Cornwall makes point as Hoops let it slip again
Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 1
This was another night of derby misery for Stephen Bradley's Shamrock Rovers, even if they avoided the pain of a third defeat this season at the hands of their arch rivals.
The sickener for the Hoops is that it raises more questions about their winning mentality when it really matters.
In all three meetings with Bohs this season they have taken the lead. And they haven't succeeded in holding on to it in any of them.
When Ronan Finn blasted them into an 82nd-minute lead at Dalymount to silence the home crowd, they looked set to write a new script.
But in the next passage of play, they failed to defend a routine set-piece and Rob Cornwall nodded in an equaliser.
It means that a Rovers side that had excelled against St Pat's on Tuesday retain a record of just one away win this term.
They have scored just five times in the 10 games they have played on their travels. That doesn't make for pretty reading.
Neither side particularly deserved to win this encounter. As ever, the Phibsborough meeting of Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers was a sell-out.
But it brought together two sides that kicked off the night in the bottom half of the table and they served up a game that showed exactly why that is the case.
Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane and a clutch of Ireland senior players were present and they can perhaps empathise with how football goes out the window when the stakes are especially high.
This was grim fare, a night notable only for some misjudged tackles, until the late drama.
The FAI delegation had already left to beat the traffic by that point.
Ireland squad members Shane Supple and Graham Burke will be on the same side this morning when they link up with the rest of the group ahead of the flight to Paris.
They were treated to an opening quarter that was typical derby stuff, which is a polite way of describing a frantic affair full of errors and devoid of quality.
Rovers had stroked the ball around impressively against the Saints, while Bohemians have forged a reputation for being a side that favours attacking football. But from the outset here, both sides took a low-risk approach that essentially consisted of lumping the ball away as far as possible.
The hosts were especially disappointing in this regard and there was a bit more composure from Rovers with Sean Kavanagh, pressed forward to left-wing, showing glimpses of his quality.
The strong running of lone striker Dan Carr is suited to this fixture and he did break free from the home rearguard to briefly provide goalmouth activity, with the Englishman going down as he attempted to round Supple.
His team-mates cried foul, but the fans behind the goal and the player himself were reasonably subdued and Rob Hennessy waved appeals away.
Bohs' better moments actually arose from breaks on the counter with Dylan Watts eventually coming into the game. But the best chance of the half would fall to the away side and involve the Irish call-ups with Burke collecting the ball inside the box only to be denied by a fine close-range stop from Supple.
Watts was chopped down by ex-Bohs player Roberto Lopes to abruptly end another dart forward and that angered the natives.
They did at least have some good news to cheer at the interval when an Austrian woman proposed to her boyfriend with the help of the pitch announcer. He said yes.
Within eight minutes of the restart, Rovers were looking for a decision from Hennessy when Dan Byrne - who had just gone into the book - was guilty of hacking down Dave McAllister. He escaped a red, and was immediately substituted by Keith Long.
That was the pragmatic move, in keeping with the overall evening, but the game eventually sprung to life in the dying stages.
Watts was actually leading a Bohs break when he chose the wrong option with Keith Ward free on his left. As he protested for a handball, the away side broke and Finn clinically converted a one-on-one opportunity.
He was subbed before the restart with Joey O'Brien brought in as the Tallaght side attempted to close the game out. It proved beyond them, and the same might soon be said for all of their pre-season expectations.
BOHEMIANS - Supple; Buckley, Cornwall, Casey, Morris; Watts, Byrne (Brennan 53); Grant (Gannon 68), Ward, Devaney (Kavanagh 83); Corcoran.
SHAMROCK ROVERS - Chencinski; Boyle, Lopes, Grace, Byrne; Bolger, McAllister; Burke, Finn (O'Brien 84), Kavanagh (Coustrain 74); Carr (Shaw 85).
REF - R Hennessy (Limerick).