Dundalk twice fought back from behind to deny Bohemians a winning start to the season at Dalymount Park.

Having had their fixture away to Sligo Rovers last weekend fall victim to Storm Eunice, Keith Long's side were in action for the first time since losing last November’s FAI Cup final against a St Patrick’s Athletic side who were then managed by current Lilywhites head coach Stephen O’Donnell.


Twice they gave the sold-out home support reason to cheer as goals from Jordan Flores and Promise Omochere put them in front.

However, on each occasion Dundalk responded through Patrick Hoban and Steven Bradley as the Louth men settled for their second 2-2 draw of the campaign following last week’s draw with Derry City.

It was debutant Flores who had the first chance of the game on nine minutes when a rushed clearance by Andy Boyle broke to him at the edge of the box, but he could only pull his shot to the right and wide.

Bohs goalkeeper James Talbot celebrates the opening goal of the game at Dalymount Park

It looked like his former employers would then take the lead two minutes later when good combination play involving Hoban and Robbie Benson saw Daniel Kelly presented with a chance that looked certain to be a goal, but somehow James Finnerty got back to deny him.

Bohs dominated for the next period with inswinging corners from Ali Coote causing huge problems for the Dundalk defence. They almost took the lead on 16 minutes when Omochere rose highest to meet one of the Scot’s deliveries, but his effort flashed just wide of the post.

The breakthrough did arrive on 28 minutes when another Coote inswinger was nodded home by Flores on his debut.

The Gypsies’ lead would less last than two minutes, however, as Hoban met Dan Williams’ corner at the front post to head in the 160th goal of his career.

The equaliser turned the tide with the visitors on top after that as James Talbot was called into action to make saves from Greg Sloggett, Kelly and Hoban, the best of which saw him deny Kelly with a finger-tip stop after he had been played clear through by Bradley.

The Dundalk fans were adamant their side should have had a penalty on 43 minutes when Bohs captain Tyreke Wilson appeared to handle on the ball on the ground as he shepherded it back to Talbot. The matter went unnoticed by referee Paul McLaughlin, with Bohs breaking up the pitch within seconds to take the lead.

The Monaghan official played a brilliant advantage to allow play to continue after a Lewis Macari was late on Coote.

This allowed Kris Twardek to break down the right with his low cross flicked on by the inrushing Omochere at the near post with the ball popping up into the left hand corner past Nathan Shepperd with the aid of a deflection off Mark Connolly.

Rory Feely then almost made it 3-1 within four minutes of the restart with a teasing ball in from the right that flashed just wide of the left hand post.

The second equaliser then arrived on 56 minutes when Bradley rose at the back post to head Kelly’s cross from the left to the net off the inside of the post.

David McMillan then almost put Dundalk ahead on 69 minutes when he twisted and turned in the box to get a shot away, but Talbot was equal to it with a good save with his feet at close range. Talbot was then called into action again four minutes later to deny Bradley a second after he had been picked out on the edge of the area by Keith Ward.

Ward then went close himself with a curling free-kick that was lifted over the wall before flashing just wide of the left hand post.

Substitute Jamie Mullins had a late chance to snatch it for Bohs, but Sam Bone got back to make a partial block allowing Shepperd to save with ease.

Connolly then had a chance on the 90th minute mark for Dundalk when he was picked out by Ward’s free-kick, but he couldn’t keep his header down.

Bohemians: James Talbot; Rory Feely, Grant Horton, James Finnerty, Tyreke Wilson; Dawson Devoy, Ali Coote, Jordan Flores (Jordan Doherty 65); Kris Twardek, Promise Omochere, Stephen Mallon (Jamie Mullins 70).

Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ciaran Kelly, Max Murphy, Conor Levingston, JJ McKiernan, Ryan Cassidy, Jack O’Reilly.

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Sam Bone, Mark Connolly, Andy Boyle, Lewis Macari; Dan Williams (Keith Ward 53), Robbie Benson, Greg Sloggett (Paul Doyle 75); Steven Bradley, Patrick Hoban (David McMillan 53), Daniel Kelly (John Martin 68).

Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Brian Gartland, Joe Adams, Mark Hanratty, Ryan O’Kane.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).