League Report: Shamrock Rovers 3 - 1 Bohemians

Shamrock Rovers FC supporters celebrate their side's second goal of the match during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers FC and Bohemian FC at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin on March 29, 2024

Shamrock Rovers FC supporters celebrate their side's second goal of the match during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers FC and Bohemian FC at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin on March 29, 2024 Credit: Thomas Flinkow (ETPhotos)

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On a record-breaking night, Shamrock Rovers were a real hit as they cruised to their fifth successive home win over Bohemians, shifting through the gears in an ominous second-half performance.

Shamrock Rovers looked like they were purring again, and the majority of the 10,094 crowd in Tallaght Stadium - the largest attendance for a league game this century - enjoyed a party atmosphere in the second half as a quickfire double from Johnny Kenny and Darragh Burns after the break took the game away from Bohemians in a flash.

A hard-earned third from substitute Aaron Greene prompted a mass exodus in the away end with 17 minutes to go as the hosts bulldozed a Bohs side lacking leadership, quality, and spirit.

Substitute Declan McDaid scored a consolation as he rolled the ball past Leon Pohls in added time, but it drew more of an ironic cheer from the home support.

Kenny, who is making a healthy habit of scoring poachers' goals following his effort away to Galway before the international break, pounced on a scuffed Dylan Watts effort and fired into the net.

Four minutes later, the game was all but put to bed as Burns finished low and hard into the net after a quick touch and shoot from the penalty spot following Graham Burke’s pullback.

The first half was tight, and Bohemians would have been happy to see it scoreless, but they were outdone by a step up in intensity from the hosts, and in truth, Shamrock Rovers just wanted it more. That was epitomised when Greene outmuscled Aboubakar Keita to turn Darragh Nugent’s pullback into a chance, and he poked the ball home.

In theory, this was billed as a massive occasion for the League of Ireland, which it was, but the 90 minutes that came after the anticipation and hype proved that Rovers are streets ahead of their Dublin rivals, their dominance stretching to eight wins in the last nine at home in this fixture.

Alan Reynolds had less than 48 hours to prepare his troops for a daunting trip to Dublin 22, where they were without a win since 2019, but the first indicators of how they will play under the former Waterford assistant are in a 5-2-3 with an aggressive press.

Certainly not here for a containment job, Bohs roared out of the blocks and tried to catch the Hoops on the hop. Jordan Flores curled inches wide from the edge of the area after the away side pressed a short Rovers kickout and pounced on the loose ball.

The first half of the opening period saw Rovers struggle to get to grips with the intensity of Bohemians and their tough-tackling approach, but once they did, they got a foothold in the game.

The last 20 minutes of the half belonged to the four-in-a-row champions, who fashioned a couple of chances from corners as headers from Pico Lopes - which Kacper Chorązka saved - and Lee Grace flashed wide.

The best chance of the half fell to Darragh Burns, who showed electric pace to get in behind the Bohemian back five and latch onto Dan Cleary’s sweeping ball around the back.

Through one on one with Chorązka, he could only fire straight at the Bohs stopper, who was having a fine game with James Talbot on the bench.

Reynolds’ side fashioned one more moment before the interval. A long punt from Chorązka was won by James Akintunde, the ball broke for Dylan Connolly who squared it to James Clarke, but he couldn’t sort his feet out.

A raucous capacity crowd greeted the sides before kickoff, but by the time referee Rob Harvey sounded the whistle for the interval, they were rather unamused by what they had seen.

Stephen Bradley’s side ended the first half the strongest, and they went up the gears, signalling their intent when Darragh Nugent hurriedly took a throw-in, and it was this increase in intensity that saw Kenny break the deadlock in the 49th minute as he pounced on Watts’ mishit shot to fire past Chorązka.

Five minutes later, Burns took the game away from the Gypsies with a low rocket into the bottom corner from eleven yards.

There was a gulf in class between the two sides, and Burke was afforded pockets of space that he rarely saw in the first period.

He ran the show, creating chances for Kenny and almost scoring for himself on a couple of occasions.

Reynolds’ decision to withdraw Akintunde from the fray with under twenty minutes to go and leave his side without a natural striker up front prompted a smattering of Bohs fans to head for the exits and beat the traffic.

Soon, plenty had the same idea as Greene outmuscled a pitiful effort of a challenge from Keita and poked home from close range.

McDaid’s consolation was the last action of the game, but it barely drew a murmur from the remaining Bohemians support.

The game was in danger of becoming a rout, and Burns clipped the post with a delicate disguised shot to Chorązka’s near post.

Chorązka might have had to pick the ball out of his net three times on the night, but he can be credited with keeping the score down with a couple of excellent saves, the best coming in the last few minutes to deny Richie Towell from seven yards.

Rovers were in cruise control as they got their drive for five back on track.

Shamrock Rovers: Léon-Maurice Pöhls; Darragh Burns (Trevor Clarke 81), Daniel Cleary, Lee Grace, Joshua Honohan, Pico; Darragh Nugent, Gary O'Neill (Markus Poom 57), Dylan Watts (Richard Towell 69); Graham Burke (Conan Noonan 81), Johnny Kenny (Aaron Greene 69).

Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Seán Hoare, Cian Barrett, Cian Dillon.

Booked: Johnny Kenny (18).

Sent off: None.

Bohemians: Kacper Chorazka; Aboubacar Keita (James McManus 76), Patrick Kirk, Michael Lilander, Jevon Mills; James Clarke, Jordan Flores, Adam McDonnell (Daniel Grant 63); Oluwaseun Akintunde (Declan McDaid 70), Dylan Connolly (Brian McManus 63), Dayle Rooney.

Subs not used: James Talbot, Luke Matheson, Cian Byrne, Nickson Okosun, Sten Reinkort.

Booked: Jordan Flores (23), Adam McDonnell (33), Jevon Mills (51).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Robert Harvey.

Attendance: 10,094

extratime.com Player of the Match: Graham Burke