The last time Bohemians scored a goal, Leicester City had never been champions of England and Nicky Byrne was planning an open-top bus parade down O’Connell Street to celebrate his Eurovision triumph. Probably.
April 9th was the last time a Bohs player made the net bulge as Ayman Ben Mohamed hit the ball in the onion sack to clinch a 2-0 victory away to Bray Wanderers.
The same player put in a man of the match performance against Galway United on Friday night at Dalymount Park to put the gloss on a week in which he was called up to the senior Tunisia squad for the first time.
After the game the 21-year spoke of his surprise at receiving the call saying:
Yeah it was a bit of a shock. Obviously I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be very challenging but it’s going to be a good indication of where I’m at and how much I need to improve.
I’m going over next Wednesday. This is the first time they’ve got in contact. It’s happened fairly fast. Of course I’m proud and delighted. I just hope it goes well.
While Ben Mohamed picked up the award for man of the match, it was a solid and at times electrifying overall performance from Keith Long’s Bohs team.
Almost 700 minutes of football after their last goal they put that sorry run to an end and true to form, Ben Mohamed was involved.
Ten minutes had passed when he swung in a ball from the left to Patrick Kavanagh who pounced to put the Gypsies 1-0 up with a cool shot into the bottom left corner.
The goal certainly sparked Bohs into life as Kavanagh came close to doubling his tally minutes later but saw his free-kick saved by Galway goalkeeper Conor Winn.
After 24 minutes a decent Galway attack saw Colm Horgan deliver a low ball to Gary Shanahan who pulled it back for Vinny Faherty.
The Galway captain’s shot, however, could only force a corner which eventually proved fruitless.
There was controversy in the 28th minute when Galway’s Alex Byrne went in hard on goalscorer Kavanagh’s right ankle in a challenge that could easily have warranted a red card. Fortunately for Byrne the referee only produced a yellow.
Not so fortunately for Kavanagh, the foul brought his night to an end as he limped off to be replaced by Keith Buckley.
This was only the beginning of the home side’s injury misfortune as manager Keith Long was also forced to replace the impressive Jake Kelly before half-time and captain Derek Pender just afterwards.
Bohs went in it half-time good value for their 1-0 lead and continued their dominance early into the second half.
Ben Mohammed was causing Galway all sorts of problems down the left and in the 55th minute was the victim of a hard shoulder in the box by Gary Shanahan.
Substitute Mark Quigley was on hand to confidently convert from the spot and make it 2-0 to Bohs.
Galway enjoyed their best spell as the second half wore on and their best chance fell to substitute Ruairí Keating on 74 minutes but his tame effort was saved by Bohs goalkeeper Dean Delany.
In the end it was a comfortable victory for Bohemians. The emergence of Ben Mohammed has been a shining light in an otherwise tumultuous campaign for Keith Long’s side and afterwards the manager was effusive in his praise of the young winger.
Overall, I’ve been really pleased with Aymen. He’s a credit to himself. He’s hungry and wants to do well from a football perspective but also with his study. He’s a Trinity College student and he’s had exams over the last couple of weeks.
We’ve probably seen somewhat of a plateau in terms of his performance because of the demands he puts on himself. I thought he was better tonight.
Next up for Ben Mohamed, a link-up with his new Tunisia team-mates. If he can reproduce some of the spark we have seen from him this season we may well be seeing the beginning of a long international career.