Colin Hawkins’ 80th-minute bullet header gave Dundalk their first win over Bohemians at Dalymount Park in 18 years as they snatched a smash-and-grab 1-0 victory on Monday night. The home side had dominated possession and chances and the Lilywhites had Peter Cherrie, who made a number of fine saves, and Greg Bolger, who made a magnificent goal-line clearance in the second half, to thank for keeping them level. And the Louth club made Bohs pay dear for their misses as Hawkins connected with Bolger’s free-kick ten minutes from time to head beyond Chris O’Connor.
18 Year Wait
Dundalk had to go back to 1993 for our last wins at Dalymount Park. This effort by Brian Irwin on February 21st 1993 was our last league win at the Phibsboro venue.
Dundalk manager Ian Foster made two changes to the side that defeated Galway United three days earlier as Bolger made his first appearance since 25 March while Hawkins was recalled to the starting XI after a one-game absence. The pair replaced Keith Ward, who dropped to the bench, and Stephen McDonnell, who failed to recover from a knee injury in time. Two-goal hero from Galway, Michael Hector slotted in beside Bolger in the centre of midfield. The first effort on goal came through Killian Brennan’s attempted lob which went narrowly wide of Cherrie’s top corner. On ten minutes, Daniel Kearns’ free-kick to the back post was met by Hector but his header was gathered low by O’Connor. Within seconds, at the other end, ex-Lilywhite Anto Flood burst through but his powerful shot from eight-yards was well pushed away by Dundalk’s No1.
On the half-hour, Cherrie was again called into action when Robert Bayly’s cross found Brennan whose looping header was brilliantly tipped over by the Scottish ‘keeper. And on 35 minutes, the 27-year-old Bellshill native was again at it, diving full length to brilliantly push away Christopher Forrester’s fine 30-yard effort. Dundalk had another let-off moments later when Forrester played in Flood but the referee raised his flag, which looked the wrong call. On 40 minutes, Bohs had another chance when Flood laid the ball back to Forrester on the edge of the box but Cherrie got down low to save. Two minutes from the break, Flood beat Nathan Murphy down the right but the young defender recovered well to block behind. The resulting corner caused problems too before Dundalk cleared. Before the break, the lively Forrester got his shot away again but this time it was well off target.
Within seconds of the restart, Bohs threatened once more when Brennan’s free-kick was flapped at by Cherrie, with the ball falling to Flood on the left but Bolger got back brilliantly to somehow clear his goal-bound effort off the line. On 54 minutes, Ger O’Brien’s cross from the left was met by a diving header from Stephen Traynor at the back post but it hit the side-netting. On the hour, Dean Bennett returned to action for the first time since the visit of Sligo Rovers on 15 April as he replaced Shane Guthrie, with Hector reverting to the centre of defence. Before the midway point of the half, former Dundalk captain Liam Burns had a golden opportunity when he got on the end of Brennan’s delivery but he got it all wrong, tamely heading wide. Hector then denied Flood with a good block after he attempted to break through.
On 71 minutes, Kearns did well at the by-line and won a free, which was delivered by Ross Gaynor to the back where Hawkins’ header from 15-yards was saved by O’Connor. With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Dundalk almost got their noses in front when Kearns’ delightful low cross from the right was met in the six-yard box by Jason Byrne but O’Connor got down well to block. But the visitors did get themselves in front on 80 minutes when Hawkins met Bolger’s free-kick and powered a superb header past O’Connor. And, despite a lot of Bohs pressure late on, that goal was enough to give Dundalk their first win at the Phibsborough venue since March 1993.
BOHEMIAN FC: Chris O’Connor; Owen Heary ©, Liam Burns, Aidan Price (Eoin Fowler 86), Ger O’Brien; Christopher Forrester (Gary Burke 81), Robert Bayly, Mark Rossiter, Killian Brennan; Anto Flood; Stephen Traynor.
Booked: K Brennan (20), R Bayly (80).
Unused Subs: Craig Sexton (GK), Lee Dixon, Daniel Joyce, Ollie Cahill, Kevin Feely.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden ©, Colin Hawkins, Shane Guthrie (Dean Bennett 60), Nathan Murphy; Michael Hector, Greg Bolger; Daniel Kearns, Mark Quigley, Ross Gaynor; Jason Byrne.
Goal: C Hawkins (80).
Booked: R Gaynor (67).
Unused Subs: Paul Murphy (GK), Keith Ward, Mark Griffin, Johnny Breen, Philip Duffy.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).