Dogged draw opens door to Europa return for Bohemians
St Patrick's Athletic 0 Bohemians 0
The final part of their journey was anything but memorable, but Bohemians will still celebrate the fact that their long exile from European football is over.
A point was needed from their final two games of the season and while a 0-0 draw away to St Patrick's Athletic last night came with more graft than craft, the point was indeed made, that the Gypsies are back on the European stage for the first time since 2012.
It was fortunate for Keith Long's side that a draw would do as they never came close to winning this game, Pat's dominant for long spells but let down by their awful record in front of goal: only UCD, officially relegated last night after a home loss to Shamrock Rovers, have scored fewer goals this season.
As he plans to rebuild for next season, Pat's manager Stephen O'Donnell will be encouraged by what he saw from his side last night, in particular the form of Chris Forrester, a player who has not made the required impact this season but was the best player on the park last night, though it's also a concern for O'Donnell that his side are now on a run of four games without a goal.
The Bohs supporters, expecting to celebrate the result which would end their long exile from Europe, brought beach balls to pass around, but there wasn't too much for them to get excited about.
The away side had started well in a flurry of activity but Pat's gained control, a chance on 20 minutes when they were awarded a free-kick for James Finnerty's foul on Ronan Hale, but James Talbot dealt with Chris Forrester's effort and three minutes before half-time, a superb move and shot from Forrester forced a fingertip save from Talbot.
Keith Long's side had to play the final half-hour with 10 men, defender James Finnerty shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on Gary Shaw.
The same pattern followed, possession and chances for Pat's but no final product, Cian Coleman coming close on 71 minutes while Bohs captain Derek Pender cleared off the line in injury time to block a shot from sub Rhys McCabe and earn that vital draw.
Pat's - B Clarke; D Clarke, Webster (McAuley 71), Kelly (Drennan 83), Bermingham; Desmond, Coleman (McCabe 86); Markey, Forrester, Hale; Shaw.
Bohs - Talbot; Pender, Barry, Finnerty, Kirk; Allardice, Tierney (Buckley 63); Wade-Slater (Lyons 86), Ward (Barker 63), Grant; Wright.
Ref - Neil Doyle.