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Jason Byrne - Goal (21')
Conor Powell - Yellow Card (44')
Mark Rossiter - Yellow Card (55')
Gary Twigg - Yellow Card (13')
Enda Stevens - Yellow Card (30')
Pat Flynn - Yellow Card (45')
From this point on Bohemians took control of the opening half. With
Gareth McGlynn and Killian Brennan wide on the flanks and Raffaele
Cretaro flying around the centre like an intelligent pinball the home
side offered far more in the way of imagination and intent.
For the most part the Rovers defence dealt well with an almost
constant stream of attacks but at right back Pat Flynn showed worrying
flashes of the ill-discipline that saw him sent off the last time
these sides met.
With Paddy Madden on the bench Pat Fenlon had placed his trust in
Cretaro and veteran Jason Byrne to provide his side with the
penetration they would need. And on twenty minutes it was Byrne who
fired the home side’s first shot in anger. Receiving the ball on the
edge of the box he turned and shot towards goal, the ball deflecting
off the head of Aidan Price and out for a corner.
When that came in Rovers never fully cleared it and finally Glen
Cronin chipped the ball back into the danger area. Ken Oman got to it
first, flicking it inside to the waiting Byrne and the rest was simple
for the Bohs’ striker who lifted the ball over Mannus and into the roof
of the net.
For the remainder of the half there were precious few clear-cut
chances but Bohemians looked like the only side who might create one.
In the 25th minute Brennan sailed in a cross that Byrne met with an
accurate header which didn’t have enough pace to beat Mannus.
A succession of corners and free kicks followed from the Bohs number
seven, indicating the weight of Bohemians’ possession and a healthy
measure of their dominance. Gareth McGlynn was also starting to cause
problems for the visitors, and on the half hour mark Enda Stevens was
erroneously booked when Dennehy clipped the winger’s heels as he burst
Ten minutes before the interval Byrne hobbled off and was replaced by
Paddy Madden who immediately showed the kind of pace and vitality that
Rovers could have done without. But no further breakthrough came and
the teams went for their cup of tea with the narrowest of margins
Still it was plain that something must be done if the Hoops were to
get back into the contest and Michael O’Neill obliged, replacing Paddy
Kavanagh with Thomas Stewart and switching formation to a more
And Rover’s second half performance improved dramatically. It was suddenly they who were applying the pressure and the 53rd minute brought a remarkable sequence of missed chances. It was Ken Oman who set the whole thing off with a backpass that Murphy attempted to head clear. However the ball fell to Gary Twigg who took a touch and drove the ball back towards goal. This time it was Brian Shelly who cleared from the line and although the ball now fell to James Chambers, Barry Murphy was on hand to save his effort.
Rovers were now doing in the second half what Bohs had done in the
first and with the introduction of Neale Fenn there should have been
an added layer of artistry to the Hoops play. But it was at this point
that Bohemians managed to wrestle back the initiative.
Paul Keegan and Glen Cronin started to not only win balls in the
centre of the park but distribute them with accuracy. Chances were
starting to be created for the home side once again, notably for Paddy
Madden who, having run at the Rovers defence unchallenged, shot tamely
wide on 70 minutes. There was also a mazy run from defender Shelley
that brought him all the way to the Rovers box before he was closed
At the other end Twigg went down easily when challenged for a high
ball in the box and referee, Alan Kelly’s emphatic rejection of the
striker’s appeals added to the sense that it wasn’t going to Rovers’
day. Moments later Twigg flicked on a near post header and Dennehy
might have done better than direct his header wide.
But it was Bohemians who brought this game home. Aaron Greene came on
for the excellent Cretaro and lit up Dalymount Park with a display of
composure and skill that marks him out as a talent to be reckoned
Indeed, Bohs should have wrapped it up with a minute to play but
Madden side-footed well off target after good work on the left by both
Powell and Greene. There followed two desperate sorties by the
visitors in added time. Baker delivered a free into the box which
Murphy claimed and then a corner which was cleared by a combination of
Oman’s head and Murphy’s fists.
And so it ended, Bohemians are right back in it, and if Rovers are to
claim their first league title in sixteen years then they will now
have to do it the hard way.
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Mark Rossiter, Brian Shelley, Ken
Oman, Conor Powell; Gareth McGlynn, Paul Keegan, Glen Cronin, Killian
Brennan; Raffaele Cretaro (Aaron Greene, 85), Jason Byrne (Paddy
Madden, 35).Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Roberto Lopez,
Bookings: Powell (45), Rossiter (56).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Pat Flynn, Craig Sives, Aidan
Price, Enda Stevens; Paddy Kavanagh (Thomas Stewart, HT), Chris
Turner, Stephen Rice, James Chambers (Neale Fenn, 69), Billy Dennehy
(Dessie Baker, 79); Gary Twigg.Subs not used: Pat
Jennings, Stephen Bradley.
Bookings: Twigg (13), Stevens (29), Flynn (45).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Rafaele Cretaro.
Referee:Alan Kelly.Attendance: 3,400.
Simon O'Gorman began reporting for Extratime in 2010. He remembers Milltown and Flower Lodge and, back in the mists of time, saw Diego Maradona play at Lansdowne Road. He now lives in Co Kildare and reports on Shamrock Rovers among others. Simon can be contacted at email@example.com