“It really meant a lot to everyone, you just don’t see that other clubs”

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Preview: Bohemians v Sutton Utd
Irn-Bru Challenge Cup Rd 3
Saturday October 13, Dalymount Park, 3pm

*Please note that as tomorrow is a split gate, membership, Junior Gypsies and season tickets do not apply. Members can, however, pay the reduced rate of €10 on the members stile on production of membership card.

Keith Long admits his team are hurting – but also believes they are determined to put smiles back on the faces of Bohemians supporters.

The Gypsies ran out of steam in their Irish Daily Mail Cup semi-final replay on Monday night.

Bohs were out-muscled in the first half and trailed 2-0 at the break. Ian Morris’ wonder strike gave them a way back into the tie but an equaliser proved elusive.

Having gone so close to winning the first game – they led 1-0 until Cork were awarded a contentious penalty three minutes from time – it is natural for Long’s side to still be thinking ‘what if?’

Long said: “Monday was a long, hard night. It’s obviously difficult to pick lads up after that.

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“Last night was the first night we had them back training.

“We felt they needed a break after Monday as everyone was extremely disappointed. But we look bright in training.

“We had a look last night at where we went wrong and what we did well. Obviously we could have played a lot better in the first half.”

Monday was the second defeat in three days but the Friday 3-1 loss to Waterford saw a Bohs team line out with nine changes to the side that took to the field in the first cup game against Cork City – the only two survivors were suspended for the rematch.

Prior to that, Long’s side were on a remarkable 10-match unbeaten run of nine consecutive wins and a draw.

He said: “It was unfortunate and disappointing after the run we’ve been on that we gave what was probably the worst 45 minutes we’ve had in months.

“A cup final would have been a huge reward for the players, everyone involved behind the scenes at the club and for our supporters who’ve been right behind us.”

Long expressed his wish to put on record his gratitude for the 700-strong travelling support who stayed back after the game to applaud his

He said: “Every one of the players and staff remarked on the effort of our supporters to pick us up on Monday.

“It’s been the same for months. But what we saw from our supporters on Monday in the way they stayed behind and tried to give us a lift after the game was special.

“It really meant a lot to everyone, you just don’t see that other clubs.”

While Bohs are still licking their wounds, Long has one eye on next season and believes there is huge potential for his team to continue to build on the foundations laid in recent years.

He said: “If we can keep this group together, we can progress together as a group. We’ve some very talented young players coming through.

“I think people realise that and the younger players coming through are getting great encouragement.”

But before he can look too far ahead, there is the somewhat unknown quantity of Sutton United to contend with.

Long said: “Tomorrow is unfamiliar opposition in an unfamiliar competition but we want to progress.

“It will be hard to pick everyone up but we want to get back winning and this is a chance for us to get to a quarter-final.

“We don’t know a lot about them other than the video footage we’ve seen of them. But they play at a good standard.

“The Conference in England have the likes of Adam Rooney and Rory Gaffney playing there so it’s a tough league with a high calibre of player and a very competitive standard.

“We’re looking forward to it. We want to win to help put a smile back on the faces of our players and supporters.”

TEAM NEWS

Dan Kelly and Dan Casey return from suspension but the latter is a slight doubt with a calf strain.

Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (quad) remain out.

BARS OPEN 1PM

Please note the bars open at 1pm tomorrow ahead of the game until late.

We will have Bobby Harper performing live in the Phoenix Bar and we will be screening Ireland v Denmark at 7.45pm.

All Sutton fans are invited to make use of our bars also.

Website by Simon Alcock