“IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OTHERS”

DROGHEDA UNITED v BOHEMIANS
Saturday March 25th, United Park

Please note earlier kick-off time of 5.30pm

Keith Long has told his players “to make the jersey their own” as they look to extend their unbeaten league run to four.

The Gypsies were dealt a blow this week with the news that star striker Dinny Corcoran will be out of action for three to six weeks with an MCL (knee) injury.

Corcoran, who has five league goals to his name already this season, was one of three enforced substitutions in the 1-1 draw against Galway United last Friday.

Georgie Poynton and Derek Pender were also forced off through illness and a hamstring strain respectively, but both are available for Friday’s trip to United Park.

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Long said: “Seven points from three games was a good return, but three games in eight days took their toll on the players.

“I think that showed in our performance last Friday. After two very good wins, we looked a little bit laboured against Galway and we didn’t do enough to get the victory.”

Corcoran’s absence puts another strain on a squad that is already missing long-term absentees Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen).

Long said: “It’s far from ideal being without Dinny. We are very stretched in that position already and to lose Dinny, particularly in the form that he’s in, is a big blow.

“But we have players who can play up front like Kaleem Simon and Jamie Doyle. It’s an opportunity for others to come into the team and make the jersey their own.”

After two defeats at the start of the season to Derry City and Shamrock Rovers, Bohs have been buoyed with two wins and a draw from their last three outings.

But continuing that form will be tough against one of the most experienced management teams in the league and a squad that contains six former Bohemians.

Long added: “Drogheda is a difficult place to go. I’ve enormous respect for Pete Mahon and John Gill and the work they’ve done.

“They’ve been around the league for a long time and have a huge amount of experience.

“They came to watch us last Friday, so they’ll have a plan for us and we will have to be ready for that.”

TEAM NEWS

Dinny Corcoran (knee) and Dean Casey (calf) miss out, which sees Stephen Nolan promoted to the matchday squad from the Under-19s.

Derek Pender (hamstring) and Georgie Poynton (bug), who were both enforced substitutions against Galway United, are available for selection.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain out.

“WE’LL NEED THOSE QUALITIES THROUGHOUT THE SEASON”

​BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UNITED
St Patrick’s Day, Friday March 17th, 7.45pm, Dalymount Park

Keith Long wants Bohemians to continue the momentum of what has been “a great week” for the club.

First, the Gypsies bounced back from 2-0 down last Friday to beat Bray Wanderers 3-2.

Then, three days later, Bohs came home from Limerick with all three points after a hard-earned 1-0 win on Monday.

Long said: “We had a great week with two big performances.

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“It was a quick turnaround playing Friday and then again on Monday. That tested us a bit, we’d a few tired bodies.

“But, over the course of both games, the lads showed all of the qualities that we are going to need throughout this season.

“They worked extremely hard from start to finish to earn those results.”

The victory at Markets Field also saw Bohs keep their first clean sheet of the season having shipped eight goals in their opening three games.

Bohs’ negative goal difference is what sees them currently occupying seventh position in the table instead of fifth, so Long was encouraged to see his team stem the tide at the back.

He said: “It was obviously our best defensive performance so far.

“Shane Supple is a top keeper and pulled off some great saves but there was great unity between the performances of everyone in the back five.”

Against Galway, Bohs face a side who have picked up just one point from their opening four games.

But Long remains wary of the threat posed by Shane Keegan’s men.

He added: “Galway are a full-time outfit with a full-time manager.

“They know they need to start picking up points soon but it’s up to us to make sure they don’t do so here against us.

“We’ll be right at it. We won’t have to guard against complacency after two wins.

“Everyone in this league is capable of taking points off each other so we all know there can’t be any complacency this season.”

TEAM NEWS

Ian Morris, who was forced off on Monday night with an ankle injury, is a doubt.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain out.

“LET’S BUILD ON THIS”

LIMERICK v BOHEMIANS
Monday March 13th, Markets Field, 7.45pm

Keith Long wants his buoyant Bohemians side to build on their first win of the season when they travel to the Markets Field to take on Limerick.

The Gypsies suffered consecutive defeats in their opening two games and it looked like it was going to be three from three on Friday night.

The dominant team in the first half, Bohs were left stunned in the opening minutes of the second half as Bray Wanderers scored twice in quick succession to take a 2-0 lead against the run of play.

But Bohs stormed back as a brace from Dinny Corcoran and one from Keith Ward gave Long’s men the result their efforts deserved.

Long was delighted with the character shown and said: “We had three great goals to win it.

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“We were the better of the sides in the first half, so to go 2-0 behind in the blink of an eye, it would have been easy to throw in the towel.

“But the lads stuck at it and never gave up, which was really pleasing.

“It’s early in the season but it was still very important that we got up and running after two defeats. Bray had won their opening two games so it was a significant win for us.

“It’s important we build on it now.”

Goalscorers Corcoran and Ward are in their third and second spells with the club respectively and both are on the right road to reestablishing themselves as fans’ favourites once again.

Long said: “I was delighted for Dinny and Wardy. Three excellent goals. Wardy did very well for us in that No 10 role. He showed great composure on the ball and it was great finish.”

