Bohemians and Sligo Rovers played out a tense and fiery 0-0 draw at Dalymount Park on Friday night. The first half dismissals of Bohs defender Danny Joyce and Sligo’s Gavin Peers were the talking points on a night of high drama.
After a cagey opening five minutes, the game burst into life with the sending off of Bohemians Danny Joyce. The youngster went in two footed on Sligo captain Richie Ryan and referee Damien Hancock produced a red card almost immediately.
Sligo immediately went to work making use of the extra man but failed to make any headway early on, with Bohs midfielder Glenn Cronin filling the void left by Joyce on the right of the home side’s defence.
As the half progressed Sligo drew more and more dominant. Alan Kirby registered the travelling side’s first shot of the game after 18 minutes but Chris O’ Connor in the Bohs’ goal saved easily.
Sligo’s numerical was short lived however when Gavin Peers committed a rash and needless foul on Anto Flood well outside the box to earn his second yellow after only 21 minutes.
Despite the sending off Rovers continued to apply pressure but created little in the way of attacking threat, though they did nearly have the ball in the net on the half hour mark when Bohs struggled to clear a John Dillon cross. But it was only a half chance.
Similarly Bohs posed little threat in front of goal, though Flood almost capitalised when Rovers’ defender Jason McGuinness slipped in the box on 33 minutes. Brendan Clarke saved easily. Two minutes later, Rovers created the best chance of the half when John Dillon seized on a sloppy pass back by Bohs Mark Rossiter. He raced into the box and attempted to square for Riche Ryan who had made a great run into the box. However goalkeeper Chris O’ Connor eventually cleared.
Sligo had one last chance before the break when full back Iarfhlaith Davoren crossed from the right but neither Eoin Doyle nor John Dillon could connect – the latter crashing painfully into Chris O’ Connor. Indeed the keeper had to be replaced by Barry Murphy as the first 45 minutes drew to a close.
In a clear statement of intent, Sligo replaced the injured Davoren with striker Aaron Greene just after the break. And the visitors recorded the first chance of the half only two minutes in when Alan Keane whipped a low ball across the Bohs’ box – but it was just out of Eoin Doyle’s reach.
In truth the sendings off set the tone for what was a very hot tempered encounter. Stephen Traynor and Danny Ventre joined the other names in the book early on before Keane created another chance. This time Alan Kirby was on the other end, but he fired over from inside the box.
Rovers concentrated a lot of their attacks down the flanks early in the second half. Substitute Greene’s run and cross from the left after 59 minutes found Raffaele Cretaro but the forward could only header over. Five minutes later, Christy Fagan replaced Anto Flood for Bohs with boss Pat Fenlon clearl feeling a shake-up was needed.
And to his credit Fagan did spark a change for Bohs up front, linking up with Killian Brennan on a number of occasions. But the Gypsies never really looked like threatening Clarke’s goal.
Eoin Doyle carved out a great chance for himself on 77 minutes when he jinked past three Bohs defenders before his effort from just outside the box cannoned off the post. It was reminder of what May’s Player of the Month could do when afforded space.
With five minutes to go, Fagan came so close to stealing the show when Robert Bayly seized on possession in the Rovers’ half. He fed the ball to Fagan who tried to sneak the ball past Clarke at his near post. The keeper saved well however.
The theme of ill-discipline continued right to the full-time whistle with Owen Heary and Alan Keane picking up yellow cards following a fracas in the Bohs’ box. That was the last noteworthy action of the game.
Bohemians: Chris O’ Connor (Barry Murphy, 45); Owen Heary, Danny Joyce, Liam Burns, Glenn Cronin; Mark Rossiter, Keith Buckley, Robert Bayly, Killian Brennan, Stephen Traynor; Anto Flood (Chris Fagan, 63).
Subs not used: Kevin Feely, Eoin Fowler, Mark O’ Reilly, Shane Keely, Chris Forrester.
Bookings: R Bayly (8), A Flood (11), S Traynor (52), G Cronin (91), O Heary (94).
Sent Off: D Joyce (7).
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke; Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Aaron Greene, 47), Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness; Danny Ventre, Richie Ryan, John Dillon (John Russell, 64), Alan Kirby (Mathew Blinkhorn, 76); Raffaele Cretaro, Eoin Doyle.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Mark McGoldrick, Daryl Horgan,
Bookings: E Doyle (8), G Peers (9), D Ventre (50), A Keane (94).
Sent Off: G Peers (21).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
ExtraTime.ie man of the match: Alan Keane (Sligo Rovers). He defended well and his crosses posed plenty of problems for the Bohs’ defence.