“We have to give it go and let’s see where that takes us”

Preview: Shamrock Rovers U19s v Bohemians U19s
SSE Airtricity U19 League Final
Tuesday October 30, Tallaght Stadium, 7.30pm
(General admission €5, U14s go free)

The Bohemians U19s are looking to cap off another remarkable season by clinching a second league title in a row when they travel to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers.

SSE Airtricity U19 League champions last term, Bohs brought that form into this season once again – lifting the Enda McGuill Cup with a hard-fought win away to St Patrick’s Athletic in September.

The Bohemians faithful acknowledged the hard work being done at underage level by really getting behind Craig Sexton and his side for their Uefa Youth League return leg fixture at Dalymount Park last Wednesday.

A crowd of 1563 came to Dalyer as Bohs went down fighting against a fancied FC Midtjylland side, losing 2-1 to the Danes on the night and going out 4-2 on aggregate.

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Sexton’s side have dusted themselves down after that disappointment and are refreshed and ready to go toe to toe with Aidan Price’s Hoops in the league decider.

He said: “It’ll be an interesting game, it’ll be a tight one I think. But we have to give it go and let’s see where that takes us.

“I think we will get a crowd there with it being a Dublin derby, it’ll appeal to a wider audience.

“I think it’s the first time Bohs and Rovers have played in a big final since I played in the U20s final in 2010.

“We were beaten on penos that night, so hopefully the result will go the other way this time around!”

While trophies and the honour of representing the country in Uefa competition have been obvious highlights, Sexton sees the progression of players to Keith Long’s first team as the real sign of success.

The pathway for players is clear, from the joint Bohs-SKB U15 and U17 teams right through to the U19s and on to the first team. 

Ali Reghba, Andy Lyons, Cristian Magerusan, Danny Grant, Jamie Hamilton, Promise Omochere and Ryan Graydon have all featured for the first team this season as well as starring for Sexton’s U19s, while Paddy Kirk, now 20, has this season established himself as a first-team squad regular having shone for the U19s in recent seasons.

Sexton said: “Either way the game goes, this group have been fantastic. What they’ve achieved this season and last has been unbelievable.

“For the first team, the amount of players we’ve been able to bring through has been extremely pleasing.

“That’s where our success lies and I’m extremely proud of all the boys.”

Their route to the final has proved difficult, however, having had to dig deep in the knockout stages of the league against both Waterford and UCD.

In the quarter-final against Waterford, Bohs trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before eventually coming out on top 4-3 after extra time. In the semi-final, Bohs relinquished a 2-0 lead to need penalties to defeat UCD.

Sexton added: “We played Waterford, we scored with five or ten to go having been behind the whole game.

“Against UCD we were 2-0 up, cruising in the game, concede one and concede another just on the stroke of full-time.

“For the players to press the restart button and go again for another 30 minutes and win the shootout after that set-back was excellent.

“It shows you the type of group we have that they were able to dig deep and get those results.”

“We always bring a big crowd out to Bray and we want to get a result”

Preview: Bray Wanderers v Bohemians
SSE Airtricity League,
Friday October 19 2018, Carlisle Grounds, 7.45pm

Keith Long says Bohemians are refreshed and determined to finish the season as strongly as possible.

The Gypsies travel to face relegated Bray Wanderers tomorrow with just three games to remaining after that against Sligo Rovers on Monday, champions Dundalk and an IRN-BRU Cup quarter-final.

They put the gut-wrenching FAI Cup semi-final replay defeat against Cork City 10 days ago to one side when Sutton United were the visitors to Dalymount in the IRB-BRU Cup last 16 on Saturday.

Bohs will feel they should have settled the tie in normal time but in the end needed a remarkable penalty shootout turnaround to seal their passage through to the last eight where they will host East Fife.

No date has yet been 100% confirmed for that tie, but Bohs are hopeful that the tie will be brought forward from the original scheduled date of Saturday November 17 to be closer to the end of their SSE Airtricity League season, which finishes next Friday.

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Long said: “We looked on Saturday’s game as an opportunity to shake the disappointment of going out of the FAI Cup. We wanted a win to put that out of our minds as best we could.