Newly-promoted Limerick present a fresh challenge for Long’s men. The Shannonsiders kicked off their season with a 5-1 thumping of Sligo and, while their second game against Derry City was abandoned due to floodlight failure, Martin Russell’s men really put it up to champions Dundalk in their 1-0 defeat at Oriel Park on Friday.

Long added: “We want to build on Friday’s result now but we know Limerick are another quality team. They’ve invested a significant amount of money in building a good squad, so it’s going to be another tought game for us.

“But we’re going down confident now after Friday’s performance.”

TEAM NEWS

Dan Byrne (ankle) returned to action ahead of schedule on Friday night and it is hoped he will be okay to continue.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined.

“WE WANT TO SEND THE FANS HOME HAPPY”

​​PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Friday March 10th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to focus on their own performance when Bray Wanderers come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

Bohs have no points on the board from their opening two games of the season having lost at home to Derry City and away to Shamrock Rovers.

But Long, who has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of Dylan Hayes, is confident that is about to change.

Long said: “Bray have won their first two and we’ve lost ours.

“We know they’re going to be tough opponents but we are determined to get our season up and running.

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“Bray had a strong second half of the season last year when Harry Kenny came in and they’ve continued that form into this season.

“They’ve invested heavily and will be aiming to break into the top four so it’s going to be another tricky game.

“But we have to concentrate on ourselves and our own performance. It’s important we start to pick up points.”

Long has seen enough from the opening two games to be confident his side’s fortunes will improve.

He said: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We are only two games in and we’ve played two of the best teams in the league.

“We showed in patches against both Derry and Rovers what we are capable of but we need to keep that up for 90 minutes.

“We know where we need to work on and improve. We’ve been our own worst enemy at times.

“But I don’t believe there’s been that much in the two games so far. We haven’t been carved up.

“It’s individual mistakes that have cost us, but we’re not that far away.”

It would be easy for heads to drop, but Long insists the squad remain confident and buoyed by the support they have received so far.

Long added: “The fans have been terrific. Against Derry, Bohs fans aren’t used to losing by that kind of scoreline – especially at home – but they still backed us right up to full-time and after the game.

“Bohs fans are fair. We all want results but they know the players are giving it everything and the supporters are all getting behind them.

“It was the same in Tallaght. We brought a huge crowd out there and they backed us throughout.

“We want to see those numbers out again and we will be striving to get our season up and running to send them home happy.”

TEAM NEWS

Long has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of right-back Dylan Hayes, who is expected to go straight into the matchday squad.

Dan Byrne and Dinny Corcoran were both forced off with injuries at half-time against Shamrock Rovers last week.

Byrne (ankle) will miss out but it is hoped Corcoran (back) will be fit to start.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined.

“We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence”

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Friday March 3rd, Tallaght Stadium, 7.30pm

(Please note earlier kick-off time of 7.30pm to allow for live coverage on RTÉ2)

Bohemians travel to Tallaght to face Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin Derby with both sides looking to register their first points of the season.

Bohs were left licking their wounds as Derry City came away 4-1 winners at Dalymount Park on opening night, while the Hoops lost out 2-1 to champions Dundalk at Oriel Park.

The Candystripes’ winning margin did not tell the whole story, with manager Keith Long urging his side to learn from individual mistakes that gifted goals to the visitors.

Long said: “We played well in parts, there were a lot of things to be positive about. But ultimately Derry didn’t have to do a lot to find themselves 3-0 in front.

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“Our players gave everything, even at 3-0 down. We got a goal back and then had a goal ruled out that should have been given in my opinion.

“That would have made it 3-2 and it’s a completely different dynamic then, so I was pleased with the players’ attitude and willingness to get back into the game.

“But the bottom line is we have to cut out basic errors. That’s what cost us.

“Derry are a good side, so you can’t make it easy for them. We’ve been working on that in training all week and the application of the players has been excellent.

“We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence.”

The Dublin derby is the first game both sets of supporters look for when the fixture list comes out.

Long said: “The game has come early! It’s a big one for both clubs. Rovers have spent a lot of money assembling a squad that is expected to challenge, so there’s pressure there too.

“We’ve both started the season with a defeat. There’s pressure on both teams even though we’re only one game in.

“We can pretend it’s just another game but we all know that’s not true. But it’s a great game and occasion for us to go and try bounce back.

“We just have to go out, focus on our own game and deliver a performance.”

Long said his new squad were enthused and encouraged by the support they received last week and is counting on more of the same in Tallaght.

He added: “The supporters were brilliant. They were as disappointed as we were coming off the pitch but their support throughout gave us a big lift.

“They really got behind us. They were fantastic. We know that they will bring that to Tallaght on Friday too. There’s always a big atmosphere and the players feed off the energy and buzz of our fans.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs continue to be without the services of Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove his spleen in order to rectify a blood platelets count issue.

BARS OPEN AT DALYMOUNT PARK

For those not travelling to Tallaght, the Members’ Bar at Dalymount Park will be open from 7pm and will be showing the game. All pints €4.

Website by Simon Alcock