Bohemian FC 1 Shamrock Rovers 3
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, 69 mins; Andy Lyons 5 mins; Max Murphy (og), 35 mins; Danny Mandroiu, 70 mins
Eight minutes might not seem like too long. That said, when you force top-level footballers to coop up their adrenaline with a delayed kick-off, it is an eternity. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of this derby, the crowd was a factor when flares thrown onto the pitch from the Shamrock Rovers end delayed the start for those eight, long minutes after the players had left the changing rooms.
Bohs fans delighted in seeing one perpetrator frog-marched out of the ground by gardaí, but that was as far as their joy extended as Shamrock Rovers continued their quest to reclaim top spot with what was in the end a comfortable 3-1 win at Dalymount.
The initial delay gave the home faithful plenty of time to tell Danny Mandroiu and Andy Lyons, both formerly of this parish, what they now thought of them. It took just four minutes for Mandroiu to nearly silence them in return, his shot from the edge of the area testing out the palms of James Talbot in the Bohs net. A minute later, Lyons did finished the silencing job after bundling in a Jack Byrne corner via a Mandroiu flick across the six-yard box; the two Bohs old boys aptly combining for the opener.
That particular threatening ball from Byrne may have came from a set-piece, but in open play Bohs gave him far too many opportunities to ask questions with his delivery into the box. Not all found a fellow hooped shirt, but if you give him that many opportunities you will eventually pay.
In the 35th minute that's exactly what happened. Bohs defender Max Murphy got a touch on yet another Byrne cross, wrong-footing Talbot and doubling his old side's lead in the process. Not quite the result Rovers expected from Byrne's creativity, but his threat showed why Stephen Bradley continues to give him free rein in attack.
The sharp deflection was cruel on Talbot who, in the half an hour between the two goals, had done much to keep his side in it. Lyons was once again denied by an outstretched left hand when trying to pick out the bottom corner, while Ronan Finn saw his volley steered behind after Tyreke Wilson inexplicably let the ball drop at the back post.
The little threat Bohs did show came from an aggressive press that forced a handful of Rovers errors in their own half. Ali Coote led the effort admirably, his pilfer leading to their only real chance of the half. Kris Twardek forced Alan Mannus into action when his half-cross, half-shot was palmed away after Coote had played him in.
Drastic measures were taken at the break as Bohs brought on three new faces, Rory Feely, Promise Omochere and Sam Packham, albeit Feely didn't last long as he limped off minutes later. If Feely's impact was cruelly negligible, Omochere almost had the ideal start as his run to the byline and cut-back looked to have teed up Liam Burt, only for Richie Towell to get there first and clear.
Bohs started taking a leaf out of Rovers’ book with diagonal balls into the box and it nearly worked. Burt again was on the end of a cross towards the far post, his effort forcing Mannus into a sharp save.
After a first half of chasing green and white coloured shadows, now it was Bohs dominating possession as pockets of space opened up in front of the Rovers box. The reward finally came on 68 minutes, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe tapping in after Mannus had initially done well to parry a Dawson Devoy volley.
Bohs justifiably felt back in it, for all of 60 seconds. Mandroiu went from provider to scorer, cashing in on a long ball up to him with a clinical control and low shot from the edge of the area.
Omochere looked to have a good penalty shout turned away in the closing stages, but that was as threatening as Bohs looked as Mandroiu’s effort spelled the end of their purple patch and by extension their ability to threaten Mannus.
Rovers' return to the top of the table may have been stalled by Derry's 7-1 demolition of UCD, but barring a 20-minute Bohs improvement the visitors showed how they continue to trend in the right direction after a shaky start to the campaign. Derry's visit to Tallaght on May 13th inches ever closer.
Bohemian FC: James Talbot; Max Murphy (Rory Feely, half-time) (Doherty, 50 mins), Grant Horton (Sam Packham, half-time), Ciarán Kelly, Tyreke Wilson; Kris Twardek (Promise Omochere, half-time), Dawson Devoy, Conor Levingston (Jordan Flores, 81), Liam Burt; Ali Coote, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Seán Hoare, Roberton Lopes, Lee Grace; Ronan Finn (capt) (Seán Gannon, 73), Richie Towell (Aaron Greene, 70), Gary O'Neill, Andy Lyons; Jack Byrne (Chris McCann, 81), Danny Mandroiu, Rory Gaffney (Dylan Watts, 70).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).