“It was good to have a game against different opposition, against a team with a different style of play.

“We played very well in patches but we looked tired towards the end so we’re glad it went straight to penalties and there was no extra-time.

“We’re delighted to progress in the tournament, it’s something very different for the club but the players and supporters have bought into it.

“We’re hoping we can bring forward the quarter-final as the players don’t want to extend our season too much.

“But they were determined to get through. That was the same for both rounds, no matter what team we put out, they wanted to progress.”

Bohs found themselves 3-1 down in the shootout after Oscar Brennan and Eoghan Stokes saw their efforts saved.

But up stepped goalkeeper Shane Supple to save one, score one and save another to turn the shootout on its head.

Long said: “Supps was actually a bit disappointed he wasn’t further up the list to take penalties!

“That’s the kind of character he is. Supps has been outstanding since day one he came to the club.

“But to win a shootout like that was unique – it might be a quiz question in years to come!”

Tomorrow the Gypsies face a relegated Bray side with little more than pride to play for.

But Long, who has fond memories of his own time with the Seagulls as a player and coach, is never one to take any team for granted.

He added: “We don’t take any opposition lightly. Bray may be down but they are doing a lot of good work behind the scenes now and are in a better place as a club now.

“We have to focus on ourselves. We always bring a big crowd out to Bray and we want to get a result.

“We want to finish the season strongly and as high up the table as possible.

“We have to make sure we deliver a good performance and impose ourselves on the game.

“When we do that, we’re capable of beating any team in the league but the performance has to be right.”

TEAM NEWS

Darragh Leahy is out with a recurrence of a thigh injury. Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (quad) remain on the sidelines.

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

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.

“Tonight is an opportunity and it’s one that we hope to take.”

CORK CITY v BOHEMIANS
IRISH DAILY MAIL FAI CUP SEMI-FINAL REPLAY
Monday October 8, Turner’s Cross, 7.30pm

Keith Long says his players are more determined than ever to deliver big nights for Bohemians.

The Gypsies travelled to Cork City after training yesterday evening ahead of tonight’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi-final rematch.

Bohs looked to have one foot in the final after taking a deserved 1-0 lead through Dinny Corcoran last Sunday.

But the disputed decision to award the Leesiders a penalty three minutes from time was enough for John Caulfeld’s side to earn a replay tonight.

Some observers felt that was Bohs’ chance, but Long’s team is one that has continued to defy the odds this season.

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All three previous victories in this competition – against Wexford, Galway United and Derry City – came on the road.

It goes without saying that tonight’s opposition are a huge step up from any of those three teams.

But having got this far, there is no doubt in Long’s mind that his side are refreshed, refocused and ready to make the most of tonight’s game.

He said: “We’re looking forward to it. Last Sunday was a great occasion in Dalymount.

“Obviously it would have been nice if we’d held on a little bit longer. But it wasn’t to be on the night.

“It’s a tough ask to go down to Turner’s Cross. We’ll have to do it the hard way. It’s a big game and the lads can’t wait for it.

“Cork might feel they’ve done the hard part by forcing the replay, but we see tonight’s game as a big opportunity for us.

“We want big nights like last Sunday. We want big nights like that in Dalymount. We want to be involved in big games at the business end of the season.

“Tonight is an opportunity for us to get to a cup final and it’s one that we hope to take.”

While the penalty debate dominated press coverage last week, Long insists his side drew a line under it and put it out of their minds.

He said: “Obviously there was a lot of discussion about whether it was or wasn’t a penalty.

“As a team we had to move on from that quite quickly.

“The players were obviously naturally very disappointed afterwards but they digested what happened and collectively moved on.

“You can’t look back. We’ve another massive game to get up for and we will be ready for it.”

Friday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Waterford ended a remarkable 10-game unbeaten run for Long’s men.

While the manager was disappointed to see the run of form come to an end, the priority was always to rest key men ahead of tonight’s game.

Long made nine changes from Sunday’s game. The only two survivors on Friday – Dan Casey and Dan Kelly – are suspended this evening after accumulating five yellow cards each.

