Report: Ryan McMullen

Hoops held to a draw on Derby Day in Dublin.

In advance of the highly anticipated derby at Dalymount Park, where Rovers would be backed by a sold-out away section of 450 fans, Stephen Bradley opted to make just the one change to his team that overcame Drogheda United on Monday night that saw the Hoops secure their biggest win of the season – with Conan Noonan coming in to the side in place of the injured Richie Towell.

Neil Farrugia, Markus Poom, and Jack Byrne all made a welcome return to the matchday squad, taking their place among the substitutes. Whilst Poom was out for a number of weeks following a knock sustained in the warm up at Tolka Park, both Farrugia and Byrne unfortunately had to experience lengthy spells on the sideline. And their long awaited return to the squad gave the Hoops a huge boost.

The Hoops came flying out of the traps with Johnny Kenny firing an effort over the crossbar within the opening minute.

On 7 minutes Aaron Greene had an opportunity to break the deadlock after getting on the end of a through ball from Darragh Nugent, but the striker saw his effort saved by Polish goalkeeper Kacper Chorazk.

An early knock to Brian McManus meant opposition manager Alan Reynolds had to make an unplanned change, introducing former Rovers Academy player James Clarke into his midfield.

Minutes later, the Hoops were forced into an early change too, when Dylan Watts looked to have picked up a knock, with the returning Markus Poom sprung from the bench.

On 24 minutes the home side would open the scoring against the run of play. From midfield, Dayle Rooney headed the ball forward and into the feet of James Akintunde who had his back to goal, and turned to find Fillip Pizczek who took a touch and found a yard of space to fire high into the roof of the net to give the hosts the lead.

In the aftermath of the goal, Bohs seemed to find their rhythm and had an opportunity to grab a second. 

Dayle Rooney tried to chip Pohls after getting into a good position inside the box on the left hand side, but Bohs’ off-season recruit couldn’t find the target and saw his shot go beyond the far post.

As the clock ticked towards half time, the Hoops would draw level. Greene sent a cross into the area which defender Paddy Kirk slid to intercept – however, he failed to get a strong enough touch on the ball and diverted the ball into the path of Johnny Kenny who made no mistake as he slotted past Chorazka and into the back of the net.

The score remained at 1-1 going into the half-time break – the Hoops certainly started off on top, although the hosts did have their share of the possession, mainly prior to Kenny’s well-took leveller.

There was a lack of clear-cut chances after play resumed. In the 65th minute, Clarke drove forward and made his way through a number of Bohs defenders, finding himself just in-front of the eighteen yard line with the option of Kenny to his left, although he had a go himself, his effort flashed across the face of goal as it made its way across the box before going wide of the right post.

Clarke had another sight on goal shortly after – this time, he received the ball from Nugent and went on to test Chorazka, who pushed his goalbound attempt behind for a corner.

On 80 minutes, Stephen Bradley rang a double change with both Neil Farrugia and Jack Byrne introduced off the bench to make their return from injury, as Rovers looked for a winner.

The pair linked up nicely on the left flank before the ball landed with Greene who fed it into the path of Nugent – the 23-year-olds shot lacked power and fell into the hands of the Polish shot-stopper.

Nugent, who impressed throughout, put in a tireless shift in midfield covering every blade of grass on the Dalymount pitch.

Rovers couldn’t find a winner despite being the dominant side in the second half and were forced to settle for a point at full-time.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Hoops who are back in action on Monday night, when Waterford make the trip to Tallaght Stadium, with kick-off set for the earlier time of 5pm. 

Bohemians: Chorazka, Matheson, Mills, Keita, Kirk, B McManus (Clarke 10’), McDonnell, Flores (McDaid 75’), Akintunde (J McManus 75’), Piszczek (Connolly 67’), Rooney. 

Bohemians unused substitutes: Talbot, Grant, Miller, Byrne, Lilander.

Shamrock Rovers: Pohls, Burns (Kavanagh 85’), Cleary, Lopes ©, Honohan, Clarke (Farrugia 81’), Noonan (Byrne 81’), Watts (Poom 24’), Nugent, Kenny, Greene. 

Shamrock Rovers unused substitutes: Steacy, Barrett, J O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan, Britton. 

Referee: Damien MacGraith