Home rule at last for Bohs
FOR ALMOST a year, Bohemians have teased, tested and tricked their supporters by denying them the gift of even one home win in the league.
Those fans would have accepted a scrappy defeat of a relegation-threatened side, so for Owen Heary's outfit to end that winless run against the joint league leaders who were, until last night, the most in-form team in the country, was almost unthinkable, Bohs 2-0 winners against Cork City at Dalymount Park last night with goals from Steven Beattie and Eoin Wearen, the first home league win since last September.
However the victory was tinged with sadness as the 1,350 attendance witnessed the upsetting sight of Cork defender Brian Lenihan leaving the ground on a stretcher in a clear state of distress, having suffered a suspected neck injury in a fall 24 minutes into the second half, with the game delayed for 15 minutes to allow for treatment on the U21 cap who was taken to the nearby Mater Hospital.
Cork came to Dublin with a record that was the envy of every side in the league, City having dropped just two points from their previous eight games.
The Gypsies' own form had been decent, a tidy unbeaten five-game unbeaten run, but few predicted what would unfold as Bohs were dominant from the off and played Cork off the park for large parts of the game.
An early scare, when Dean Delany had to save Billy Dennehy's free kick in the second minute, didn't unsettle the nerves and Bohs took the lead after just seven minutes, Steven Beattie bravely getting his head to Anto Murphy's cross to beat Mark McNulty.
Beattie picked up an injury in the process but was fit to carry on, the Dubliner delighted to have scored his first league goal for the club.
The travelling support hoped for a response from John Caulfield's men but Cork went into their shell as Bohs grew in confidence.
The crossbar denied Kevin Devaney on 24 minutes from yet another cross by the veteran Anto Murphy, while Darren Dennehy had to work hard to cut out Devaney on the half-hour mark.
Roberto Lopes, normally a centre half but who has been pressed into a midfield role of late, used his head to set up Dinny Corcoran on 38 minutes, while through all that the only response from a disappointing Cork side was a Cillian Morrison chance three minutes before half time.
With their main title rivals Dundalk not in action until Sunday, this was a great chance for City to build up a lead - albeit temporary - at the top but despite urgings in the second half, they struggled to get into the game against a Bohs side driven by veteran defender Anto Murphy.
Keeper Delany had save at the feet of John O'Flynn on 56 minutes and early in the second half, City boss Caulfield had shown his hand by throwing on all three subs, with Liam Kearney, Josh O'Shea and Danny Morrissey all on.
That proved costly for Cork as they had to play out the last 20 minutes with ten men when Lenihan suffered his injury, his team-mates clearly concerned for his health.
After that Bohs managed to score a second goal on 71 minutes, Eoin Wearen on target for the third game in a row when he finished off Jason Byrne's cross from close range, and Derek Pender almost added a third only to be denied by Mark McNulty's save and Jason Byrne fired wide in injury time.