“WE’LL HAVE A GO”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
Wednesday July 5th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to relish the challenge of taking on the standard-setters of Irish football tonight.

Three-in-a-row champions Dundalk come to Dalymount after winning their last four games in a row, scoring 15 goals and conceding none in the process.

But Long is bullish. His side are unbeaten in four too with 10 points from a possible 12.

He said: “This is an opportunity to go head-to-head with the reigning champions. They’re a team who have set the standard for domestic football in recent years.

“Dundalk will feel they are hitting top form as they enter into their European campaig and we will have to be at our very best to get something from the game.

“It is a great opportunity for our boys to test themselves against a top side and it’s a challenge that I believe we are ready for as we come into the game with a good run of recent results.”

Bohs will, however, be without Dan Byrne and Oscar Brennan through suspension.

Ciaran O’Connor, who joined Bohs yesterday until the end of the season, and Georgie Poynton are also unavailable under the terms of their loan agreements from Dundalk.

But Rob Cornwall (hip) returns from injury and could line up at the back alongside promising defender Warren O’Hora, who made his league debut off the bench against St Patrick’s Athletic last month and made his first league start in the victory against Sligo Rovers last time out.

Long said: “It will be extremely difficult without Dano, Oscar and George. But Rob coming back is a big bonus. We feel there is healthy competition for places across the squad.

“The players have been really good showing great desire and hunger on the training ground, working extremely hard to improve individually and collectively.

“I believe we are now seeing the benefits of that in our performances.

“We have done okay so far this season against teams the are in and around us in the table, so the challenge for us tonight is to see how far we have come as a group and to get up against Dundalk, test our opponents, test ourselves, test our skill levels and to have a go.”

The arrival of striker O’Connor further strengthens Long’s squad following the additions of Stephen Donnelly and Keith Dalton.

Long hopes to further strengthen his squad in the coming weeks, something that would not have been achievable were it not for the support of members and fans for the Player Fund.

He added: “I would once again reiterate our appreciation of your efforts as supporters to help us raise funds to bring in some new players and to try and make the squad stronger in the July transfer window.”

“WE ALL WANT MORE NIGHTS LIKE THAT”

​BOHEMIANS v SLIGO ROVERS
Friday June 23 2017, 7.45pm, Dalymount Park

Keith Long hopes last week’s Dublin derby victory has whetted the appetite for challenges ahead – for players and supporters alike.

The first game back after the mid-season break, Bohemians were trailing 1-0 at half-time against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park after a disappointing opening 45 minutes.

But, roared on by a passionate away support, Long’s men stormed back with a confident second-half performance to win 3-1.

That result leaves Bohs in seventh place, seven points off the European places but also six points off the relegation zone.

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With that in mind, Long is keeping feet firmly on the ground as the Gypsies welcome Sligo Rovers to Dalymount Park.

He said: “It was a very important win against St Pat’s.

“In previous seasons, we have been slow coming back off the mid-season break so it was vital, having drawn our last home game against Drogheda, that we got something from the game.

“Our second-half performance was really good and it was in line with what we feel this group of players is capable of.

“In the first half, we weren’t at the races. Pat’s deservedly went in at half-time in front.

“Oscar Brennan set the tone for the second half by showing great desire to be first to a 50-50 ball and great composure to slot the ball home to bring us back into the game.

“Dinny Corcoran continued his fine form in front of goal with an expert finish from a sublime Keith Ward pass.

“The night was complete when Georgie showed great energy to get on to another piece of clever play from Wardy and finish to the bottom corner.”

The victory sparked joyous celebrations in The Shed End of Richmond Park and Long appealed to those same supporters to assist the Player Fund set up by club members and fans last week.

Long said: “The scenes afterwards typify this club. We brought another big travelling support and the atmosphere generated on the back of what the lads produced on the pitch really spurred the players on.

“We all want more nights like that – more performances like the second half. If we can produce that, it could be an exciting second half of the season.

“We must, however, guard against any sort of complacency – throughout the club. We are not good enough to be complacent against any team.

“We are involved in a massive battle. The transfer window will open on July 1 and it’s important we try and strengthen our squad to give us the best chance of competing.

“Our rivals will invest. Case in point is our opponents tomorrow announcing the signing of two professional players from the UK (Rhys McCabe and Benny Igiehon).

“With three teams going down this year, other clubs will follow suit.

“It’s a difficult window to get players in but, if possible, we must recruit well and affect the squad in a positive way.

“Resources are finite and the recent appeal for donations to a player fund highlights this fact.

“But Bohs supporters are proud people who love their club and have always got behind any drive to support the club.

“We need their support. I have always said I want the players and supporters to be together. The rapport this group has built up with them is fantastic.

“Now we need them now more than ever to get behind the lads.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians welcome Lorcan Fitzgerald back from suspension. But Dylan Hayes remains suspended as he serves the last of his three-game ban.

Defenders Rob Cornwall (hip) and Ian Morris (knee) are both doubtful meaning 18-year-old defender Warren O’Hora, who made his league debut off the bench last week, could once again step in.

Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain on the sidelines.

