Bohs' pitch battle descends into farce
Shamrock Rovers 0
IT'S a mark of how poor the fare was at Dalymount Park that the stadium's facilities were the major talking point in the aftermath of a dour Dublin derby.
Both managers blamed the desperate pitch for a game of football that never took off, despite Shamrock Rovers being down to 10 men for 54 minutes after Derek Foran's second yellow card, while after the game the Hoops players complained that the showers in the dressing-rooms were cold.
Welcome to the League of Ireland, 2013.
The end result was satisfactory for both managers but, in front of an official attendance of 2,785, neither man was happy with the sate of the surface. To call it a cabbage patch would be an insult to market gardeners.
That was bad enough, but when it emerged that both sets of players went home in their gear rather than have a cold shower on a freezing day thanks to a fault in the heating system, it descended into farce.
The visitors were far from pleased. "I didn't have a shower," Rovers defender Pat Sullivan complained. "I don't have cold showers. If I'm sitting on a beach somewhere I might have a cold shower, but not when it's about four degrees. I'm covered in muck. I'll have a shower when I go home."
As for the pitch, both managers were in agreement that it was in an unacceptable state and the consensus was it worked against the home side.
"If we're going to try to produce players and a product that people will come to, it has to be better, it really does," Rovers boss Trevor Croly said.
"It has to be better for us all. Otherwise you get poor games. You get great endeavour and character, as both teams showed, but it probably went against Bohemians today because when you've the extra man, you want to move the ball quickly and you can't."
His opposite number, Aaron Callaghan, admitted that his team's home advantage is being wiped out because of the condition of the pitch.
"It's in a bad state. It doesn't suit us," he said. "It's hard to move the ball quick. One of the emphases, particularly when they went a man down, was to try and keep moving the ball through midfield and move it quickly but the pitch just doesn't allow that.
"But it was a great effort from the lads. I'm delighted with the performance."
On the pitch, things got off to a promising start but the game never caught fire.
The crunching tackles flew in from the beginning, with Hoops' midfielder Stephen Rice lucky to escape with just yellow for one effort before Foran's late tackle on Chris Lyons that forced the impressive Bohs striker off with an ankle injury.
Minutes later, the centre-half was dismissed for a similar offence on Karl Moore. Croly, who had no complaints about the red card, withdrew Tommy Stewart and brought defender David Elebert into the fray.
After a series of half-chances before the red card, the onus was now on the Gypsies to create, but Keith Buckley could only find the side-netting before the break, while Elebert blocked from the excellent Luke Byrne after the interval.
The game settled into a pattern in the second half as Rovers withdrew and challenged their bitter rivals to break them down.
They couldn't, Barry Murphy's fine save to deny Moore was the closest they came while they needed brave blocks from Roberto Lopes and Owen Heary to escape at the other end.
Despite finishing with defender McGuinness standing up front after suffering a hamstring injury when they had used all of their subs, Rovers survived comfortably.
It ended with no winners and that summed up another embarrassing chapter in the life of the League of Ireland.
BOHEMIANS – Delany; Pender, Heary, Lopes, Byrne; Buckley, McEvoy, Traynor, Moore (Hanaphy 82); Lyons (Murray 35 (Wilson 73)); Scully.
SHAMROCK ROVERS – Murphy; Sullivan, Foran, McGuinness, Powell; Rice, Chambers (Kilduff 57), Robinson; Sheppard (O'Connor 76), Stewart (Elebert 43), Dennehy.
REF – N Doyle (Dublin)