“The pressure to win should act as a spur for our players”


Friday March 16 2018, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm


Keith Long has challenged Bohemians to take ownership of the game when Sligo Rovers come to Dalymount Park tomorrow.

The Gypsies have fallen behind in all five of their opening SSE Airtricity League games of the 2018 season.

They bounced back on opening night to secure a memorable 3-1 win against Shamrock Rovers and again the following week to claim a deserved point away to Limerick.

But they have failed to come back in their last three games, agonisingly losing each one by the odd goal.


The Gypsies started brightly in the 1-0 defeats to Derry City, St Patrick’s Athletic and, most recently, Waterford on Monday.

But Long has been left frustrated by his side’s inability thus far to turn possession and chances into goals.

Long said: “We have had opportunities to score in every game, most notably missed penalties at home to Derry and St Pat’s.

“But the concession of cheap goals has been our Achilles heel.

“In all of our games to date, we have conceded the first goal. In order to give ourselves any chance, we must try and get the opening goal.

“Despite lots of our build-up play looking promising at times, we have failed to work the opposition goalkeepers enough.

“We have ended up on the wrong side of results in games where we have been very much in contention and should have taken something from.”

Despite Long’s frustrations, he believes his side have both the character and ability to get back to winning ways.

He said: “Results and performance needs to be addressed and I believe that we have the players and character to change our fortunes.

“We are all frustrated that we have not been able to build on the Rovers win on the opening night of the season.

“But I firmly believe we are not a million miles off and we are only one good result and performance away from kick-starting our season.”

Long does not expect heads to drop and in fact believes his team should relish the pressure on them to get a result against Sligo.

He added: “There is pressure on us to deliver at home. We cannot shy away from that – that pressure to win should act as a spur for our players.

“We need to show our mettle now and show courage to get our season back on track.

“It won’t be easy as Sligo are a good side who try to play an expansive game. But we are at home and I expect to see a reaction from our players.”


Kevin Devaney is a doubt with an Achilles injury that ruled him out against Waterford on Monday. Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) remain out.

“It is a great challenge”

After 10 days without a game, Bohemians are looking to hit the ground running ahead of a congested fixture list that will see them play seven matches between now and the end of March.

Storm Emma saw both last Friday’s league meeting away to Cork City and Monday’s EA Sports Cup tie at home to Cabinteely postponed until Monday March 19 and Monday March 26 respectively in a month that already had two scheduled midweek league fixtures.

Keith Long’s squad will be tested to the maximum but he is looking forward to the challenge.

Ahead of welcoming his former club St Patrick’s Athletic to Dalymount Park, Long said: “The extreme weather has disrupted the fixture list and it will have a knock-on effect over the next few weeks with a backlog of games.

“This will be a test of our squad and our durability but it will be the same for all clubs.


“We must get on with it. It is a great challenge for the players along with the staff in terms of planning and preparation.”

Last time out, Bohs failed to capitalise on an encouraging first-half performance against Derry City and ended up empty-handed after Ronan Curtis’ 60th-minute goal gave the visitors a perhaps undeserved 1-0 victory.

Long is hoping for a more consistent performance tomorrow and said: “Last week’s conditions meant it wasn’t a night for the faint-hearted, so we appreciated the support we got.

“But the result was very disappointing. I felt it was a great opportunity missed.

“It was a disjointed performance and we never really exerted enough pressure on the opposition when the game was in the balance.

“We must learn from this. But we are a young group and I believe we will improve.

“Hopefully now we can put in a good performance and get the desired result.”


Dinny Corcoran (groin) and Rob Manley (hamstring) return to the squad. Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) remain out.


Tuesday February 27, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Match sponsor: Arkway Refrigeration
Matchball sponsor: Conal Devine & Associates

Bohemians welcome Derry City to Dalymount Park tomorrow looking to build on their encouraging start to the season which has seen Keith Long’s side take four points from their opening two games.

The Gypsies kicked off the 2018 season by coming from behind to claim derby-day bragging rights with a 3-1 derby victory against Shamrock Rovers.

