Bohemians come from behind to beat Shamrock Rovers
Round-up: Bray frustrate Dundalk as newly-promoted Waterford beat Derry City
Bohemians players celebrate their second goal. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
Bohemians 3 Shamrock Rovers 1
Dan Casey was the unlikely match winner with a headed double as Bohemians came from behind to beat arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers to get their season off to a perfect start at Dalymount Park.
Trailing to Ronan Finn’s first half lead, Bohemians stormed back into the match in the second half with Paddy Kavanagh scoring in between central defender Casey’s brace to give the Phibsborough side a rousing victory.
A raucous atmosphere, despite the limited 3,600 attendance, saw the expected frenetic opening with Rovers’ midfielder Greg Bolger fortunate not to see an early yellow card for thundering into Keith Buckley.
Settling just a little better, Bohemians were the first to threaten 10 minutes in; Keith Ward shooting wide from Dinny Corcoran’s lay-off.
Nine minutes later Corcoran was guilty of failing to make true contact with the ball when picked out totally unmarked at the back post from a Kevin Devaney corner.
Corcoran then gave away a free kick which resulted in Rovers taking a 23rd minute lead.
Bolger’s delivery was headed on by Gary Shaw. Graham Burke’s inventive overhead kick came back off a post, wrong-footing home goalkeeper Shane Supple, leaving Rovers’ skipper Finn with an open goal to volley into.
Despite Bohemians working fitfully to get their game going, Rovers continued to be more effective looking in the final third. Burke’s powerful left foot wasn’t too far off bringing them a second goal from a deep in-swinging cross from the right on 36 minutes.
The home side did finish the half strongly, though loud appeals for a handball, when Lee Grace blocked a drive from Devaney inside the area, went unanswered.
Far better on the resumption, Ward’s trickery wasn’t to far off a riposte for Bohemians four minutes in; the little attackers skipped into space only to arrow his low shot narrowly wide.
Rovers ‘keeper Kevin Horgan was then worked for the first time on 58 minutes, collecting Corcoran’s shot on the turn from Oscar Brennan’s flick on.
The pressure mounting, Bolger bravely blocked a drive from substitute Eoghan Stokes before Bohemians’ were deservedly level on 73 minutes.
Casey out-jumped Grace from Ward’s flighted corner to power a header in off a post.
Bohemians then blitzed Rovers to win convincingly with a late double strike.
Winger Kavanagh raced clear onto Brennan’s header from Supple’s clearance to rifle to the net off his right foot on 81 minutes.
Casey then got his second of the game three minutes later.
Rovers were a shambles defensively as they failed to deal with Ward’s free kick from the right as Casey rose to loop a header to the net over the stranded Horgan.
Dundalk 0 Bray Wanderers 0
Bray Wanderers left Oriel Park with a deserved share of the spoils after frustrating Dundalk on the opening night of the season.
Questions marks were being asked of The Seagulls before a ball was kicked but Dave Mackey’s men were full value for their point. Indeed, they might even have taken all three had Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers not denied Aaron Greene in the dying stages.
Dundalk, who confirmed the loan signing of Sam Byrne from Everton before the game, finished the encounter with six new faces on the pitch and, on this evidence, the Lilywhites will take a bit of time to click into gear.
Stephen Kenny’s side forced a number of corners in the opening stages and Robbie Benson hooked an effort over the top before Dean Jarvis, making his debut after moving from Derry City in the off season, fired just wide with a spectacular volley.
A burst of one-touch passing almost opened the Seagulls up in the 19th minute. Benson timed his run to perfection to meet Duffy’s cross but goalkeeper Aaron Dillon, signed on loan from Blackburn Rovers, showed good positioning to gather.
Mackey’s side grew into it as the half wore on with Aaron Greene’s deflected effort spinning over the top in the 28th minute and they almost pulled in front two minutes later with Rogers having to get down to his left and push Cory Galvin’s effort away to safety.
Dundalk hit back and Dillon made another assured save five minutes before the break, diverting a Benson attempt behind for a corner after Jarvis picked out the midfielder with a superb cross.
Bray continued to do a fine job of containing the hosts in the second half and Kenny reacted by introducing Hungarian midfielder Kristian Adorjan for Dylan Connolly on the hour mark.
The former Liverpool player is not renowned for his aerial ability but Dillon still had to turn a looping header over the top in the 72nd minute as Dundalk tried to force the issue.
It looked like they were starting to build a head of steam when Benson drilled one just past the upright after good approach play by Adorjan and Duffy was rebuffed by the impressive Hugh Douglas.
However, with Byrne waiting to be introduced, Bray almost landed a sucker punch when Dane Massey’s loose pass was seized upon by substitute Daniel Kelly and Rogers had to stand tall and make a fine stop to deny the supporting Aaron Greene.
Waterford 2 Derry City 1
Dean O’Halloran struck Waterford’s winner with 13 minutes left after the newly-promoted side came from behind to beat Derry City.
Although Armin Aganovic put the Candystripes ahead with a 19th minute header, Gavan Holohan’s ferocious drive brought the hosts level two minutes before the break and O’Halloran completed the comeback.
Waterford’s first top-flight game for 3752 days was doubtful right up to 30 minutes before kick-off as an evening deluge left the RSC pitch carrying puddles of surface water.
A successful appeal for volunteers to assist with clearing the rain, coupled with an intermittent dry spell, convinced referee Rob Hennessy to declare the pitch playable much to the delight of 2,502 spectators inside the venue.
Seven new recruits were included in the Deise side by Alan Reynolds, with their marquee capture, Ismahil Akinade, leading the line.
His power and pace earned a free-kick after just four minutes on the edge of the box which Garry Comerford drew a save from Ger Doherty with.
Both sides were struggling to cope with the wet underfoot conditions and it took a set-piece on 19 minutes for the deadlock to be broken by the visitors. Aaron McEneff’s free-kicks played a big part in Derry finishing fourth last season and another of his deliveries from the left caught Waterford out to allow Aganovic nod in a free header at the back post.
The concession sparked a turgid Waterford into life and after blazing over from a good position, Holohan was more clinical two minutes before the interval with a superb equaliser.
When Rory Feely and Bastien Héry combined on the right to find Holohan, he still had work to do. However, a powerful surge past two defenders gave him a sight at goal and his low effort skidded beneath Ger Doherty and into the net.
Waterford, who won the First Division by eight points, continued their recovery after the break and Akinade went close with a header just before he was booked for simulation.
Still, they were the only attacking force in the second half and their endeavours were rewarded with a stellar team goal. Stanley Aborah, the former Ajax midfielder, sprung Derry’s defence wide open by freeing Comerford down the left with a cheeky back-heel and his low cross was forced home from close-range by the onrushing O’Halloran.
A bright start for the Blues on their return to the big time and they’ll head to champions Cork City next Friday full of confidence.