Tuesday 19 June 2018

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Leahy's 99th-minute winner stuns Hoops

Shamrock Rvs 1 Bohemians 2

Darragh Leahy, centre, celebrates with team-mates after scoring the winner for Bohemians against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last night. Photo: Sportsfile
Darragh Leahy, centre, celebrates with team-mates after scoring the winner for Bohemians against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last night. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The pre-match taunt from Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley that last night's derby at Tallaght Stadium was "their Cup final" for opponents Bohemians came back to haunt the Hoops boss as, for the second time this season, they threw away an early lead to finish on the end of a very bitter defeat.

Boos rang out from sections of the home support at the end of this thrilling Dublin derby - won with a goal nine minutes into added time by teenage defender Darragh Leahy - with the game having been delayed due to confrontation between supporters in the main stand after Bohs had scored a 70th-minute equaliser.

Bohemians fans celebrate after Dan Byrne’s equaliser. Darragh Leahy later netted a 99th minute winner to hand the Gypsies a 2-1 victory against their great rivals. Photo: Sportsfile
Bohemians fans celebrate after Dan Byrne’s equaliser. Darragh Leahy later netted a 99th minute winner to hand the Gypsies a 2-1 victory against their great rivals. Photo: Sportsfile

Rovers have now lost five times in 11 games this season but with two of those losses coming against Bohs, in games where Bradley's men were in the lead and in control, will truly rub it in.

A pre-match glance at the team sheet would have filled some Bohs fans with worry; the side missing senior players including Derek Pender, Oscar Brennan and Dan Casey.

The resulting team had a youthful look, five of their starting XI aged 21 or under, with teenager Dan Grant given his first taste of a Dublin derby in only his second league start.

And yet, up until Carr fired Rovers in front. The away side had the better of the chances, creating four decent efforts and two vital saves from keeper Kevin Horgan, a man under great scrutiny.

Shamrock Rovers Kevin Horgan makes a save. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers Kevin Horgan makes a save. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Bangor Celtic man Grant could have had the lead goal as early as the fifth minute as he picked up a loose ball from Brandon Miele, sped past Ally Gilchrist and advanced on goal but his finish let him down and the effort was off target.

Horgan pulled off a fine save to deny Keith Ward on 13 minutes and Horgan saved again on 26 minutes, blocking a near-certain goal from JJ Lunney - with the follow-u p shot from Ward going wide.

Within a minute Rovers made sure the away side paid for those misses. Graham Burke has been one of Rovers' key attacking players and his cross set up the chance for Carr who calmly finished from close range as he got between markers Dan Byrne and Darragh Leahy.

Two minutes of the second half had gone when Bohs should have had a penalty, as TV replays showed that Luke Byrne's challenge on Dan Grant in the box merited one but Rob Harvey didn't see the tackle and ignored the away side's protests.

Shamrock Rovers' Luke Byrne and Bohemians' Danny Grant rise for the ball. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers' Luke Byrne and Bohemians' Danny Grant rise for the ball. Photo: Sportsfile

The Gypsies kept their cool and stayed in the game - a Dylan Watts cross setting up a header for Ward on 53 minutes while a cross by the increasingly-impressive left-back Darragh Leahy was just caught by Horgan in the 63rd minute.

And, on 70 minutes, the Gypsies had their reward - Byrne with a superb finish, on the volley, from a well-struck Watts cross.

The corner flag was a casualty of the goal celebrations and there was also a delay, gardai called in to separate fans in the main stand after a small group of Bohs supporters got into the section for home supporters.

We still had 20 minutes to play and the rest of the game was just as enthralling - Horgan saving from sub Dinny Corcoran on 77 minutes while at the other end, Gary Shaw went close.

Bohs keeper Shane Supple came up with a stunning save on 87 minutes, keeping out a header from Shaw, and by this stage, Rovers looked more likely to score.

Shamrock Rovers' Ronan Finn keeps the ball ahead of Bohemians' Keith Ward. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers' Ronan Finn keeps the ball ahead of Bohemians' Keith Ward. Photo: Sportsfile

But deep into added time, a resilient Bohs side came back. Watts fired in a deep cross which the Rovers defence failed to clear and St Kevin's Boys product Leahy fired in a stunning shot which beat Horgan, and sent the away support into raptures.

Rovers - Horgan; Boyle, Gilchrist, Grace, Byrne; Kavanagh, Bolger, Finn, Miele (Coustrain, 54); Burke; Carr (Shaw, 66).

Bohemians - Supple; Buckley, Cornwall, Morris, Leahy; Byrne (Gannon, 81); Grant, Watts, Lunney (Corcoran, 61), Ward; Stokes (Moore, 87).

Ref - Rob Harvey

Irish Independent

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