“We’ve fallen behind in too many games”

BOHEMIANS v WATERFORD
Monday April 30 2018, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Match sponsor: Litho Supplies/Fujifilm. Matchball sponsor: Bang Bang

The best and worst aspects of Bohemians’ season were to the fore as they battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away to St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.

It was an important point as a win for St Pat’s would have put them eight points ahead of the Gypsies, who would have fallen into the play-off spot.

Now manager Keith Long has challenged his team, who remained in seventh place, to draw momentum from the manner of their comeback with the aim of climbing the table – starting tomorrow when Waterford come to Dalymount Park.

Falling behind in games has been a frustration. The Gypsies have conceded first in 14 of their 16 games in all competitions this season and have only kept one clean sheet.

That was the case once more on Friday as St Pat’s scored in the third minute of both halves.

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Bohs do not lack perseverance, however.

Eight of the team’s 13 league points this season have been won thanks to goals in injury-time: 1-1 v Limerick (Stokes 90), 2-1 v Bray (Corcoran 91), 2-1 Rovers (Leahy 99) and 2-2 St Pat’s (Devaney 93).

Long said: “We were off the pace in the first half. St Pat’s were first to everything at times.

“It sounds like I’m hitting pause, rewind and repeat every week but we simply have to cut out these errors.

“We need to tighten up. We’ve fallen behind in too many games.

“We conceded early in both halves and again that gave us another uphill struggle.”

Bohs were given a lifeline when St Pat’s were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Ryan Brennan on 52 minutes.

Long said: “The sending-off definitely changed the game. It helped us gain a foothold but the lads persevered to get the second goal.”

And the manager was delighted too to see Dinny Corcoran hitting the net once more.

He pulled one back on 73 minutes and while most match reports attributed the injury-time equaliser to Kevin Devaney, Long is adamant it was Corcoran’s.

He said: “Dinny got both goals – he got the final touch on the second. It’s important for him and will hopefully give him a confidence boost.

“He struggled with injuries in pre-season but he’s looking a lot sharper in training lately and hopefully this will do him no end of good.”

But against high-flying Waterford, they face a side who have already beaten them this season.

He said: “This is a different challenge tomorrow.

“Waterford will be very tough opponents. They’re third in the league for a reason.

“They’ve beaten us down in the RSC already. We felt we should have got something out of that game but we know we have to be at our very best.”

TEAM NEWS

Paddy Kavanagh serves an additional one-match ban for his red card against Derry a fortnight ago.

Captain Derek Pender (calf) and Karl Moore (knee) remain out alongside long-term absentees Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal).

Shane Supple (knee) and Rob Cornwall (back) are considered doubtful but Danny Grant (hamstring) returns.

“We have to be ruthless in both boxes”

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
Friday April 27, Richmond Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians need to be “ruthless in both boxes” if they are to start turning good performances into results.

Keith Long’s men have earned deserved plaudits for their style of play at times this season.

But mistakes at the back and a lack of cutting edge up front has cost them dearly.

That was the case last Friday when a clinical Cork City came away from Dalymount Park with a 2-0 victory.

The scoreline flattered the champions as Bohs were once again left frustrated at their inability to turn possession and chances into goals.

Some of the quality on show in many of the Gypsies’ performances deserves to see them higher up the table.

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But Long won’t entertain any notion of his team feeling sorry for themselves – and has once again challenged them to address their shortcomings.

He said: “Yes, the football we’ve been playing has at times been exciting and pleasing to watch.

“We were good enough on the night to get something out of that game. We created a lot in the first half and had most of the possession in the second.

“But we have to cut out those basic errors if we are to climb up the table. You need to keep clean sheets to give yourself the best chance of getting a result.

“It is a results business and it’s results that people will remember.

“You could say we were unlucky on occasion but that’s down to us not being ruthless enough in attack and at the back.

“The players fully understand that. There’s resolution in this team as to how we want to play.

“We are improving and evolving. I’m confident that we will turn performances into results.

“But we need to believe in ourselves more, be more clinical in front of goal and stronger at the back to give ourselves a chance.”

Long is among a number of managers who have voiced frustrations with the scheduling of fixtures this year.

The Gypsies have played 15 games in all competitions since the season kicked off on February 16.

And they face five in 15 days starting tomorrow evening against St Pat’s at Richmond Park.

With fixtures coming thick and fast, the durability of Long’s squad has been tested to the max.

This week, however, has provided a breather of sorts – it is only the fourth time this season that the team has had a full week to prepare for a game.

Long said: “We’ve had a week to prepare and that will help bodies to recover. I expect our players to be fresher than they have been.

“As I’ve said before, the number of fixtures being front-loaded at the start of the season has affected teams’ ability to recover and preparations before games.

“It’s something that needs to be looked at next season.”

Against sixth-place St Pat’s, Bohs face a side just one place but five points ahead of them in the table.

Bohs are desperate to close that gap, but that won’t be easy.

Long added: “St Pat’s are a different proposition for teams than they were last season.

“They’re not conceding many and have been in every game. They’ve drawn with Dundalk and knocked them out of the EA Sports Cup.

“They’ve gone up to Derry and down to Cork and were very unlucky in both, losing by the odd goal. So they’re serious opponents for any team.

“They’ve already beaten us 1-0 this season in another game where we failed to take our chances.

“So it’s the same message again – we have to be ruthless in both boxes.

“But Richmond Park is usually a good surface to play on and it’s somewhere we tend to a bring a vocal travelling support. We’re really looking forward to it.”

TEAM NEWS

Paddy Kavanagh returns from suspension but will miss Monday’s visit of Waterford to Dalymount Park after receiving an additional one-match ban for his red card against Derry City.

Danny Grant (hamstring) and Karl Moore (knee) will sit this one out. They join Derek Pender (calf), Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) on the absentee list.

Oscar Brennan (ankle) returns.

“The challenge for us all is to reproduce that intensity and create more nights like those”

BOHEMIANS v CORK CITY
Friday April 20, Dalymount Park, 8pm
MATCH SPONSOR:  The Phibsborough House
MATCHBALL SPONSOR: AM Heating and Plumbing

Keith Long says Bohemians have to be at their best on and off the pitch to get a result when champions Cork City come to Dalymount Park tomorrow.

Bohs have pulled off surprise results against the Leesiders in the past – they ended their 22-match unbeaten run last season.

But Long is always at pains to point out that past results and performances count for nothing.

Long said: “We’re playing the double winners so everything has to be right – both performance and atmosphere.

“Cork are champions for a reason. If you’re not ready for them, they will punish you.”

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Long is keen to emphasise how the support his players receive from the stands can also play a huge part in helping them over the line when a game is in the balance.

He said: “Our crowd out in Tallaght last week was excellent. The scenes at the end between players and fans were beautiful.

“You close your eyes at the end when the winner went in and listen to the noise. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what you want from football.

“But you can’t dwell on that. The challenge for us all is to reproduce that intensity and create more nights like those.

“We need our fans behind us, particularly when it’s 0-0, if you’re a goal down or if the game is in the balance. That’s when we need our fans the most.

“That’s what we had out in Tallaght and that encouragement helped us get over the line at the very end.

“We need that again at Dalymount tomorrow night.”

The Gypsies come into this game on the back of yet another hectic schedule.

Last Friday, they claimed Dublin Derby bragging rights with a 99th-minute winner to beat Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in Tallaght.

The intensity of that battle took its toll on Long’s men who faced a daunting trip to face a bullish Derry City in the Brandywell three nights later.

The Candystripes have had Bohs’ number in recent seasons, winning the previous eight meetings between the sides.

And Kenny Shiels’ in-form side made it five wins from five at the refurbished Brandywell this season with a 3-1 win.

Long said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game from the outset.

“We felt we needed to make five changes from the side played in Tallaght as the intensity of that game is hard to recover from in three days.

“That’s why you have a squad – you have to change things around as it’s a hectic schedule this season – as it is for all teams – and players don’t always have the time to recover.

“And Derry have some excellent players. They’re on a good run of form and have used the return to the Brandywell to their advantage.

“We conceded a bad goal and then conceded straight after the red card for Paddy Kavanagh.

“We created chances ourselves too though – Dinny Corcoran had two good opportunities to score at 2-1 and Eoghan Stokes had one also.

“Then when you’re chasing the equaliser, especially with ten men, you’re vulnerable at the back and Derry get the third in injury time.

“That’s the third time that’s happened to us this season, conceding after 90 minutes when chasing an equaliser.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender (calf) is still a doubt, while Paddy Kavanagh is suspended after being sent off against Derry City.

Oscar Brennan (ankle) remains out alongside long-term absentees Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate).

“we can’t afford to get carried away by one result”

DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS
Monday April 16 2018
The Brandywell, 7.45pm

With fans still beaming after Friday’s Dublin Derby win, boss Keith Long and his team immediately switched attention to tomorrow’s trip to face Derry City.

In an excellent team performance against Shamrock Rovers, the Gypsies netted in the ninth minute of injury time to claim what was only the club’s third victory over the Hoops in Tallaght in nine years.

Eighteen-year-old Danny Grant – in his second first-team start – set up 19-year-old Darragh Leahy to send the vocal travelling support home delirious.

