Pico goal lifts Bohemians to see off Rovers in derby
Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
Bohemians fans will have to wait six months to see their side play another home game but Keith Long's players at least gave those supporters something to smile about during that lonely spell with last night's 1-0 win over Shamrock Rovers.
A headed goal from Roberto 'Pico' Lopes did the damage to a lacklustre Rovers side, Bohs bossing this game from early on, recompense perhaps for two heavy defeats at the hands of Rovers earlier in the season, the Hoops finishing with 10 men on the night when Patrick Cregg was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
In what should have been a high-octane derby, a shot-shy Rovers side gave Gypsies keeper Shane Supple, who this week signed a new deal with the club, a very quiet night.
Due to a tinkered-with fixture list, Bohs will see out the season now with three successive away games and won't be back at Dalymount until March and supporters can only hope that stalwarts like Lopes will agree to stick around for 2017, like Supple has done.
There wasn't a whole lot riding on this game: while Rovers knew that a win would guarantee them a place in the top four, and thus a place in Europe next season because the league's top two are in the Cup final, they were also aware of having three more games to go after this.
For their part, Bohs knew that Europe was beyond them and the best they could aim for was a top-five finish.
But as any fan will tell you, there's no such thing as a meaningless Bohs-Rovers game, as evident in the joy from the home supporters when Lopes put them in front.
It was a simple goal, a corner kick from Lorcan Fitzgerald and a free header from Lopes, his second league goal of the season, as the Rovers defence was asleep.
Rovers were in a sort of slumber for most of that first half, the Hoops struggling to get out of the starting blocks. The defence, changed from a three-back formation to a flat back four recently, found it hard to deal with a series of Bohemian attacks while at the other end, all Rovers had to offer their 900-strong support in a Dalymount crowd of 3,287 was a weak effort from Gary Shaw on 38 minutes.
Keith Buckley, enjoying his seventh season at the club harassed the Rovers midfield and tried his luck at scoring. A lob from Buckley on 31 minutes was just over and two minutes later he chanced another effort from distance.
Rovers had little in the way of an answer to the Bohs dominance, though in fairness to Hoops boss Sami Ristila, he had very few options in terms of changing things: Rovers had only six of the permitted seven subs on the bench, all of them teenagers.
So Ristils stuck with the tried and tested in his starting XI but this was a very lethargic display from the me in green and white.
A bad night got even worse on 65 minutes when Patrick Cregg, the most experienced player in the Rovers side, was booked by ref Paul Tuite for what was deemed a dive, or at least a very soft fall, in the box and as it was Cregg's second yellow card of the night, he had to go.