Bohemians 5-0 Dundalk
Dundalk suffered a night of misery at Dalymount Park on Friday night as Bohemians inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Sean Connor’s side. The scoreline only tells part of the story. The turning point of the evening came after 49 minutes when Paul Keegan went over the ball and smashed his studs on Chris Turner’s knee. There was only one decision to be made. It was a horrible challenge that even the most novice of referees should be able to recognise as a red card offence. The referee was two yards from the incident and his assistant was also level with the play. Mr Buttimer, who fans will remember awarded a ridiculous penalty against Dundalk in Bray last month, looked on with disinterest and took no action. No red card. No yellow card. Not even a free-kick.
The failure to show the red card to Keegan had further knock-on effects that look set to have implications for Dundalk for the next few weeks. Understandably, Turner’s team-mates protested loudly at the lack of action taken. Purely because he was the closest Dundalk player to the incident Harpal Singh was booked for his protests. Inevitably, just three minutes later, Singh picked up a second yellow card for a tackle on Killian Brennan. The challenge was not anything as savage as Keegan’s actions. Indeed, contact was minimal despite Brennan’s scream of pain. Singh now faces a ban for Dundalk’s next match.
The injustice was further compounded after 76 minutes. Keegan, who at this stage should have been showered and sitting in the stand, sent Michael Daly to hospital after another horrible tackle. The ball was there to be won just inside the Dundalk half but Keegan went off the ground and put both his feet onto Daly’s ankle. Another cowardly and disgusting tackle that Mr Buttimer, despite again being just a few yards away from the incident, again took no action. Daly was incredibly fortunate that his ankle was not broken but there are still fears of ligament damage. Dundalk are not likely to have use of his services for some time.
Dundalk were already up against it before a ball was kicked. Liam Burns and Simon Kelly had been ruled out with Thomas Heary on the bench despite still not being 100% fit.
In front of an alarmingly small crowd, Dundalk match Bohs in the possession stakes in the early stages. Ken Oman had the first chance of the game after 9 minutes when he shot over the bar after finding some space following a corner. Bohs slowly took control of the match and Chris Bennion was forced into a great save from Gary Deegan’s 25 yard effort after 17 minutes. Keegan then went close with another shot from outside the box that was deflected just a foot wide of the post.
Dundalk were then dealt a cruel blow after 20 minutes when Dave Rogers pulled up with a hamstring injury to continue this incredibly bad run of luck with injuries for Sean Connor’s men. Thomas Heary was introduced to the fray in his place.
Bohs came close again after 26 minutes after a tremendous shot from the corner of the box by Jason Byrne that went over the bar. However, Bohs were to take the lead just three minutes later and, like much else in the game, there was an element of controversy about the goal. Michael Coburn’s attempt to pass the ball back to Bennion was impeded by a challenge from Gary Deegan that caused the Dundalk defender to under-hit his pass. Jason Byrne picked up the loose ball and squared to Glen Crowe who slotted home with ease.
Tiarnan Mulvenna picked up a knock that resulted in his withdrawal at half-time with Michael Daly introduced into the midfield and Ger Rowe moving forward to partner Darren Mansaram. However, the second half turned into a farce following the circumstances leading up to the sending off of Singh. Dundalk coped admirably when down to ten men with Dundalk keeping two strikers up front even after the sending off. Dundalk came close to equalising after George O’Callaghan found Mansaram in the box and the big striker shot into the side-netting. Crowe then rattled the Dundalk crossbar with a header from Brennan’s free-kick.
Bohs were able to extend their lead after 72 minutes following another bizarre incident. The game had been stopped with Dundalk in possession to allow treatment to a Bohs player. The referee awarded a drop-ball that Dundalk did not contest as they expected the ball to be returned. Not at Bohs evidently. As a result of not contesting the drop-ball Bohs came on the attack. Carey was fouled by Coburn just inside the box and Byrne made no mistake from the spot.
Dundalk went into meltdown following the injury to Michael Daly. Declan O’Brien had been introduced for Ger Rowe meaning that Dundalk had now used all of their substitutes and had to play the remainder of the game with just nine men. Byrne scored again after 81 minutes when he ran on to a long-throw by Anto Murphy with the Dundalk defence guilty of a lack of concentration.
The fourth goal came in the first minute of injury time when Fenn picked out Byrne who rounded Bennion to score. Byrne added his fourth goal following an error by Coburn in the 94th minute. By this stage – Dundalk were out on their feet.
A depressing and costly night. Sean Connor and Joe Miller now face a big test to pick the remaining players of their squad up for the next game at home to Galway United next Friday.
Bohemians: B Murphy; Shelley, Heary, Oman, Powell; Brennan, Deegan (McGuinness, 89), Keegan, Carey (A Murphy 75); Byrne, Crowe (Fenn, 86).
Dundalk: Bennion; Kelly, Coburn, Rogers (Heary, 21), Synnott; Rowe (O’Brien, 55), O’Callaghan, Turner, Singh; Mansaram, Mulvenna (Daly, 46).