Fenlon coy on future after Bohs' late escape
St Pat's ATH 0 Bohemians 0
Published 02/04/2011 | 05:00
A strange week in the life of Pat Fenlon ended in late drama at Richmond Park with a penalty save from Barry Murphy securing a share of the spoils for a Bohs side that was expected to enter this game without a manager.
This derby hardly left the starting stalls, with the major talking point coming in the dying seconds when Richie Winter pointed to the spot for a foul by Bohs defender Ger O'Brien on Saints sub Shane McFaul.
Winter duly ordered O'Brien off for a second yellow, confusing the Bohs man considering it was his first offence. He was allowed to stay on, but the kerfuffle merely increased the waiting time for penalty taker Paul Crowley.
His spot-kick was pushed to safety by Murphy, who had been carrying a groin injury for the majority of the second half as patched-up Bohs held out.
It could yet prove to be Fenlon's last act in the Gypsies hotseat, although he refused to delve into the matter afterwards, aside from angrily denying there is any substance in linking him to the vacant post at Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock.
"I'm not going to get into the other stuff, at the moment I'm still manager," said Fenlon, who did admit that the off-the-field financial situation in Dublin 7 had tested the patience of the staff at Bohs to the limit.
Reports earlier in the day suggested that club sources have conceded they cannot afford his full-time wages any longer, so a mooted solution is that the Dubliner will revert to a part-time managerial salary, but take on some extra administrative work.
After a week dominated by discussion of whether Fenlon would be present for this encounter, plenty of the healthy crowd were probably wishing they were elsewhere during a boring affair.
Of course, both camps could offer excuses after a turbulent couple of days. Fenlon's situation was put in perspective by events at Inchicore, with opposite number Pete Mahon absent due to the death of his mother, Mary.
Assistant John Gill, linked with the possible vacancy at Dalymount Park, barked out instructions from the sideline. There was little for the crowd to shout about, though.
The Saints shaded the first half, finishing strongly to put the Gypsies under a little bit of pressure.
They had threatened early on when Derek Doyle forced a stop from Murphy, before a stuttering period for both camps, with the Bohs rhythm disturbed by an injury to left-winger Ollie Cahill that ended his night prematurely.
Lone Bohs striker Anto Flood was their sole outlet, yet he was struggling to get any joy and the hosts gradually began to press. All they had to show for it, though, was a couple of half chances, with Dave McMillan closest.
Indeed, the Phibsborough men nearly nicked the lead just shy of the interval when Killian Brennan's pacey inswinger gave Saints netminder Gary Rogers a nervous moment.
If that incident offered a glimmer of hope for the visitors, the positivity had eroded within minutes of the game's resumption. Lee Dixon -- Cahill's replacement -- came out for the second half carrying a knock, shook his head, and made way for Gary Burke before the restart. A few minutes later, Brennan, who had shipped a blow to the chest earlier on, went down again and gingerly made his way off, with another youngster, Keith Buckley, introduced.
With all subs used, the Bohs bench looked on anxiously as 'keeper Murphy slipped and sustained a leg injury which prevented him from taking kick-outs for the rest of the evening. Briefly, it was a backs-to-the-wall exercise.
But there was no pace about the Saints, who were laboured in their build-up, giving an experienced Bohs rearguard plenty of time to organise themselves. In fact, Fenlon's charges regrouped to forge an opening or two of their own, with Mark Rossiter and Stephen Traynor taking aim without success.
Gill did have the luxury of drafting in fresh faces for the final quarter, and it was a purposeful run from new arrival McFaul that finally led to a chance of substance. He teed up Doyle, who miscued, much to the frustration of the Inchicore natives.
Their mood darkened further as Murphy came to Bohs' rescue in the frantic finale.
St Patrick's Athletic -- Rogers, Pender, E McMillan, Mulcahy, Bermingham; Murphy, Crowley, Bradley (McFaul 81), Doyle; D McMillan, North (Daly 71)
Bohemians -- Murphy, Heary, Burns, Price, O'Brien; Brennan (Buckley 51), Rossiter, Bayly, Cahill (Dixon 23; Burke 45); Traynor; Flood
Ref -- Richie Winter (Dublin)
- David O'Leary was last night sacked by Dubai club Al-Ahli after a 5-1 defeat to Al Jazira on Thursday.