Bohemians 1; Carrick United 1
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Bohemians and Carrick United played out an entertaining game on Saturday night last in Ben Wadding Park. Both clubs remained in the title chase for a lengthy period last season and on this outing both could be in the running once again this time around.
Carrick had the advantage of a game the previous week in the FAI Senior Cup and they took an early lead but Bohemians to their credit plugged away and eventually won a hard fought game thanks to a delightful Alan Quinlan goal. The heavy rain and poor underfoot conditions made life difficult for both sets of players so great credit has to go to both teams for serving up good fare on a dreadful wet night.
Bohemians, under the management of Clem Fanning, found themselves a goal behind on eight minutes when Ian Cleary was fouled 20-yards from goal by David Whittle and the resulting free kick from Adam McSharry beat Geoff Kelly at his near post after the keeper had got his two hands to the ball.
Whittle could have levelled the tie on 16 minutes when the central defender got his head on the end of a left-wing Alan Quinlan corner kick at the back post but his effort never troubled Adrian Walsh as the ball went harmlessly wide of the upright.
The home side should have went two down on 21 minutes when McSharry got free down the left before sending a dangerous ball into the area and somehow from close range, Barry Murphy blazed over the bar when it looked easier to score.
Carrick looked the better balanced side during the opening 45 minutes and they started the second half brightly with Stephen Hahessy testing keeper Kelly with a long range left-footed effort five minutes into the half and shortly afterwards, Ian Cleary had a decent effort saved by Geoff Kelly.
After failing to cause any real problems for the visitors, Bohemians were back on level terms in brilliant fashion on 62 minutes when the impressive Brian Nolan, who looked comfortable out on the right, turned provider for Alan Quinlan.
The centre forward turned superbly in the area before bringing the ball onto his left-foot and he gave the advancing Adrian Walsh little chance at all with a magnificent finish from 16 yards at an angle and it was a classy goal from Quinlan.
Stephen Hahessy and the majority of the crowd thought that he had regained the lead for the Coolnamuck outfit on 71 minutes when he got on the end of a Brian Barry cross but his thunderous left-footed strike flashed inches wide.
McSharry then saw a cracking 40-yard free kick go over the bar on 79 minutes and when Anthony Power got the better of Leo Jacques out on the left less than three minutes later, the resulting right-footed shot was just off target.
Brian Nolan came to his side’s rescue five minutes from time when the Irish International did well to clear an effort from Alan Ryan before Adam McSharry fired over the bar after a Gerald Walsh pass and in the final minutes, Glen O’Neill could have won it for the home side.
He took advantage of a rare mistake from Anthony O’Donnell before he saw his stunning right-footed curling effort just sail wide when it looked destine for the top corner and in injury time, Alan Ryan fired straight into the hands of Geoff Kelly from close range.
Bohemians: Geoff Kelly, Leo Jacques, Andrew Denn, David Whittle, Stephen Walsh, Gary Keane, Robbie O’Keeffe, Matthew Billingham, Brian Nolan, Alan Quinlan and Glen O’Neill
Carrick United: Adrian Walsh, James Walsh, Brian Barry, Anthony O’Donnell, John Walsh, Alan Redmond (Anthony Power, 62 mins), Adam McSharry, Alan Ryan, Barry Murphy (Gerald Walsh, 84), Ian Cleary and Stephen Hahessy (Glen Keane, 74)
Referee: John Purcell.