Bohemians’ Danny Mandroiu holds off Finn Harps’ Liam Walsh. Picture: Martin Doherty

LOI premier division
Bohemians 1
Finn Harps 0

BOHEMIANS kicked off their 2019 campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Finn Harps at Dalymount Park on Friday night.

Dinny Corcoran scored the only goal of the game as Keith Long’s side saw off the Premier Division newcomers at the home of Irish football.

Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane, now a member of Mick McCarthy’s coaching staff, was in attendance as the Donaghmede man settled the tie.

Ollie Horgan’s side succumbed to their 12th straight defeat at the Phibsboro venue against a Bohs side littered with new caps after a tumultuous off-season.

James Talbot, Conor Levingston, Daniel Mandroiu, James Finnerty and Luke Wade-Slater were all given debuts following their return from the UK over the winter period.

It was Harps who came within inches of taking the lead early on, however, as Daniel O’Reilly’s header from Mark Timlin’s cross rebounded off the stump of the post.

It was Talbot who set in motion the Bohs opener with a long ball forward that eventually found its way to striker Corcoran.

He laid the ball off to Keith Ward, and his delightful pass found Keith Buckley on the overlap, and his pass inside was turned into the net by Corcoran to give the Gypsies a half-time lead.

Corcoran’s finish didn’t quite match the fluidity of the build-up play, and the ball rebounded into the net off the post, but the striker has proven instincts in front of goal in this league.

Mandroiu came close to making it two for the home side after the break when he found space on the edge of the box, but his shot was turned behind by Peter Burke.

From the resulting corner, Rob Cornwall headed just wide as Long’s side continued to press in search of the goal that would guarantee the three points.

Bohs could have made the points safe late on as Keith Ward turned Derek Pender’s cross towards goal, but again Burke denied the home side.

And a mistake from defender Sam Todd should really have put the gloss on the scoreline for Bohs late on as he allowed Wade-Slater in on goal.

The former St Kevin’s Boys and Stevenage man had only Burke to beat, but his weak shot was turned away by Burke, and Corcoran put the loose ball over the bar.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Long said afterwards.

“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves. We had some chances in the second half but maybe make life comfortable for ourselves.

“We had to withstand a lot of long throws into the box from set-plays. Finn Harps are an honest side and they make you work.

“It’s a 1-0 win but it’s three points and it kick-starts our season.”