Bohemians make their 11th title official
Bohemians 1 Bray Wanderers 1:BOHEMIANS WERE officially crowned League of Ireland champions for the 11th time in the club’s proud, 119-year history after fighting out a draw with bottom club Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last night.
There were celebrations at the final whistle from the huge Bohemians contingent as skipper Owen Heary stepped forward to receive the Premier Division trophy.
And the cheers were even louder for manager Pat Fenlon, who has now made it a remarkable five titles as a manger and three as a player.
Bohemians go into next season’s Champions’ League – four points ahead of second-placed Shamrock Rovers.
Before their biggest crowd of the season it was no surprise Bray boss Eddie Gormley chose to select an understrength side against the team who last night claimed their first back-to-back league title.
Just hours before the game the home side were informed that Gormley’s bottom-of-the-table club had to be on stand-by for a possible promotion/relegation play-off against Drogheda United on Tuesday.
Inevitably, the game was an anti-climax, although Conor Powell and Joseph Ndo had long-range efforts for the visitors wide of the target in the early stages.
Bray did have a chance to break the deadlock on 31 minutes when defender Brian Shelley miscued a clearance to allow striker Paul Byrne to get in an effort blocked by goalkeeper Brian Murphy.
The second-half pattern continued with both teams seemingly happy to play out for a draw. That did not stop a minority of Bohemians supporters causing crowd trouble midway through the half when they threw seats on to the pitch. Order was restored after five minutes.
Bohemians took the lead on 69 minutes when a misdirected header by goalkeeper Brian Kane outside his box fell kindly for former Seagulls striker Jason Byrne to hook home his shot into the unguarded goal from 20 yards.
But Bray were level on 74 minutes when Mexican defender Alejandro Reyes slotted home from the edge of the box after Dane Massey had headed back a corner from Gareth Coughlan on the left.
BRAY WANDERERS: Kane; Pender, Reyes, Mulcahy, Cronin (Knight 86); O’Neill, Tuohy, Brennan, Massey; P Byrne (Mulroy 76), Coughlan.
BOHEMIANS: B Murphy; Cronin, Deegan, Shelley (Heary 86), Powell; A Murphy, Keegan, Ndo, Brennan (Rossiter 86); J Byrne, Madden (Crowe 73).
Referee: Neal Doyle (Dublin).