Bohs take Shels scalp in northside Dublin derby

Damien Duff’s team’s lead down to five points as they are defeated at Tolka Park

League of Ireland Premier Division: Shelbourne 1 Bohemians 2

[Jarvis pen 62; Flores pen 37, 40]

Thanks to Jordan Flores, Bohemians are alive and well. Big picture: the Dublin clubs are putting the squeeze on the premier division, surrounding second-placed Derry City in the top five as Shelbourne’s lead at the top shrinks to five points.

Spring was in the Drumcondra air as 4,700 crammed into Tolka Park to see Shels versus Bohs.


The northside derby started like a train but descended into a cagey contest due to how the managers, Damien Duff and Alan Reynolds, cancelled each other out. Just as Reynolds envisaged.

Duff’s men initially threatened to overwhelm the neighbours but Sean Boyd and Liam Burt were unable to capitalise on what felt like a relentless red wave. Bohs survived mainly through the bravery and nous of their centre-halves, Jevon Mills and Aboubacar Keita.

For 35 minutes nobody could say which team was top of the table and which was perilously close to the relegation zone. It was as engrossing as it was tight until Mills launched one towards James Akintunde.

Gavin Molloy had the Bohs striker covered until Conor Kearns rushed from his goal and bumped into Akintunde. Referee Paul McLaughlin had waved off two earlier penalty shouts but he instantly pointed to the spot.

Step up Flores, the skipper made it 1-0 by drilling his penalty into the bottom right corner.

Not three minutes passed before Flores ghosted to the back post to head in Dayle Rooney’s corner.

Two-nil at Tolka, Shels all at sea, Bohs reborn; Reynolds and the visiting dugout congratulated each other for their pre-planned set-piece. Duff turned to stone.

Shels poured forward through Burt only for Declan McDaid to swallow a yellow card by chopping down the former Bohs hero. The Scottish winger was again upended after half-time, this time by Flores, who escaped a booking.

It was all Burt all the time, but he could not land a blow, his snap shot blocked by Keita at full stretch.

Boyd and John Martin, Shels imposing front men, were connected now and Will Jarvis was putting heat on Bohs superb right back Luke Matheson.

As chances came and went, the only voice heard through the silence was Reynolds, cajoling his defenders and rubbing Duff up the wrong way, whenever possible.

It needed another penalty to give the new PA system a spin. Rooney cut down Tyreke Wilson after Martin drew a fine save from Kacper Chorazka.

Step up Jarvis, who lashed the ball down the middle. 2-1, Shels alive, Bohs hanging in.

With Mark Coyle snatching control of midfield, Shelbourne looked likely to fashion an equaliser but the skipper was not long for this game. Coyle limped off not long after the ref missed a handball by Mills in the Bohs box.

Kick-off was bumped to 7.50pm due to a match officials protest that delayed all games by five minutes. The exact reason was not revealed but they have secured a meeting next week with the FAI.

Shelbourne: Kearns; Gannon, Barrett (Farrell 76), Molloy, Wilson; Lunney (Hakiki 90), Coyle (O’Sullivan 66); Burt, Martin (Williams 76), Jarvis; Boyd.

Bohemians: Chorazka; Matheson, Mills, Keita, Kirk; McDonnell, Flores; Rooney, McDonnell (McManus 77), Clarke, McDaid (Connolly 69); Akintunde (Grant 83).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent