Dundalk and Bohemians played out a lacklustre 2-2 at a cold Oriel Park on Saturday evening. Stephen Maher gave Dundalk the lead at half-time before Evan McMillan equalised for the visitors just after half-time. Dinny Corcoran put Bohemians in front with 15 left on the clock but Bob McKenna rescued a point for the Lilywhites with five minutes remaining.
It was Dundalk who started the brighter and Conor McDonald almost gave the home side the lead in the opening 10 minutes when he shot over from 25 yards. Michael Rafter then came close from distance with a good shot from around 20 yards. William Woods was a constant threat for the Lilywhites and he managed to forge some good openings.
Bohemians eventually got their first shot on goal after a quarter of an hour when Kevin Devanney saw his shot brilliantly saved by Peter Cherrie in the Dundalk goal. It wasn’t long until Dundalk forged in front. On 26 minutes, the Gypsies goalkeeper, Andy McNulty, saved well from William Woods who got a shot away from just inside the box. McNulty then gave the ball straight to Stephen Maher who made no mistake in scoring Dundalk’s first goal since UCD at home on September 7th.
Following the goal, the game really went into end of season mode. Very few chances for both sides Maher almost got a second when he hit the side netting from a tight angle and John Mountney had a long range shot saved well by the Bohemians ‘keeper while Keith Ward forced a good save from Cherrie on the stroke of half-time.
Whatever Aaron Callaghan said at half-time worked for his Bohemians side. Within 90 seconds of the re-start, the Gypsies were level. Nathan Murphy gave away a free-kick on the right hand side. Karl Moore took and Evan McMillan rose highest in the Dundalk area and he finished well to the net from 6 yards.
Dundalk reacted well. Maher shot over the bar from 25 yards and tried his luck once again from distance but it skewed horribly wide. With 20 minutes to go, Rafter saw a good shot saved following good work from Conor McDonald on the right wing.
On 75 minutes, Bohemians duly made the home side pay when Owen Heary played a hopeful ball forward for substitute Daniel Corcoran to chase. A mix up between Cherrie and captain Chris Shields allowed Corcoran to nip in and calmly stroke the ball into an empty net.
When the game looked over, the hosts put some life into the last 5 minutes. Mountney miraculously recovered the ball from the corner and squared for substitute Bob McKenna and the young striker made no mistake when he diverted the ball past McNulty into the bottom corner.
The grandstand finish never materialised and both sides were happy with a point as it ended in a draw.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Paul Whelan, Liam Burns (Peter Thomas 55), Chris Shields, Nathan Murphy; Stephen Maher, John Mountney, Mark O’Brien, Conor McDonald; Michael Rafter (Chris Reilly 85), William Woods (Bob McKenna 77).
Unused substitutes: Stephen McDonnell, Lorcan Shannon, Robbie Gaul.
Booked: Maher (40)
Bohemians: Andy McNulty; Owen Heary, Dave Mulcahy, Roberto Lopez, Luke Byrne; Derek Pender (Daniel Corcoran 66), Keith Ward; Karl Moore (Peter McMahon 75), Ryan McEvoy, Kevin Devaney (Dwayne Wilson 79); Evan McMillan.
Subs not used: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Keith Buckley, John O’Connor.
Referee: Dave McKeon.
Attendance: 250 (estimate)
Extratime.ie man of the match: Stephen Maher (Dundalk).