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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 19 May, 2019
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Corcoran the goalscorer as 9-man Rovers lose yet another derby to Bohs

Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace were both sent-off in the first half of a rollicking clash at Tallaght.

A dejected Trevor Clarke is sent off.
A dejected Trevor Clarke is sent off.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 0

Bohemians 1

Gavin Cooney reports from Tallaght Stadium 

STEPHEN BRADLEY MAY tonight afford himself the thought: Why Always Bohs? 

A fiery, roiling night in Tallaght led to yet another Dublin Derby defeat for the hosts, meaning they are winless in this fixture since May 2017 having suffered a second straight-defeat to their city rivals this season. 

Their hopes of reversing that awful run were sundered in the space of nine wild first-half minutes, in which Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace were sent off and Dinny Corcoran converted the rebound of a saved penalty to score what proved to be the winning goal. 

The Bohs players were given a clear message from their fans ahead of kick-off, with the unfurling of a banner reading ‘This Is It Bohs, This Is War’.

Captain Derek Pender led the charge, twice flying into heavy challenges with the thwack of leather-on-leather audible even among a boisterous crowd. 

Rovers, however, came closest to scoring first. 

A Jack Byrne free-kick was flicked onto the crossbar by Ronan Finn, while minutes later a gorgeous Dylan Watts chip led to James Talbot making a superb block from Aaron McEneff. 

Amid the early heft and the snarl, Byrne was the game’s best player.

Although nominally playing on the left of the attacking Rovers trio behind striker Aaron Greene, he roamed about, dropping deep to weave play together neatly and test the Bohs defence with raking passes behind for Greene. 

Bohs players celebrate after Dinny Corcoran scored his sides opening goal Bohs celebrate Corcoran's winner. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Playing in front of Mick McCarthy and Robbie Keane, he was an endless source of neat flicks and smart passes, constantly demanding the ball from teammates. 

But while Byrne and co. were deft enough to find space around snapping Bohs’ feet, Rovers couldn’t shirk off the bad luck that has chased them through this fixture recently. 

In February Rovers had Aaron Greene sent off in the first-half; here Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace met the same fate within nine minutes of each other. 

A glorious Bohs through ball picked out Danny Grant, and as he was bearing down on goal, he was tugged back by Clarke. Referee Paul McLaughlin gave a free-kick inches from the penalty area, and the related Bohs protests were placated by Clarke’s red card for being judged as the last man. 

Nine minutes later Bohs got the double whammy they had called for. Keith Buckley found space in the box, and his goal-bound shot was adjudged to have hit Grace’s raised arm. Grace, having been booked for an earlier foul on Grant, was given a second yellow.

He dawdled to protest strongly, and The42‘s exhaustive half-time video analysis of the incident suggests he had a point, given the ball seemed to hit his head rather than his arm. 

Dinny Corcoran’s penalty was saved by Alan Mannus, but he flung himself into the rebound to force the ball home. 

Mannus stayed on the ground requiring treatment for a few minutes afterward as bedlam reigned among the Bohs’ end. “Shamrock Rovers, it’s happening again” and “there’s only one Stephen Bradley” wafted from their section; the home fans sang a song critical of John Delaney and the FAI, presumably feeling the need to lash out at someone

Bradley was forced to reorganise into a 4-3-1 formation, with Ronan Finn thrust to right-back. 

Bohs unsurprisingly hogged the ball in the second half, but their returns were largely meagre, with a Grant header and a long-range Mandriou shot the closest they came to doubling the lead.

Rovers rolled with these few punches pretty well, and then Bradley went looking to land one of his own with the introduction of Dan Carr. The lithe, pacy striker offered a threat, and forced Talbot into another smart save within minutes of his introduction. 

He then won a free-kick that left Bohs fans spitting their hearts from their mouths: Roberto Lopes’ goal-bound flick taking an age to finally drop wide of Talbot’s left-hand post. 

That was to be Rovers best chance, with Bohs spurning a series of good opportunites to seal it at the death; substitute Ali Regbha spurning the best chance. 

A couple of late corners stirred the Rovers fans, but they came to naught. 

Yet another derby defeat for Rovers, and damaging beyond its own importance. Rovers will be jaded and depleted for Friday’s trip to Dundalk, as the season takes on the ebb and flow of a proper title race…of which Bohs may yet play a part. 

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Trevor Clarke; Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh; Dylan Watts (Dan Carr 71′), Ronan Finn (Joel Coustrain 83′), Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh 88′); Aaron Greene

Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty, Darragh Leahy; Conor Levingston, Keith Buckley; Kevin Devaney, Danny Mandriou (Ali Reghba 89′), Danny Grant (Keith Ward 66′); Dinny Corcoran 

Referee: Paul McLaughlin 

Attendance: 6414

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Gavin Cooney

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