Long said: “We’ll miss the two lads, there’s no doubt about it. But we have fellas ready to come in and desperate to play.

“The lads are in a good frame of mind after a good run of form.

“Friday was a much-changed team. It would have been nice to keep that run of form we were on going but the priority was tonight, let’s be honest.

“We’ll go down there and hopefully give a good account of ourselves.”

Long’s men will be backed by a crowd of 700 boisterous travelling Bohs supporters.

He added: “It’s fantastic. Even on Friday you could see the togetherness between the players and the supporters.

“The supporters come to Dalymount and further afield and they consistently urge their team to do well.

“They get excited when they see young players on the pitch – particularly their own who have come through and been developed by the club.

“You can see that togetherness. You can’t overstate the importance of that – the players feed off that, they really do.

“They can feel the energy from the terraces to the pitch. To have 700 going down on a Monday night is fantastic.

“I know they will get behind the team and they will help us.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are without the suspended duo of Dan Casey and Dan Kelly. Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (quad) remain out.

“Nobody is feeling sorry for themselves – it’s been an extremely positive week in training”

Preview: Bohemians v Waterford
SSE Airtricity League
Friday October 5, 7.45pm, Dalymount Park

K[/dropap]eith Long says Bohemians have put last week’s controversial FAI Cup semi-final behind them and are determined to extend their unbeaten run to 11 games.

Bohs looked to have one foot in the final after taking a deserved 1-0 lead through Dinny Corcoran against Cork City on Sunday.

But the disputed decision to award the Leesiders a penalty three minutes from time was enough for John Caulfeld’s side to earn a replay between the sides this Monday at Turner’s Cross.

Bohs’ initial allocation of 500 away tickets sold out earlier this afternoon with an additional 100 set to go on sale tomorrow.

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The Bohs supporters are up for the Cup – and Long’s men certainly are too. 

He said: “Nobody is feeling sorry for themselves. It’s been an extremely positive week in training.

“Obviously the manner in which they equalised was very disappointing at the time and hard to take but you move on from that.

“When I left Dalymount on Sunday night and put the disappointment to one side, the hunger for the club to be involved in more big games and occasions like that took over.

“We’re not out of it, we just have to do it the hard way. We are very much in this tie and we will go to Cork confident.

“We know we will be up against it. Cork are an excellent side there will be a big home crowd down there but we will have a big following of our own behind us.”

But before they can focus all their energy on that, there is the small matter of taking on Waterford tomorrow.

The Blues are in fourth, the Gypsies in fifth but ten points separate them.

Realistically Bohs’ main aim is to consolidate their current position, with only goal difference separating them and St Pat’s in sixth.

Games against Alan Reynolds’ side have been frustrating ones for Bohs this season, losing twice and drawing once.

Efforts to address that record tomorrow are all the more challenging with Long feeling it necessary to freshen his side up ahead of Monday’s Cork rematch.

When he last made wholesale changes to his starting team – 11 in fact – an experimental Bohs side came from behind to beat St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 away from home two weeks ago.

Long’s options are more restricted this time around though as some of the budding Bohemians who came in and starred that day played a challenging game in the Uefa Youth League last night when Craig Sexton’s U19s lost 2-1 away to FC Midtjylland.

Long said: “It would be foolhardy not to have one eye on Monday’s game so we will obviously change things up a little.

“But our hands are tied on that front to a certain extent too. Of the players you’d like to bring into the squad, four of them – Andy Lyons, Ali Reghba, Promise Omochere and Ryan Graydon – played a draining game last night.

“So we have to be mindful of that and manage our squad correctly as we don’t want to be pushing players too much.

“But we have a group of players who are pushing each other themselves all the time so I’m confident the team we put out will give a good account of themselves.

“They’ve been tight affairs against Waterford this season. 

“We’ve drawn one and lost twice to them but they were games we felt that we left points behind and where our performances deserved more so we want to get a result tomorrow and consolidate our place in the table.”

TEAM NEWS

Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (thigh) are the only players ruled out but Bohs are expected to make changes ahead of Monday’s FAI Cup semi-final against Cork City.

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