Bohemians announced themselves as potential Premier Division title challengers, and also did some serious damage to Dundalk’s hopes of retaining their title, as football returned to Dalymount Park after a five-month absence.
irst half goals from Danny Grant and Keith Buckley, with just one response from Dundalk in the form of a Michael Duffy goal, earned Keith Long’s side a 2-1 win, an outcome which puts Bohs into second place in the league table, just three points behind Shamrock Rovers.
But for Dundalk, a return of one point from two games since the league’s restart is a real worry, Rovers capable of going eight points clear if they can win in Derry on Sunday.
Grant and Buckley got the goals for the home side but the plaudits must go to Canadian import Kris Twardek, who had a hand in both goals and was a constant threat to the champions and full back Sean Gannon in particular, the impressive Twardek unfortunate not to nab a goal for himself.
Already behind Rovers in the standings ahead of this game, the pressure was on Dundalk and yet they were slow to start, 2-0 down after just 15 minutes. On seven minutes Twardek did well out wide, fed the ball to left back Anto Breslin and his cross was met in the box by a header from Danny Grant which beat Gary Rogers in the Dundalk goal.
In the 15th minute Bohs had doubled that lead. More good work by Twardek saw him beat Sean Gannon and whip in a cross, Keith Ward laid the ball off to captain Keith Buckley and he struck home his first goal of the season. Twardek popped up again on 31 minutes, another fine pass, this time for JJ Lunney who saw his shot deflected out for a corner.
Dundalk boss Vinny Perth made a change, ex-Bohs man Daniel Kelly sacrificed to bring on John Mountney, Kelly showing his dissatisfaction with the decision by kicking at a chair and then throwing away his water bottle as he made his way to the dressing room.
Mountney made Dundalk look a bit more composed, though, and they got back into the game three minutes before the break, with a goal from Michael Duffy. Stefan Colovic was the creator, a fine cross from the Serbian headed home by Duffy, though Bohs threatened again before the half was over, Twardek again with a cross met by a header from Andre Wright, forcing a save from Rogers.
Dundalk looked strong after the restart, a double save from Bohs keeper Stephen McGuinness to deny Pat Hoban and Mountney, but Bohs remained a constant threat. Grant was unlucky not to hit the target with a shot on 58 minutes, Ward the provider, while Rogers saved to deny Twardek in the 61st minute.
Dundalk pressed hard for a second goal but with Dan Casey standing firm in the home side’s defence they had no way through to McGuinness’s goal, the champions now with one win in four games and a worrying gap at the top of the table.
Bohemians: McGuiness; Lyons, Cornwall, Casey, Breslin; Lunney, Buckley; Grant, Ward (Devoy 71), Twardek; Wright.
Dundalk: Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Boyle, Massey (Oduwa 86); Shields, Flores (Patching 65); Kelly (Mountney 33), Colovic, Duffy; Hoban.
Referee: Neil Doyle