It was honours even between Bohemians and Galway United as League of Ireland action returned to Dalymount Park on Friday night.
Ismahil Akinade had given the Gypsies an early lead when he turned home a Keith Buckley cross on ten minutes. However, a fantastic Ryan Connolly strike on the half-hour mark was enough to ensure the spoils were shared on a rain-drenched Dublin evening.
Within the opening five minutes Galway had the ball in the back of the net when a wicked Connolly ball into the area found the head of the league’s top marksman Vinny Faherty It rebounded off the post and into the net, however, Faherty was denied his ninth of the season as the linesman had waved for a free out.
The game continued at a frantic pace and five minutes later, Bohemians had the deadlock broken. Keith Buckley went on a marvelous run down the right wing, skipping the challenge of Stephen Walsh before driving into the box. He then put the ball on a plate for Akinade inside the six yard area and the big striker smashed it home first time to give the Gypsies the early advantage.
The Tribesmen reacted well to going down and created their first real chance four minutes later. John Sullivan picked up a ball inside the Bohs area before slipping it through to Connolly, however, his powerful effort was well-saved by Dean Delany at his near post.
Ten minutes later, Bohemians almost carved out one of the goals of the season. Mark Quigley swept a lovely ball into the path of Akinade down the right channel. Akinade then hit an inch-perfect cross onto the foot of Quigley who had continued his run. However, his first-time volley grazed the crossbar on its way over.
Galway began to grow more and more into the game as the half progressed and on the half-hour mark they found their equalizer.
After some excellent build-up play, Connolly took the ball on down the middle of the pitch. He set himself up with a decent first-touch before blasting it beyond Delany and into the bottom left corner.
Five minutes later, Galway almost found themselves in front after Colm Horgan received a ball right on the cusp of the box. His shot carried a lot of momentum; however, Delany was level with it and acrobatically pushed it away from the target.
With forty minutes on the clock, Connolly was inches to doubling his and Galway’s advantage. In almost identical circumstances to his opening goal, he found a pocket of space just outside the area. His shot again carried pace, however, it lacked direction and Delany was able to make the save down the middle of his goal to ensure it was honours even heading into the break.
Galway came out of the second-half blocks racing and were almost in front three minutes after the restart when Connolly’s free-kick from close range dipped just over the crossbar.
Three minutes after the hour mark Bohs almost regained their lead when a Dave Mulcahy snapshot at the six-yard line flew just over the target following a goal line clearance by Stephen Folan from a corner ball.
Bohemians began to take the game by the scruff and came close on 70 minutes when a well-hit Dylan Hayes cross was met by the head of Paddy Kavanagh, however, Winn was on hand to push it away from the target.
Keith Long’s side continued to heap the pressure on the Galway backline with numerous balls being pummeled into their box, however, Paul Sinnott and Folan were in inspired form at the heart of the Galway defence and coped well with everything that was thrown their way.
With six minutes remaining, Galway broke up the field for a rare second-half attack. Connolly slipped a ball wide to Devaney whose cross was very close to sneaking under Delany’s bar and it clipped the crossbar on its way over.
With two minutes remaining, Aymen Ben Mohamed showed tremendous guile in cutting inside into the box with an excellent first-touch before pulling it back to Kavanagh. Kavangh tried to bend it into the top right corner but it was too high and went well-above the target.
In the dying embers of the game Bohs continued to push and were inches from grabbing a dramatic late win when Mulcahy got his head on a Ben Mohamed corner, however, Winn made the catch on his line to ensure it was a point apiece come full-time.
The point pushes Galway up to fifth in the Premier Division table on 23 points while Bohemians drop to ninth with 18 points.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes, Dan Byrne, Derek Pender, Eoin Wearen (Derek Prendergast 54), Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley, Dave Mulcahy, Kurtis Byrne (Aymen Ben Mohamed 82), Ismahil Akinade, Mark Quigley (Paddy Kavanagh 63)
Subs not used: Shane Supple, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Stephen Best, , James Kavanagh,
Bookings: Dan Byrne (48), Eoin Wearen (51)
Galway United: Conor Winn, Killian Cantwell, Stephen Folan, Paul Sinnott, Stephen Walsh, Colm Horgan, Alex Byrne, Ryan Connolly, John Sullivan, Kevin Devaney (Gary Shanahan 85), Vinny Faherty (Padraig Cunnigham 74)
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan, Conor Melody, Jesse Devers, Jose Garcia, Cormac Raferty
Bookings: Killian Cantwell (32), Alex Byrne (44), Ryan Connolly (64)
Referee: Robert Harvey
Extratime Man of the Match: Ismahil Akinade (Bohemians)
Love of League of Ireland football began when the once-mighty Sporting Fingal FC came to be in 2008 and started playing their games not too far from where I grew up.<br /><br /> ‘‘A former Sporting Fingal fan? I didn’t realize they had fans in the first place’’ I hear you say but yes indeed, I was one of the tens who filled the upper left tier beneath the press box at Morton Stadium during their reign of terror on the League of Ireland between 2008 and their untimely death just before the 2011 Premier Division season (which of course included that famous FAI Cup win against Sligo Rovers as a First Division club in 2009). <br /><br /> Between the 2011 and 2015 seasons my interest in the League of Ireland dwindled as I never got to many games other than the odd Shels match at Tolka Park. However, I began studying journalism in 2014 and when Gareth O’Reilly got in touch to see if I’d be interested in contributing to Extratime for the 2016 season I jumped at the opportunity and have enjoyed every minute since, rekindling my love for the league through seeing a host of clubs from across both the Premier and First Division from the best seat in the house, the press box. <br /><br />