ROY Keane and Martin O'Neill headed up the M1 to Oriel Park, mainly to check out for themselves this all-conquering, all-powerful Dundalk side that everyone tells them about.
But the Irish managerial team can only have been impressed with the grit and determination of a Bohemians side who, despite a crippling injury list, conjured up a 2-1 win at Oriel Park.
O'Neill and Keane may hope to uncover a youthful gem in the league, the next James McClean or Shane Long, but it was the oldest player in the league - Bohs veteran Dave Mulcahy - who made the difference on the night, his 73rd minute goal earning Bohs (rated at 10/1 to win this game) the victory which keeps them in the top four and inflicted on Dundalk a first home league defeat in 25 games.
There was a sour taste to the night for Bohs however, as teenage defender Stephen Best was stretchered off just 18 minutes into the game with a suspected broken leg, a cruel blow for a player who was away on international duty with the Irish U18s earlier this week and who had hoped to make an impression on those watching.
Even before they had kicked a ball, Bohs were up against it, due to a lengthy injury list which saw Keith Long deprived of senior players like Derek Pender, Paddy Kavanagh, Anto Murphy and Dean Kelly, and that injury list worsened early in the first half when Best's game ended.
But Long's side accepted the hand they were dealt and took a shock lead against the champions in the second minute, only the second goal conceded at home by Dundalk this season.
Debutant Ismahil Akinade powered through the defence to create space for Adam Evans, and a powerful shot from the ex-Burnley player struck the crossbar, rebounded on the back of Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers, and crept over the line, the stadium announcer instantly declaring it an own goal.
The Gypsies' lead lasted only eight minutes as a powerful header from Dane Massey, from a Daryl Horgan corner kick, gave keeper Dean Delany no chance.
Dundalk too control after that but despite all their possession they were unable to get past Delany again, Delaney saving well from a David McMillan header on 13 minutes and on 32 minutes, a Horgan effort was blocked by team-mate Richie Towell.
And they paid for their slackness later on as Mulcahy nicked the winner on 73 minutes, the Kilkenny native left unmarked in the box to head home a Lorcan Fitzgerald free kick.
Bohs could even had had a third as they were awarded a penalty three minutes from time, defender Paddy Barrett penalised with a spot kick and red card for a foul on Akinade, but Rogers saved Keelan Dillon's penalty.
With Cork City now just three points behind leaders Dundalk, were in for an interesting few weeks.
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