And they had to dig deep once more in Limerick on Saturday after frustratingly falling behind against the run of play before new boy Eoghan Stokes’ late equaliser salvaged a 1-1 draw.

Manager Long said: “The character the team showed to dig out a result with a 90th-minute equaliser was really impressive.

“A point was the least we deserved having had the bulk of possession and looking the more likely to score throughout.


“Conditions were really difficult underfoot and the pitch was awful, which didn’t help us. But we kept going and we found a way through with Eoghan grabbing his first goal for the club on his full debut.”

Long believes his side grew in stature drawing on the support of the big vocal home crowd in their opening night win against Rovers.

And he will be hoping for more of the same tomorrow against a Derry City side who have won all of the last seven meetings between the sides since Kenny Shiels took charge at the start of the 2016 season.

He said: “This is going to be another really testing challenge for us. We face a Derry side who finished fourth last season, have some excellent players and have one of the league’s canniest managers.

“Our home support was fantastic last time out, the noise and colour generated by our fans was amazing and the players could really feed off that.

“It was great to see Dalymount packed to the rafters and we hope we can generate the type of interest there was around the Rovers game for all our home games.

“There is a lot of really good work being done in the community and behind the scenes at Bohs.

“We want to capitalise on that by delivering a team that plays for the club, plays for the jersey, plays for its community and be one that the fans can be proud of.”

But with games coming thick and fast, Long is conscious of the demands being placed on his squad – one of only two part-time set-ups in the division – and could make changes to his line-up accordingly.

He said: “It important that we can depend upon lads to step into the team and do their jobs. This midweek round of fixtures has not favoured us.

“We find ourselves playing Derry with 24 hours less recovery and preparation time than our opponents, who played in Sligo on Friday night with us playing down in Limerick on Saturday.

“It will also see us travel to Cork on Friday with another 24 hours less recovery and preparation time than Cork, who play in Sligo tonight.

“I would like to see more of a level playing field. If there are back-to-back fixtures, they should be Friday/Monday for all teams or Saturday/Tuesday for all teams irrespective of clubs’ preferred night to play home games.

“You cannot underestimate the value of 24 hours when it comes to recovery. Derry and Cork do not need any further advantage over us – they already have one by being full-time.

“Their recovery with their players is more controlled than ours and to compete on the scheduling of these games in my view hands them another advantage and is unfair, especially when you factor in we are part-time.”


Bohs continue to be without long-term absentees Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal), while Rob Manley (hamstring) is likely to sit this one out too.

Keith Ward (hamstring) and Kevin Devaney (ankle) were late withdrawals from the squad that travelled to Limerick but both are expected to be available for selection tomorrow.

“We’re not going to get carried away after one good result”

Saturday February 24, Markets Field, 6.30pm​

While Bohemians fans have enjoyed a week of derby day bragging rights, Keith Long and his players are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.

Two towering headers from a dominant Dan Casey and a stunning strike from Paddy Kavanagh saw the Gypsies overturn a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat rivals Shamrock Rovers 3-1 at Dalymount Park last Friday.

It was the perfect way to kick off the new season but as fans are still beaming a week later, manager Long and his team quickly shifted their attention to tomorrow’s tricky trip to Markets Field.

They face a Limerick side who, in new manager Tommy Barrett’s first competitive game in charge, also kicked off their 2018 campaign with three points after a 1-0 win away to Sligo Rovers last Saturday.

Manager Long said: “We’ve spoken about the need to be more consistent this season, so we’re certainly not going to get carried away after one good result.


“It was a great night for the fans, the players and everyone at the club. But you move on quickly.

“We know we will have to be fully focused for Limerick as there are no easy games, particularly now it’s a ten-team division.

“Limerick got a great win up in Sligo and kept another clean sheet having not conceded in pre-season either.

“They’ll be full of confidence, they’ve good players too, so it’s going to be a challenge and our attitude has got to be right.

“They’ve a new manager in place, it’s their first home game of season, so they will have a big crowd behind them.”

For Long, there are aspects of his team’s performance that he would like to see improve.

He said: “It wasn’t a perfect performance, there are improvements to be made. But it was the first game of the season.

