Bohemians made a big step towards securing European football for 2022 with their third Dublin derby win of the season over Shamrock Rovers.
It was a feisty affair, as is typical of this fixture, with all the goals coming in the first half. Danny Mandroiu equalised against his former club after Lee Grace scored an own goal before Promise Omochere and Rob Cornwall rounded off the scoring before the half time whistle.
It was a first half maybe lacking in quality – not helped by the pitch or the strong wind at Bohemians’ backs – but there was no lack drama with the Gypsies 3-1 up at the break with both managers sent to the stands.
Keith Long’s side had taken the lead on the half hour mark when a touch off Lee Grace took the ball by Leon Pohls who was once again in the Rovers goal.
Dylan Watts had fouled Ali Coote and Tyreke Wilson’s inswinging free kick came off Sean Hoare and then Grace to give the home team the lead.
It was one they held for eight minutes until a Danny Mandroiu back post header off a Watts cross equalised.
His celebrations in front of the Bohemians fans – and there were only Bohs fans in the ground on Friday after the club banned away supporters – earned the ire of the vocal home support, referee Paul McLaughlin and Keith Long.
The two managers came together over the incident with McLaughlin brandishing a red card to both gaffers.
The Hoops had to rejig things with Lee Grace coming off injured as he was replaced by Max Murphy as the armband transferred to Joey O’Brien and the Hoops soon found themselves a goal down once again.
Omochere grabbed Bohs back the lead on 41 minutes with a superb touch and run around the ‘keeper before driving the ball from wide into the top corner of the empty goal.
The Gypsies kept the pressure up and scored a third a minute before the break from a Wilson corner which wasn’t dealt well with by Rovers.
They allowed Rob Cornwall to size up his shot without putting enough pressure on the ball and he rifled it home to give his team a two goal lead at the break.
James Talbot dug his team out five minutes into the second half when the Hoops broke from deep resulting in Mandroiu taking Murphy’s diagonal ball into the box with the Bohs ‘keeper batting out a shot from his former teammate.
He wasn’t as assured with a Watts shot from 35 yards soon after but got enough of his body behind the ball to stop it and was quickly out to gather before Rovers could exploit the mistake.
Rovers had plenty of the ball as Bohs were happy to sit back with their two goal lead and look to hit the Hoops on the break. Keith Ward lined up a shot as the game entered the last half an hour but he couldn’t get on target.
Talbot did well once again coming out to smother a chance when Mandroiu had the ball in the box and he then scrambled across his goal but was thankful that Graham Burke’s shot just went wide of the frame of the Bohs goal.
He was later called into action to save from Watts.
The win was enough to keep Bohemians in fourth place level on points with Derry City going into the final game of the season when the Gypsies travel to Sligo Rovers (with Derry in Dundalk).
With the FAI Cup final to come, Keith Long’s men know if they can stay in that position they will be back in Europe next term.
For the Hoops, they are just looking forward to their final game of the season and the trophy presentation to come after the final whistle in Tallaght Stadium against Drogheda United next Friday night.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Anto Breslin, Rob Cornwall, Ciaran Kelly, Tyreke Wilson; Liam Burt, Keith Ward (Stephen Mallon 80), Conor Levingston, Keith Buckley (c), Ali Coote (Roland Idowu 90); Promise Omochere.
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Sean Grehan, James Finnerty, Gavin O'Brien, Aaron Doran, Jamie Mullins, Cole Kiernan.
Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Joey O'Brien (Dylan Duffy 74), Lee Grace (c) (Max Murphy 38), Sean Hoare; Sean Gannon, Neil Farrugia (Richie Towell 46), Gary O'Neill, Dylan Watts; Graham Burke, Aaron Greene, Daniel Mandroiu.
Subs not used: Alan Mannus, Adam Wells, Chris McCann, Dean McMenamy.
Booked: Joey O'Brien (38) Max Murphy (89).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Attendance: 3,000 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Promise Omochere (Bohemians)