Saturday 14 December 2019

Fenlon showers praise on players as balance of power shifts to Bohs


Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

At 4.50 on Saturday afternoon the pubs around Inchicore erupted into life as the Airtricity League title race swung definitively in Bohemians' favour.

A large number of Bohs fans -- who had earlier watched their team hang on to a one-goal lead at Richmond Park to go top of the table for the first time in 2010 -- stayed in the local area to watch Shamrock Rovers' clash with Sporting Fingal on television.

They got their reward late on, with former Dalymount favourites Gary O'Neill and Glen Crowe downing the Hoops as the events of a remarkable day saw the balance of power shift to the northside with two games to go, after eight days that saw a seven-point swing at the top.


"I put it all down to the players," said Bohs manager Pat Fenlon of his team's resurgence. "We've got great lads in the dressing-room. They've had a hard season both on and off the pitch.

"Everybody knows about the disappointment in Europe, which obviously sticks in the craw a little bit. Then to go to Tallaght and get battered not so long afterwards, that was difficult for everybody in the club, both supporters and players.

"But they've bounced back. And I think they've shown that they care and that they are willing to work as hard as they can for the cause.

"The last two games proved that. I knew that. I didn't need to be told that. So hopefully the supporters have gone away saying that the players have shown real character over the last two games."

Richie Winter's contentious decision to award a 26th-minute penalty when Noel Haverty barrelled into Killian Brennan was the all-important moment. Brennan's effort from the spot was saved but Bohs got out of jail as Raffaele Cretaro (below) hammered home the rebound.

Bohs had chances for a second in the first half, but after the break it was all about protecting their lead and goalkeeper Barry Murphy made a number of heroic saves to deny Sean Stewart as Bohs hung on and Pat's slipped to fourth.

Next week's FAI Ford Cup semi-final against Sligo Rovers breaks the new league leaders' momentum, but Fenlon doesn't mind.

"I'm glad that we're in it. It's great. We're sitting here top of table, having won the Setanta Cup, and we're in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup. Yet, we've had a bad season!"

BOHEMIANS -- Murphy; Rossiter, Shelley, Oman, Powell; Brennan, Cronin, Keegan, McGlynn (Quigley 80); Byrne (Madden 61), Cretaro (Greene 89).

ST PATRICK'S ATH -- Bennion; Pender, Kenna, Haverty, Bermingham; Guy, Mulcahy (O'Brien 82), McAllister, Doyle (Stewart 71); Faherty (O'Connor 61), North.

REF -- R Winter (Wicklow).

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