“People are settling in and if you haven’t experienced the intensity of the derby before, nothing can prepare you for that and it takes time to get used to.

“What we have to do tomorrow is match the intensity of last week and try and improve our overall performance if we can.”

One player who continues to improve is 20-year-old defender Casey.

Having initially broken into the team at right-back following his arrival from Sunderland last July, it was at centre-back that he most impressed towards the end of the 2017 season.

Last week he grabbed his first two senior goals and the man-of-the-match award to cap it all off.

Long added: “I was really pleased for Dan. He’s still a young player with a lot to learn but I was delighted for him.

“He’s not the finished article yet but he has a good attitude and I believe he can become an important player for us.”


Bohs continue to be without long-term absentees Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) but Long has no other injury concerns.


Friday February 16 2018, Dalymount Park

Please note earlier kick-off time of 7.30pm

Bohemians host old rivals Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park in tomorrow’s SSE Airtricity League opener with both sides looking to ignore the hype and do their talking on the pitch.

Unprecedented demand saw the home fans’ allocation to this fixture sell out two weeks in advance, while the away end followed suit shortly afterwards.

It’s the first time since 2005 that the opening night fixtures have thrown up the Dublin Derby. On that occasion, Bohs and Rovers played out a 1-1 draw at Dalymount.

The build-up in recent weeks has been dominated by a sense of anticipation among both sets of supporters and Bohs manager Keith Long acknowledged: “This fixture is a great way to start the league campaign.


“The sell-out signs have been up in Dalymount Lane for two weeks, which is great to see. It’s just a pity Dalymount no longer has the capacity of years gone – there has been massive interest.

“It’s a big occasion for the supporters and everyone involved with both clubs. But for both sets of players, it’s about getting it right on the pitch.

“Our players have worked hard in pre-season and we believe they will be focused and disciplined in their approach.”

As well as putting the hard yards in on the training ground, Long and his backroom team have worked tirelessly over the closed season to strengthen a squad that had to contend with some high-profile departures such as Ismahil Akinade to Waterford as well as the sales of rising stars Fuad Sule and Warren O’Hora to Barnet and Brighton respectively.

​Even today, Long, despite strong competition, was busy finalising a deal to bolster his attacking options with the arrival of 21-year-old striker Eoghan Stokes (above) from Leeds.

Subject to international clearance, he will go straight into tomorrow’s matchday squad.

The former St Kevin’s Boys frontman joins Darragh Leahy (Coventry City), JJ Lunney (St Pat’s), Rob Manley (UCD), Ryan Swan (Cabinteely), Dylan Watts (Leicester, loan) among the new faces at the club.

But there are some familiar faces making a welcome return too with Keith Buckley (Bray Wanderers), Kevin Devaney (Galway United) and Karl Moore (Bray Wanderers) all rejoining a squad that retained most of its key men from last season.

Looking forward to his fourth season at the helm, Long said: “It’s opening night, with new arrivals at both clubs, so there is change and it will take time for new players to settle.”

These old foes met three times in the league last season with Rovers winning the first two before Bohs claimed the spoils in the sides’ final meeting in Tallaght Stadium.

The bookies once again have Rovers as favourites, but Long remains undeterred.

He added: “It’s no secret that we don’t have the resources that they have, we have tended to go into games against Rovers as underdogs.

“But we can enjoy that tag a little bit too and try use it to our advantage and have our supporters behind us.

“That bond between players and fans is something I’ve preached about since coming in, that was key for us last year.

“There was a definite connection there. Even when we were under pressure, fans didn’t waver.

“That helps players grow in stature and we’ll need that for this game as well as every other one this year.

“It’s an even more competitive league now. We’re not fazed by that but we will need that support again every step of the way.”


Long’s pre-season preparations were rocked by a double blow to his attacking options.

First, Ryan Swan suffered a torn cruciate, which could rule him out for the majority of the season.

Then that loss was compounded with Cristian Magerusan fracturing his metatarsal.

But Long has acted quickly to bolster his front line with the additions of Rob Manley (UCD) and Eoghan Stokes (Leeds).

Website by Simon Alcock