 

“IT’S A GOOD GAME TO START BACK WITH”

​ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
Friday June 16th 2017, Richmond Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians go into tomorrow’s Dublin derby determined to hit the ground running after the mid-season break.

Just five points separate the sides with Bohs currently seventh on 20 points and St Pat’s second from bottom on 15.

In an extremely congested table, the Gypsies are seven points off fourth place but also six points off the bottom.

Bohs manager Keith Long is keen to get points on the board to ensure the Gypsies are looking up the table rather than over their shoulders.

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Four of Bohs’ six wins this season have come away from home and Long is determined to add to that tomorrow.

He said: “We could have done without the mid-season break, I don’t really see the point of it.

“But it’s a good game to start back with. It’s a Dublin derby and Richmond Park is a great surface to play on.”

A full-time side, few would have predicted that St Pat’s would be sitting in the relegation zone.

But Long says his side will not get lulled into a false sense of security – Liam Buckley’s side have already humbled the Gypsies 4-0 in Dalymount Park this season.

Long added: “The table doesn’t lie but they turned us over the last time we played them, so we know all about the quality they possess.

“But we have to concentrate on our own game and ensure we put in a good performance.

“We’ve worked hard in training all week and we’ve hammered that home to the players.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs must plan without suspended duo Lorcan Fitzgerald (five yellow cards) and Dylan Hayes (additional two-match suspension following red card v Limerick).

Ismahil Akinade has stepped up his rehabilitation from surgery (to remove his spleen) by playing 45 minutes in a training game on Wednesday night. But he is still not ready to be considered for first-team action.

Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remains sidelined. Striker Steo Donnelly, signed from Usher Celtic, is not yet eligible to play.

“WE HAVE TO IMPROVE HOME FORM”

​BOHEMIANS v DROGHEDA UNITED
Friday June 2nd, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to start making “home advantage pay” as they bid to go into the mid-season break on a high.

In a congested mid-table, the Gypsies sit seventh on 19 points with six league wins to their name so far this term.

But four of those have come on the road and, with a strong home support so far this year, Long believes it is time to give the Dalymount faithful something to cheer about.

After an elating 2-1 victory in Bray two weeks ago, Bohs fell flat at home in a 2-1 defeat to Limerick four days later.

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They bounced back with a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Galway United last Friday night and now Long has told his troops to match that level of performance at home.

He said: “We will endeavour to end the first half of the season on a positive note before the mid-season break.

“Dalymount is a fantastic place to play football but we have to improve our home form in order for us to gain a measure of consistency.

“We have lost too many games at Dalymount despite the fact that our attendances have been very good and our supporters have been right behind us in every game.

“We’ve let ourselves down to an extent at home so far this campaign. We need to start grinding out results and make home advantage pay.

“If we can do that and continue our decent away form, we will give ourselves every chance of climbing the table.”

Long was particularly disappointed with the manner in which his side failed to register any points on the board from their last home game.

Having fallen behind to Limerick after 15 minutes, the Gypsies equalised through Georgie Poynton on the half-hour mark.

Momentum was in Bohs’ favour going in at the break, but they failed to push on in the second half and were left empty-handed when miscommunication at the back saw Dan Byrne’s own goal win it for Neil McDonald’s men.

Long said: “We were extremely disappointed. If ever there was a game that highlighted our home form, that was it.

“We didn’t play particularly well. When the game was in the balance, we needed to bring the game to the opposition but came up short.

“We conceded a late goal which was gut-wrenching in a game that we didn’t play well in but should have got something from.

“As a group we can learn from this and ensure that in future we are more demanding of each other and have leaders all over the pitch who are prepared to whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Despite the manner of that defeat, heads did not drop for the trip to Eamonn Deacy Park three days later as goals from Dinny Corcoran and Lorcan Fitzgerald secured all three points.

Long said: “We scored two really good goals in the first half and were dangerous on the break. But we really had to dig deep and soak up a lot of Galway pressure in the second half to get the points.

“It was difficult for the players having played three games in a week but the lads showed great determination and spirit to come away with a hard-earned win.”

In Pete Mahon’s ninth-placed Drogheda, Bohs once again face another side looking over their shoulders and scrapping for points.

Long added: “Drogheda have proved difficult opponents for us this season and we enjoyed the rub of the green in United Park.

They have some talented players and a very experienced backroom team. It is imperative now that we try and follow up last Friday’s good result with another win.”

TEAM NEWS

Paddy Kavanagh, who missed last week’s trip to Galway with a rib injury, remains a doubt. Dylan Hayes returns from suspension.

Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (recovering from surgery to remove spleen) remain sidelined.

TEAM NEWS v GALWAY

​GALWAY UNITED v BOHEMIANS
Friday May 26th, Eamonn Deacy Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians captain Derek Pender, a late withdrawal for the starting line-up against Limerick on Tuesday, remains a doubt with a groin injury.

Paddy Kavanagh is set to miss out with a rib injury sustained in the same game, while Dylan Hayes is suspended after his late red card.

Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (recovering from surgery to remove spleen) remain sidelined.

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