Bohemians 3-1 DundalkFriday, 29 October 2010 22:59
Bohemians' dream of three league titles in succession ended at Dalymount Park following a night of high drama in the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Bohs needed a win to have any hope of catching Shamrock Rovers and goals from Paddy Madden, Aaron Greene along with Jason Byrne's penalty gave them the points, with Fahrudin Kuduzovic replying for Dundalk.
But Rovers' point in Bray was enough to secure the title on goal difference and Bohemians must settle for second place and Europa League football as their reward for the 2010 league season.
It was a sombre enough mood around Dalymount Park before kick off with Bohs fans discussing amongst them selves the possible set up that the club will operate under next year.
Various leading players have been linked with other clubs, while there are fears that the entire coaching team will be let go following rumours that spread like wildfire in midweek.
No such trouble for Dundalk however, with the Co Louth side confirming earlier in the day that Peter Cherrie, Simon Madden, Dean Bennett and Stephen Maher will be at Oriel Park for the 2011 season. Wayne Hatswell, Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor had already put pen to paper.
Goalkeeper Cherrie, Dundalk's player of the year, showed his worth three minutes in when he made a vital block in a one-on-one with Paddy Madden and then saved Killian Brennan's free kick on six minutes.
Cherrie had his cross bar to thank a minute after that when Brennan had beaten him with an absolutely cracking long range effort.
Brennan was involved again when Bohs took the lead on 12 minutes. His ball in was knocked on by Gareth McGlynn, took a touch off a Dundalk body and with the visiting defence failing to clear, Madden was allowed enough space get on the ball and smash a shot past Cherrie at the Shopping Centre end goal.
Bohs keeper Barry Murphy saved well from Dean Bennett on 16 minutes and Bohs immediately went on the offensive. Madden got on the ball at the tail end of the move but inexplicably hammered his shot wide.
A tremendous roar then developed in the packed Jodi stand on 20 minutes as news came through that Bray had taken the lead against Shamrock Rovers.
Another came on the half hour as news filtered through that the ball was again in the Rovers net out in Bray. However it soon quietened down as it became clear that the offside flag had ruled that one out.
The action continued on the pitch and Brennan took a free for Bohs from a good position about 25 yards out on 36 minutes but put too much in it and sent the ball high and off target.
It's not often you here Dundalk fans cheering a Shamrock Rovers goal but that's what happened on 41 minutes when the visiting fans in the Des Kelly Carpets Stand heard that Gary Twigg had equalised for the Tallaght side.
Bohs could have had a second before the break but when Paul Keegan's corner was swung in Jason Byrne couldn't get his header on target.
Raf Cretaro wasted a chance for Bohs on 50 minutes when he shot way off target from the left after Dundalk had repelled Madden's initial effort. By then Rovers were in the driving seat having increased their lead in Bray. Both sets of fans in Dalymount clearly knew this, and probably the Bohs players as well.
Dundalk were enjoying a good spell at this stage of the game and if anything, they looked the more likely of the two sides to score next. And that's exactly what happened on 66 minutes when Madden's cross was headed in by Kuduzovic.
The mood of the Bohs fans was lifted somewhat with the news that Bray were now level again with Rovers but Bohs knew they still needed both themselves and Bray to score again.
Byrne had a chance for Bohs on 78 when he got on the end of Greene's cross but from the edge of the six-yard box Byrne somehow contrived to blast the ball high and wide.
Owen Heary kept Bohs alive on 83 when he cleared off the line from Daniel Kearns while Cherrie saved from Paul Keegan after Brennan's corner a minute later.
A late flurry saw Greene turn in Madden's cross on 90 minutes, after Madden had made an astonishing run down the right wing, to put Bohs ahead before Byrne netted the third from the penalty spot in the second minute of stoppage time.
In the end though it wasn't enough as Rovers' point in Co Wicklow was enough to secure the title on goal difference.
The Bohs team stayed long after the final whistle to applaud their fans with some of them, including striker Byrne, in tears as they took the acclaim following a night of so many contrasting emotions.
Bohemians: Murphy; Heary, Powell, Shelley, Oman; McGlynn, Brennan, Keegan, Cretaro (Greene 65); P Madden, Byrne.
Dundalk: Cherrie, Hatswell, G Breen, Burns, S Madden; Miller, Kearns, Bennett; Maher (Lennon 71); Tipton (J Breen 90), Kuduzovic.
Referee: D Hanney.