A Marc Griffin-inspired performance drove Bohemians to victory on Tuesday night as the Gypsies dispatched opponents Athlone Town 3-0 in the First Round of the EA Sports Cup at Dalymount Park.
Boh's picked up where they left off at the weekend in their 3-0 victory over Limerick as Keith Long's side put in another confident performance against Athlone that echoed of reassured composure that will be sure to reignite hope in fans that a successful season is ahead for the Gypsies.
A fantastic tempo was evident from the offset in this game as both sides persisted with playing attacking football. Athlone looked the more dangerous side in the opening minutes as play maker Garreth Brady dropped deep behind forwards Sam O'Connor and Marco Chindea to link up play for the Midland side.
However the quality of a Premier Division side such as Bohemians shone through as the game developed with winger Adam Wixted running riot along the right hand flank throughout the game. Linking up right back and former Athlone player Dylan Hayes looked devoid of effort as the two exchanged passes all game long.
The opening goal of the game came from such a Wixted cross as Karl Moore danced through the Athlone defence before releasing Wixted on the right flank, the Bohs winger crossing deep to find an unmarked Marc Griffin who's first-time strike rattled past Athlone 'keeper Patrick Dunican to put the home side 1-0 up.
More Bohs pressure followed as Athlone offered no response to the opening goal. Chances came and went before a second was added on 44 minutes when Marc Griffin found himself in oceans of space behind the Athlone backline before dispatching the ball into the Athlone net after a deflection from goalkeeper Patrick Dunican, the forward getting his and Bohemians' second of the night.
The second half saw Athlone restore some sense of competition to the game as the Town were not willing to let the first-half result be the end of the night's proceedings. A Garreth Brady volley came a matter of centimeters from Dean Delany's net after the ball was released to the forward as a result of an Athlone corner.
Another chance was not taken from the visitors as yet another Athlone corner was not dealt with properly by the Bohemian's setup, the ball falling to midfielder Gary Burke who simply couldn't get the ball out from under his feet before the ball was cleared and the chance was gone.
A third was almost added for Bohs as the now 37 year-old Jason Byrne showed he still has the quality he had ten years ago as he drifted away from his maker to meet a wonderful cross, however his header looping too high and hitting the Athlone crossbar before going over.
A disciplined second half performance from the Bohemian's back line led by captain Roberto Lopes kept any further advances from Athlone strikers Marco Chindea and Sam O'Connor, with 17 year-old centre back Stephen Best in particular showing great promise for the future.
A third was added for Bohemians as double-goalscorer Marc Griffin turned to assists in the second half as his corner found the head of Jake Hyland, the midfielder's thunderous effort flying into the top corner of Patrick Dunican's net.
The game turned into shooting practice for Bohs late in the game as continuous efforts from Marc Griffin to complete his hat-trick were futile as the ball trickled wide time after time after time.
Late efforts from Athlone's Philip Gorman and a smashing effort from substitute Garbhan Coughlan that struck the Bohemian's crossbar added a sense of credibility and deserved optimism from the fixture in which the score line fails to acknowledge the visitors tremendous effort and competitiveness.
For Bohs, this result makes it two from two in the new campaign with Keith Long's side scoring six and conceding none in their opening two fixtures in which composure and confidence have been in excess to go nicely along side his side’s goalscoring exploits.
Bohemians: Dean Delany (Lee Steacy 80); Jason Caffrey, Roberto Lopes, Dylan Hayes, Stephen Best; Robbie Creevy (Robert Duggan 70), Adam Wixted, Jake Hyland, Karl Moore; Marc Griffin, Jason Byrne
Subs not used: Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Kealan Dillon, Anto Murphy, Adam Evans
Bookings: Jason Byrne (56).
Athlone Town: Patrick Dunican; Stephen Quigley, Michael Brown, Stephen Dunne, Ryan Doolin, Gavin Boyne, Gary Burke (Philip Gorman 74), Eric Foley, Sam O'Connor (Garbhan Coughlan 74), Garreth Brady (Thomas Mulroney 61), Marco Chindea.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack (gk), Aidan Collins, Daneil Purdy, Robbie Gaul,
Bookings: Gareth Brady (50)
Referee: Adriano Reale
Attendance: 300 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Marc Griffin (Bohemians)