Bohemians 1 Shelbourne 1
Ali Coote cancelled out Jack Moylan’s equally stylish finish to ensure the north Dublin derby ended honours even at Dalymount Park.
The draw favours Damien Duff’s Shelbourne as St Patrick’s Athletic were beaten by a spectacular volley from Drogheda United’s Dayle Rooney across town at Richmond Park.
It means that St Pat’s sit third in the Premier Division, holding on to the last Europa Conference League spot, with just three points to spare on Shels and five matches remaining.
Bohemians are still in touch but manager Declan Devine will be eyeing up European qualification via the FAI Cup. They travel to Galway on October 7th for the semi-final.
Duff is under strict instructions to secure European football for next year. Acun Ilicali, the club’s Turkish owner, said as much back in June. Once that box is ticked, Ilicali wants to end an 18-year wait for the league title.
“With Damien, it won’t take long,” said the media magnate. “Let me put all the stress on his shoulders.”
Serious ambitions, Shels are close to the first aim but it won’t come easy. They must still travel to Derry City and Shamrock Rovers.
Moylan is Lincoln City bound in December but the 22-year-old will leave some lasting memories behind. A goal at Dalymount Park to almost sink the neighbours will not be forgotten. The sumptuous through ball by Harry Wood should also linger in the mind.
“In your head, in your head, Duffer, Duffer, Duffer,” roared 450 Shels fans among the sold out 4,390 attendance. The Cranberries song Zombie was adopted by the Drumcondra faithful long before the rugby crowd sang it in Paris.
Ilicali can take some credit for the goal as Wood and fellow Hull City loanee Will Jarvis kept the Bohs’ right flank pinned down for an hour. Coote had to abandon the usual plan of dashing ahead of Keith Buckley as this pair of English 20-year-olds showed their quality. Hull, of course, is the main team in the billionaire’s multi-club portfolio.
Shelbourne will have regrets as they could have led 3-0 at the turn. James Talbot scrambled to avoid an early gift for Moylan before Bohs’ goalkeeper was at full stretch to deny Jonathan Lunney’s 17th-minute effort.
With Bohs struggling to get a foothold in midfield, Jonathan Afolabi was never going to be his usual unplayable self. He kept Shane Griffin and Luke Byrne honest but the balls into his chest were heavy and the support runners were slower than usual.
And still, the Shelbourne goal came against the run of play. When Danny Grant made poor contact with James McManus’s cross, the visitors embarked on a 90-metre counterattack, stringing four passes out of defence before Wood’s excellent assist saw Moylan cut inside Krystian Nowak to score his 10th of the campaign.
Coote responded before half-time with a perfect free-kick into the area, after being cut down by Griffin, but Nowak’s bullet header missed the target.
Jordan Flores appeared to snatch an equaliser in the 57th minute but Afolabi made enough contact with Shels goalkeeper Conor Kearns for referee Robert Harvey to confidently weather the Jodi stand’s frustration.
Bohs needed something special from Coote to salvage a point and he let fly from 25 yards in the 74th minute to make it 1-1. However, all the Scottish winger will be thinking about on Tuesday morning is the injury-time chance he curled into Kearns’s stomach.
BOHEMIANS: Talbot; Buckley, Nowak, Radkowski, Flores; Coote, Clarke (O’Sullivan, 90), McManus (Akintunde, 75), McDonnell (Kukulowicz, h/t), Grant (McDaid, 67); Afolabi.
SHELBOURNE: Kearns; Wood (Barrett, 70), Byrne, Griffin (Quinn, 70), Lunney, Wilson; Caffrey (McManus, 70), Jarvis (Arubi, 90), Molloy, Molyan; Farrell (Hakiki, 62).
Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin).