“We have to dust ourselves down”
August 27, 2015
BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 28 August, 7.45pm
Bohemians need to rediscover their courage and to enjoy their football again as they seek a strong finish to their league campaign, according to manager Keith Long.
Bohs face Dundalk 12 weeks after they became (and remain) the only side to beat the league champions and champions-elect. But since that 2-1 victory at Oriel Park, a highpoint of the season, Bohemians have lost six of their nine league games and been beaten in the FAI Cup.
Long admits it has been difficult to overcome the disappointment of last weekend’s exit from the cup in controversial circumstances.
“We have to put it behind us as best we can. But, to be fair to the players, we certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. I still feel we should have had a replay this week, because that wasn’t a goal,” the manager said. “We were the better side but maybe we were a little bit one-dimensional in our play.”
Seeing the draw for the quarter-finals was “salt in the wound”, said Long, as he considered the prospect of a home tie against Killester United.
“We just have to dust ourselves down and make sure we’re right for Friday. It’s another big game and we’ll try to give our supporters something to shout about and get behind the team.”
Long aims to have his team find again the approach that brought such good returns. “We have to try and enjoy the game again and play with the courage we showed in the early part of the season,” he said. “We need to get back to having a go at teams, and being defensively organised.”
After a first series of league games in which Bohemians were largely injury-free and suspension-free, they have had several major set-backs, notably the long-term sidelining of Derek Pender, Marc Griffin and Dan Byrne.
Now midfielders Eoin Wearen (head injury) and Robbie Creevy (knee), who missed the cup match last weekend, remain out. Jake Kelly was cup-tied for the Bray game and now he is out with a hamstring injury from the earlier league match against Bray, while Anto Murphy is sidelined with an abdomen injury.
Despite this, Long insists that Bohemians “want to finish the season as strongly as we possibly can”. The squad is focused on getting the maximum return from the remaining eight games.
“We have committed to each other that we will give everything to every game. That’s the least that the team and the club deserve and we’ll see where that takes us,” Long said.
“Some games we haven’t been good enough to break down the opposition even when we’ve dominated the possession. It’s a learning curve and we are already planning ahead. But we won’t dilute the team in the coming games and we’ll be giving it a right go to the end.”