Earlier, Dan Byrne, who grew up supporting the Gypsies from the Jodi Stand, cancelled out Dan Carr’s opener.

After the game, Byrne summed it up: “That’s what I dreamed of when I was 10 years of age.”

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It was Bohs’ third win in a row over the Hoops and the late winner was no more than their efforts and play deserved.

But while fans are soaking it all up, Long has not fallen into the temptation of dwelling on the result.

Failure to build on the team’s season opener win against Shamrock Rovers in February had been a source of frustration for Long. So for him and his team, it’s straight on to the next battle.

He said: “It’s important for us to climb the table, so we can’t afford to get carried away by one result.

“It was an excellent performance. The challenge now is to try and reproduce that every week.

“It’s a quick turnaround playing on Friday and travelling up to Derry – especially given the intensity of a derby – so obviously we will have to freshen things up.

“But Derry have had to come down to Dalymount on a Tuesday already this season too for the corresponding fixture, so it’s the same for every team the way fixtures have been scheduled this year.”

Derry’s much-anticipated return to the refurbished Brandywell this season has bolstered a side that Bohs have struggled to get to grips with in recent seasons.

Since Kenny Shiels took charge at the start of the 2016 season, the Candystripes have won all eight games against the Gypsies in the league and cup.

Long added: “Tomorrow is a huge challenge for us. Derry have won every game they’ve played since returning to the Brandywell.

“They’re flying back at the Brandywell and have had vocal support behind them for every game.

“Our record against them in recent seasons has been poor, so we have to be at our very best to try and rectify that.

“It’s a good pitch to play on and we’ll be looking forward to the challenge.”

TEAM NEWS

Dan Casey (concussion) returns.

Derek Pender (calf) and Oscar Brennan (ankle) remain out alongside long-term absentees Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate).

Dan Byrne, who hobbled off with cramp on Friday, is okay to play.

Luke O’Riordan

“the priorities for both teams is always the result”

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Friday April 13, Tallaght Stadium, 8pm

Earlier this week, Bohemians players and management bonded over hot curries.

Tomorrow night, things will get considerably spicier as the Gypsies travel to Tallaght Stadium for the second Dublin Derby of the season against Shamrock Rovers.

On Tuesday night after training, Keith Long’s backroom team and players met for a sit-down meal.

The occasion was to officially mark the club’s new partnership with Camile Thai Phibsborough – a restaurant literally a stone’s throw from Dalymount Park.

They could handle the heat there and now the more daunting challenge is to do so once again in the ever soaring temperatures of a tasty derby battle.

​Bohs kicked off the 2018 season by coming from behind to beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in Dalymount Park in February.

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Trips to Tallaght, however, have proven considerably more difficult since the Hoops moved there in 2009.

Just twice in those nine years have the Gypsies come away with three points from the Dublin 24 venue.

The first win didn’t arrive until 2012 when Kevin Devaney – back at the club this season – netted the only goal of the game.

The second came at the sides’ last meeting there in 2017 when goals from Dinny Corcoran and Ismahil Akinade finally gave travelling Bohs fans the bragging rights once more.

Undeterred, manager Long said: “Previous results against Rovers will have little bearing on this one.

“Previous meetings, form, your position in the table… they can go out the window. It can come down to which side wants it more.

“It’s not always the prettiest spectacle, the priorities for both teams is always the result.

“Rovers will have been hurting after us coming from behind to beat them the last time so as a team, we have to be prepared for a backlash.

“But our focus has to be on ourselves and our own performance.

“We expect a big vocal travelling crowd and both team and supporters will be looking to get the result.”

To do so, Bohs will be looking to build on their first clean sheet of the season, which came in last week’s 0-0 draw against Limerick at Dalymount Park.

But they know they will also need to be sharper in front of goal too – the Gypsies played some tidy football and created several chances but were frustratingly kept scoreless.

That game also ruled Dan Casey – two-goal hero against Rovers in February – out of tomorrow’s rematch as he recovers after suffering concussion.

Long added: “We dominated the game and our performance deserved to get all three points.

“We created chances, we put the ball into good areas but we couldn’t find that final touch.

“In many ways, it was probably our most complete performance of the season. If we can play like that every week, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

TEAM NEWS

Dan Casey is ruled out after suffering concussion against Limerick.

He joins Oscar Brennan (ankle), Philly Gannon (hamstring) and long-term absentees Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) on the sidelines.

Skipper Derek Pender (calf) trained this week but is regarded as a doubt as are Dan Byrne (groin) and John Ross Wilson (illness).

But Rob Cornwall (back), Paddy Kavanagh (hamstring) and Kevin Devaney (virus) come back into contention.

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