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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020
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'There's no better feeling than a 93rd-minute winner against Bohs at Dalymount'

Shamrock Rovers Stephen Bradley couldn’t disguise his delight after his side’s dramatic win over their rivals.

Stephen Bradley celebrates his side's win.
Stephen Bradley celebrates his side's win.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

BY THE END, as the Shamrock Rovers fans weightlessly drifted from Dalymount Park and the Bohs supporters trudged away, the clouds parted, the winds fell and the sun emerged once again. 

Phibsboro had been battered by Storm Dennis for hours before referee Robert Hennessy blew for full-time, with high winds forcing RTÉ to pull the plug on their live coverage an hour before kick-off. Bohs had to get some of their U17 players to anchor the subs bench as they tried to secure it ahead of kick-off, and that was before the game got underway. 

A biblical rain sluiced down around 20 minutes into the game, swamping the pitch. Twice throw-ins slipped through the hands of their taker, and a linesman lost his flag as it blew off its stick. 

But the storm abated minutes after the end, perhaps because it because it came to the conclusion that it couldn’t match the chaos that unfolded beneath it.

Shamrock Rovers won the first derby of the season thanks to an Aaron Greene goal in the 93rd minute, who rifled home from short range after James Talbot parried Aaron McEneff’s shot. 

Talbot injured himself in saving the initial effort, and left the stadium on crutches. Greene’s late, late goal broke Bohs’ admirable resistance, which turned last-ditch and desperate in the closing minutes following the 65th-minute dismissal of Andy Lyons. Twice they had to hack the ball off the line, but ultimately came a minute short of holding out. 

“Delighted obviously, it’s a derby and we’ve won it”, Rovers manager Stephen Bradley told The42 after the game. “I genuinely felt we deserved to win it. I felt we were the better team. If we’d taken our chances in the first half we could have been two up.

“We’d three good chances. Alan [Mannus] made one great save from Keith Ward’s free-kick but other than that I don’t think they had anything.

“I think we controlled the game. I think it was our best performance in a long time.

“We managed the conditions. We knew the pitch was going to be terrible because of the weather. We knew the weather was going to be bad. It was about managing the game and once we did that, imposing our style on it and I thought we did that really well.

“They cleared off the line at the end too, it could have been a lot more than one.

“I don’t know what it was like from the stand but on the pitch when the rain came in as well as the wind it was terrible but I thought we managed it really well. Our technical players worked hard and then on the ball they took over, Jack [Byrne] and Graham [Burke.]”

Bradley agreed that this was a fine way to kick off Rovers’ 2020 season, although stopped short of indulging our talk of this being a statement of intent to champions Dundalk. 

“That’s not for us, that’s for others. We came here, you have to respect Bohs are a really good side, I think they’ve a stronger squad than last year. I think they’ll be up there again. It was about coming here and respecting that and winning the game. Whatever people want to make of it, it was about us coming here and getting the three points.

“It’s great because I felt we deserved it. Had we come away with a point I would have been disappointed because in our overall performance and the chances we created I felt we fully deserved to win the game. There’s no better feeling than 93rd minute winner against Bohs at Dalymount. I’m delighted.” 

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Gavin Cooney

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