Keith Ward and the Bohs players at the final whistle.
Dublin Derby

'That was one of the best nights in my League of Ireland career'

Bohemians attacking midfielder Keith Ward and manager Keith Long react to a memorable win over Shamrock Rovers.

BOHEMIANS FANS WERE dragged through a rollercoaster of emotions last night before eventually vacating Tallaght Stadium in a state of total euphoria.

Gypsies supporters who made the trip out to Dublin 24 had to watch as their side fell behind to Dan Carr’s excellent finish, with referee Rob Harvey then waving away a legitimate penalty shout for a foul on Danny Grant early in the second half.

But the men from Phibsboro showed huge resilience to battle their way back into the game with an equaliser from Dan Byrne.

Then, as the ninth minute of time added on was about to elapse, 19-year-old full-back Darragh Leahy got onto the end of a ball into the box to ensure all three points.

It’s been a difficult period for the club since their last win over the Hoops during the first round of league fixtures back in February and in that time they recorded one win, three draws and five defeats.

If anything, those results will have made this taste even sweeter.

“To be honest, that was one of the best nights in my League of Ireland career,” Bohs attacking midfielder Keith Ward told The42 afterwards.

“Game-wise, my legs were going and you’re just waiting for the final whistle, so for that to go in was special, as was seeing all the bench come down with us to celebrate.

“I thought we were decent enough first half and we had the better of the ball. I had a great chance to put us 1-0 up and I should have stuck it in the back of the net.

“We showed a lot of character here. Since we beat Rovers the last time, we’ve been disappointing but the performances haven’t been bad.

Hopefully after the scenes tonight, this can kickstart our season again.”

Darragh Leahy celebrates scoring their second goal with fans and his teammates Players and travelling fans in the away end at Tallaght Stadium. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Manager Keith Long was extremely proud of the courage his young side showed against a club with significantly more resources in terms of their budget and financial strength.

Match-winner Leahy, who arrived from Coventry at the start of the season, is only 19, while Grant is a year younger. JJ Lunney isn’t long past his 20th birthday and Eoghan Stokes and Dylan Watts are both 21.

But while producing on the big occasions is all well and good, the Bohemians boss hopes they can show more consistency going forward.

“We gave away a bad goal, because they take the throw-in quick and get the ball into the back post early,” said Long, when asked to sum up the night’s work.

“He [Carr] finished it quite well, to be fair to him. But we’ve played well and throughout the course of the 90 minutes we’ve come up with two goals through Dan Byrne and Darragh Leahy at the death there.

We’re really pleased, it was a good win but I’ve just said to the players as we leave here that we beat Rovers on the opening night of the season and we didn’t really progress from there. So we’ve got to try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve got to make sure that we climb up the table and that tonight’s result doesn’t define us. We have some good players here, you can see that, and in order to win games we have to produce that type of performance every week.”

Darragh Leahy celebrates scoring their second goal Match-winner Darragh Leahy celebrates his late goal. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

As well as revealing that referee Rob Harvey effectively admitted that he had made the wrong call by not awarding a penalty, Long says preparing for Monday’s trip to the Brandywell to face Derry City will be testing given the long list of injuries he’s got.

“It’s a penalty and, to be fair to Rob, he said he probably got it wrong coming off the pitch, which is decent of him,” he added.

We’re worthy winners tonight, I’m really proud of the group and proud of my club that we have come here and won.

“We’ve got some good, technical players and they showed their courage, that they wanted the ball and they didn’t going hiding when we went 1-0 down.

“It was a contrasting game to the one at the start of the season as it was open. There were chances at both ends and we tried to play. 2-1 doesn’t flatter us, Shane Supple makes a really good save at 1-1 and then we go down in the 99th minute to get the winner.

“It’s fantastic for the players and the supporters. Now we’re back in for Monday and we’ve lots of injuries at the moment so it’ll be very tough as it’s a quick turnaround.”

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