By Eoin Ryan
Limerick stunned Bohemians 1-0 at Dalymount Park to earn their first SSE Airtricity league Premier Division win of the campaign and extend the hosts’ miserable home record.
Bohs were the better team in the opening period, without ever really opening Limerick up, and Rory Gaffney’s sublime half-volley five minutes after the break was enough to secure the points for the visitors.
Bohemians, who have now taken two points from 12 at home, huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but too often they gave the ball away cheaply, as the Munster men held out much more comfortably than they would have anticipated.
That wait for their first home win may have put some extra pressure on the Bohs players as they struggled to break down Limerick in a dour first half.
Too often the final ball was lacking, with the hosts’ only real threat provided down the right flank, as full-back Derek Pender pushed forward in support of the lively Steven Beattie.
The classy winger repeatedly put Limerick left-back Robbie Williams under pressure and drew a yellow card on 38 minutes.
The home fans were screaming for red when Williams again took out Beattie just four minutes later but Williams must have been thanking his guardian angels as referee Derek Tomney kept his cards in his pocket.
Dinny Corcoran looked to be through on goal after 20 minutes when he latched on to Samuel Oji’s underhit backpass but Barry Ryan was off his line smartly to clear.
Limerick were content to lump long balls in the direction of towering striker Gaffney early on but the Bohs defence dealt with the tactic easily, and Gaffney’s control let him down on more than one occasion.
As the half wore on, though, the visitors became more ambitious and start to put some passes together, culminating in two decent efforts on goal by Prince Agyemang.
The first, a sweetly-struck half volley from 30 yards dipped just over the crossbar before he followed that up with a shot from the edge of the box that crept just wide of the post.
Bohemians came out with renewed purpose after the break and almost took the lead on 49 minutes when Stephen Traynor took possession on the penalty spot, turned and sent a low shot flashing across the goal and inches wide.
A minute later, however, they were behind as their defence failed to clear Agyemang’s lobbed cross and the ball sat up for Gaffney to crack a superb half-volley into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Such was the quality of the strike that ’keeper Lee Murphy had little chance of stopping it.
Bohs were shell-shocked and the home support quickly became frustrated as their efforts to find an equaliser frequently ended with possession being surrendered far too meekly, often under little pressure.
Manager Owen Heary sprang veteran Jason Byrne and Paddy Kavanagh from the bench in search of the leveller and Byrne did manage one effort on target, but he was forced to shoot off-balance and Ryan gathered comfortably.
The visitors seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on, and threatened to extend their lead on the counter.
Beattie’s influence was far more limited in the second period and when he screwed a half-chance over the bar in the fourth minute of injury-time Bohs’ goose was cooked.
Bohemians: Lee Muphy; Derek Pender (capt), Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Darragh Reynor; Daniel Byrne, Stephen Traynor (Jason Byrne 73), Craig Walsh, Steven Beattie; Kevin Devaney (Paddy Kavanagh 61); Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Dean Delany, Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley, Philip McCabe.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Stephen Folan, Shane Costelloe (capt) (Patrick Nzuzi 65); Craig Curran (Thomas McManus 84), Shane Tracy, Prince Agyemang (James McGrath 61), Samuel Oji, Jason Hughes; Rory Gaffney.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Darragh Rainsford, Tony Whitehead, Garbhan Coughlan, Jason Hughes.
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)