Saturday 7 December 2019

Robinson strikes late on to save derby day for Hoops

Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 1

Bohemians' Jack Memery challenges for the ball with Ciaran Kilduff of Shamrock Rovers during their league clash at Dalymount Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Bohemians' Jack Memery challenges for the ball with Ciaran Kilduff of Shamrock Rovers during their league clash at Dalymount Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Bohemians' Roberto Lopes is put under pressure by Ciaran Kilduff of Shamrock Rovers during their league clash at Dalymount Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Bohemians goalkeeper Dean Delany is beaten by Shane Robinson's effort to give Shamrock Rovers their equalising goal in the league clash at Dalymount Park. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

As a duo, they were rarely on the losing side so it was fitting that the first managerial meeting of Owen Heary and Pat Fenlon ended with neither enduring defeat.

In his playing days at Shelbourne and Bohemians, Heary collected five league titles as a leader on the pitch under the stewardship of the new Shamrock Rovers boss. They also won two as Shels team-mates.

Last night, the apprentice was six minutes away from inflicting defeat on the master, but Heary's Bohemians side were undone by casual defending.

Firstly, Roberto Lopes got himself into a bad position and brought down Hoops sub Kieran Marty Waters with the Gypsies defender barely complaining when referee Paul Tuite pointed to the spot - ironically the same piece of turf that was the reason for the postponement of this game from its original date last month.

Dean Kelly's subsequent spot-kick was pushed away by Dean Delany, but Shane Robinson reacted quicker than Bohs bodies to stab home an equaliser.

Rovers could have done with a win to close the gap between themselves and third-placed St Patrick's Athletic, who they meet in Inchicore on Friday.

They are now seven points behind Liam Buckley's side with a game in hand. Still, it was looking like eight as a well-drilled Bohs outfit made life difficult for them here.

This game was scoreless at the break and neither party could have any complaints about that state of affairs.

In keeping with a typical meeting of these rivals, it was high-energy stuff but space was in short supply.

Fenlon made five changes from the side which actually performed reasonably well in Saturday's EA Sports Cup final defeat to Dundalk.

With another big game against the Saints looming over the horizon, he juggled his options with one eye on the hectic run-in where the FAI Cup is providing the main interest for their fans.

Ryan Brennan and Robinson replaced Stephen McPhail and Patrick Cregg in the engine room and Bohs, with the veteran Dave Mulcahy in the heart of their team, were combative from the outset.

Connect

The hosts had a half chance when their lone striker Dinny Corcoran failed to properly connect with an overhead attempt from a Karl Moore corner when he had slipped into space.

Mulcahy threatened before the break with a well-timed run into the box but, otherwise, Heary's charges set out to be disciplined against a visiting side that struggled to find gaps.

While they might have shaded possession, Rovers were kept at arm's length. Ronan Finn was busy in the opening stages without being able to use his creative skills to free Ciaran Kilduff, who was well contained by Aidan Price and Lopes.

The group of experienced League of Ireland players assessing this game as part of their UEFA 'B' Licence might have appreciated the tactical battle, but the paying public wanted goalmouth action after the interval.

They had to wait for almost 20 minutes with right full Derek Pender, who had delighted the locals with a fierce early challenge on former favourite Luke Byrne, charging down the line and delivering a cross that was met by a Mulcahy header and a fine Barry Murphy save.

Buoyed by the success of that mission, Pender marauded again and, this time around, cut inside and burrowed his way into a position where he could bury a thunderbolt past Murphy. It was his first league goal of the campaign.

Rovers were in trouble and immediately Fenlon sent for McPhail in an attempt to bring some control to a midfield where the relentless Mulcahy was assisted by the dogged Keith Buckley.

Bohs did show ambition to go for a second yet they were pressed back as the minutes ticked by and the strength of the visiting subs began to shine.

The frustration for Heary, however, is that his players had restricted Rovers to one clear sight on goal - a Gary McCabe shot - before the clumsy Lopes challenge that eventually led to the alert Robinson restoring parity.

More drama might have followed, with the conclusion finally getting the Phibsborough crowd off their feet, and Murphy was called into action at the death, his fingertips denying a clever flick from Steven Beattie.

Heary's hard-working bunch had less at stake in terms of the table, but they had more reason to be frustrated with how this panned out.

Bohemians: Delany, Pender, Lopes, Price, Memery; Mulcahy, Buckley; Beattie, Kavanagh, Moore; Corcoran.

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy, Madden, McGuinness, Kenna, Byrne; Robinson, Brennan (McPhail 68); McCabe (Kelly 79), Finn, O'Connor (Waters 53); Kilduff.

Referee: P Tuite (Dublin).

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