson (Jon Harley 60), Stephen Jordan; Mark Randall (Owen Coyle 66), Wade Elliott (O’Connor 60), John Spicer, Chris McCann (Sandy Stewart 75), O’Connor; Ade Akinbiyi.
Subs not used: Brian Jensen.
Referee: Declan Hanney.