Darryl Geraghty reports from Dalymount Park.
Aaron Greene broke Gypsie hearts with virtually the last kick of the game as 10-man Bohs were seconds from earning a well deserved draw in front of a sell-out crowd to leave Hoops fans singing in the rain!
It was a wild one both on and off the pitch as the fiesty Dublin Derby kicked off the new season for both team, with the home side racking up three yellow cards inside the first 15 mins.
But it was hard to escape the fact the stormy conditions began to take over as the game wore on. And as half time approached the pitch began cut up badly, became heavy on the legs of the players and really disrupted what football both sets of players were trying to play.
To their credit all 22 players tried to put it the back of their mind and get on with the job in hand. The first real chance of the game came from Aaron Greene’s powerful left footed volley that sailed just over James Talbot’s crossbar, as Jack Byrne began to start trying to orchestrate things with a quarter of an hour gone.
Keith Ward went closest for The Gypsies with a stunning 35-yard free kick that Alan Mannus brilliantly tipped around the top corner just before the break in an opening half of little goal mouth action.
The hosts struggled to hold the ball up in the final third and mount any serious pressure, wth the swirling winds affecting both attackers and defenders alike.
The hosts then missed a guilt edged chance to take the lead straight after the restart. The hugely impressive Kris Twardek, was tee’d up unselfishly by skipper Keith Buckley but his powerful strike was inches wide of the far post.
With what seems to be a regular occurance in these fixtures, someone saw red. And just after the hour mark, Bohs found themselves a man down with Andy Lyons receiving his second yellow for a foul on Graham Burke.
The visitors then cranked up the pressure for the remainder of the game with Keith Longs troops Bohs battling bravely, needing some last ditch defending.
Both J.J. Lunney and Anto Breslin reacted quickly to keep the scores level, clearing off the line as the game entered the dying embers.
That was until the 93rd minute when Aaron McEneff fashioned a yard of space in the area. His low effort was spilled by James Talbot, and right to the feet of Aaron Greene, who made no mistake from a few yards out.
On reflection, a draw was probably a fair result overall, but The Gypsie faithful will have been impressed with new signing Twardek causing chaos on the right wing, and J.J. Lunney slotting in to the heart of the midfied as if he were never away.
As for The Hoops, it was a massive three points and signals their intent that they are determined for success. Going away to their fiercest rivals, keep relatively calm throughout and snatch three points when it mattered. That, and holding onto Jack Byrne will be crucial for the long road ahead.
Bohemian FC: James Talbot, Andy Lyons, Anto Breslin, Rob Cornwall, J.J. Lunney, Andre Wright, Keith Ward, Kris Twardek, Keith Buckley (c), James Finnerty, Luke Wade-Slater
Subs: Dan Casey, Danny Mandroiu, Dawson Devoy Glen McCauley, Michael Barker, Ross Tierney, Stephen McGuinness
Shamrock Rovers FC: Alan Mannus, Danny Lafferty, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Ronan Finn (c), Aaron Greene, Aaron McEneff, Gary O’Neill, Graham Burke, Joey O’Brien, Jack Byrne
Subs: Greg Bolger, Dylan Watts, Liam Scales, Dean Williams, Neil Farrugia, Brandon Kavanagh, Leon Pohls