With an Ireland U-21 squad announcement on the way next week, Daniel Mandroiu picked the right time to impress the onlooking Stephen Kenny by digging his Bohemians side out of a hole and out of their losing streak with a stunning goal.
The form which had put Bohs within sight of the top of the league table had vanished in recent weeks, and given a 1-0 deficit and then a missed penalty away to St Patrick’s Athletic, it looked like this Dublin derby would be another night of misery for the northside club.
But Mandroiu came up with a superb free-kick which had the crowd of 2,908, including U-21 boss Kenny and Ireland captain Seamus Coleman, on their feet in appreciation, Bohs grateful to have earned a point.
Recent games have been a struggle for Bohs, who had failed to score in three of their previous four outings, but they had a bright enough start at Richmond Park and looked the side more likely to score.
Left-back Darragh Leahy was a threat on 18 minutes while centre-half James Finnerty was next up for Bohs, as the former Aston Villa player got a good connection to a corner from Mandroiu and Brendan Clarke was needed to save from that headed effort.
Mandroiu should have done better with a free-kick on 39 minutes, that strike going straight into the hands of goalkeeper Clarke, and Bohs paid the price for those wasted half-chances five minutes from half-time when Pat’s scored with their first attempt on target.
Some good play out on the right wing by Gary Shaw ended with a cross from the big striker and when he whipped in the ball, he’d hardly have expected Darragh Markey, the smallest player on the park, to meet it with a header, but Markey did just that, nodding the ball over James Talbot, over the line and into the net for his first goal of the season.
A penalty on 68 minutes, awarded when Kevin Toner clashed with Danny Grant in the box, was an opening for Bohs but Clarke guessed correctly to save from former team-mate Dinny Corcoran.
Bohs had yet to come from behind and get a result this season but they finally did that. Jamie Lennon’s challenge on Mandroiu on 77 minutes led to a free-kick, and Mandroiu picked himself up, picked his spot and curled a superb effort beyond the reach of Clarke.
Pat’s did have the ball in the net after that but sub Jake Walker was deemed to have fouled keeper Talbot and the Dublin rivals had to settle for a point each.
ST PAT’S – B Clarke; Webster, Kelly, Toner; Madden, Markey (Forrester 83), Clifford (McCabe 30), Lennon, Bermingham; Shaw (Walker 82), Drennan.
BOHS – Talbot; Pender, Barry, Finnerty, Leahy; Levingston, McCourt; Grant (Swan 93), Mandroiu, Wade-Slater (Graydon 87); Corcoran.
REF – Robert Harvey
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