Date: 12:30 p.m. Aug. 8, 2010
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
If there was any fear that Rovers would enter this derby with Bohemians feeling the after effects of their trojan efforts in Italy last week, they were quickly dispelled as Michael O’Neill’s men opened this game at dizzying pace.
Rovers’ central midfield trio of Stephen Rice, Stephen Bradley and Robert Bayly had their opponents on the back foot from the off and the home side first threatened as early as the 4th minute. Ken Oman was drawn into a foul on Paddy Kavanagh some twenty yards from goal and Bradley pinged the resulting free off the visitor’s crossbar.
Thereafter the game saw Bohemians pass the ball about with composure but little penetration, Quigley and Brennan looking lively on the flanks, but Paddy Madden remained virtually isolated up front. The home side, meanwhile, broke purposefully and looked more dangerous with the ball at their feet.
And after twenty two minutes it was Kavanagh who created the next real opening. Chasing Bohs full back Mark Rossiter into the corner, the winger nicked the ball off his toe and flung a cross into the visitor’s box which strayed too close to goalkeeper Barry Murphy.
But moments later the home side were ahead. A diagonal ball from Pat Flynn found Thomas Stewart on the left and his driven cross found Dan Murray lurking at the back post. With all the aplomb of a seasoned striker the Cork man powered a volley past Murphy and deep into the corner of the Bohemians net.
Bohemians were energetic in pursuit of an equaliser but consistently failed to get past the green and white curtain that lay across midfield. And it was Rovers who almost scored a second just after the half hour mark. Barry Murphy punched a long throw from Rice straight to Bayly on the edge of the box but his headed effort was cleared off the line by Rossiter.
It was not until the 40th minute that Bohemians genuinely threatened the home goal. Brennan’s corner was returned to him on the right and his curling effort beat Alan Manus only to bounce away off the bar. But it was a deeply frustrating time for the league Champions, typified by a botched free kick three minutes from half time which involved Rossiter and Paul Keegan mixing up their signals.
But it was the second half in which this game truly burst into life. Ten minutes in and Thomas Stewart almost capitalised on a tangle between Murphy and Brian Shelley before Aiden Price met a free kick from substitute James Chambers and directed it onto the Bohemians crossbar.
Seconds later and Rovers were down to ten men when Pat Flynn inexplicably hit out at Gareth McGlynn and received a straight red card from referee Dave McKeon. Rovers sent on Craig Sives to shore up the right back berth and the home support settled in for a final half hour of desperate defence.
Four minutes later, and to everyone’s surprise, they were swinging from the rafters as Gary Twigg chased a ball into the Bohemians box, twisted past Owen Heary, and planted a shot beyond Murphy and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
There was little option for Pat Fenlon but to throw the kitchen sink as far fowards as he possibly could. Jason Byrne and Rafael Creataro came on as McGlynn and Cronin made way. A Mark Quigley shot was tipped over by Mannus and, in the 76th minute, Madden crashed a header off the underside of the Rovers bar.
Billy Dennehy came on for Rovers as they tried to wrestle back the initiative and Cretaro went into the book for a ‘studs up’ challenge on the superb Stephen Rice. But as defeat loomed Bohs suffered one final indignity. Stewart and Dennehy weaved their way into the visitor’s box and the Corkman thrashed in a third Rovers goal.
It was a win that was fully deserved by a Rovers side that are flushed with confidence and though Pat Fenlon might feel that the 3-0 scoreline was a bit harsh, there was no denying that his side were beaten by the better team on the day. A day perhaps of differing fortunes for two of the domestic leagues top sides but, with some quality football being played by both, one on which the league itself received a timely boost.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Pat Flynn, Dan Murray, Aidan Price, Enda Stevens; Stephen Bradley (James Chambers, 52), Stephen Rice, Robert Bayly, Paddy Kavanagh (Craig Sives, 61); Gary Twigg (Billy Dennehy, 78), Thomas Stewart.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Neale Fenn.
Bookings: Rice (40), Kavanagh (42), Bradley (49).
Red Cards: Pat Flynn (58 mins)
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Brian Shelley, Owen Heary, Ken Oman, Mark Rossiter Raffaele Cretaro, 73); Gareth McGlynn (Jason Byrne, 64), Paul Keegan, Glen Cronin (Ruaidhri Higgins, 64), Killian Brennan; Mark Quigley, Paddy Madden.
Subs not used: Chris O’Connor, Jason McGuinness.
Bookings: Oman (72), Cretaro (81).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Stephen Rice.
Referee: Dave McKeon.
Attendance: 5,500 (estimate).