“KEEP CLIMBING”

BOHEMIANS v LONGFORD TOWN
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday September 23 2016, 7.45pm

Bohemians are in the top half of the table for the first time this season and manager Keith Long has challenged them to stay there.

Monday’s 1-0 over Wexford Youths at Dalymount Park saw the Gypsies jump from ninth place to sixth, leapfrogging Bray Wanderers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Galway United in the process.

Now overtaking Sligo Rovers is in the Gypsies’ sights as Long looks to emulate last season’s fifth-placed league finish.

He said: “We want to stay in the top half – and climb further too. Obviously we’ve played a couple more games than St Pat’s and one more than Galway United.

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“But points on the board is the most important thing. We want to finish the season as strongly as we possibly can.”

Victory against Wexford Youths came on the back of successive defeats against league leaders Dundalk and, more disappointingly, Galway United.

Errors at the back cost Bohs in the 2-0 loss away to the Tribesman.

But with a fresh centre-back pairing of Ian Morris and Derek Prendergast, Bohs looked solid in defence on Monday as they claimed their 11th clean sheet in the league this season.

Long said: “Our hand was forced on against Wexford to a certain extent.

“Stephen Best was unavailable due to a problem with his teeth and braces. Three games in eight days might have been a lot to ask of Dan Byrne too.

“Ian Morris came in and he’s an extremely experienced player. We missed Derek Prendergast’s organisational skills down in Galway too.

“It wasn’t a great game but once we got our noses in front, we looked comfortable.”

Known for his regular goal-of-the-season contenders, the game was decided by an uncharacteristic tap-in from Kurtis Byrne.

Long said: “He got a bit of help from the goalkeeper too, he was disappointed with that! We joked afterwards that he needs to get more of those.

“But Kurtis doesn’t need to prove himself to everyone. He’s our top scorer with eight in the league and 14 in all competitions.

“I think at the start of the season he would have been aiming for double figures in the league so there’s plenty of time for him to do that now and more.

“I’ve said before that he’s more of a No 10 than a No 9 but with Izzy Akinade unavailable, he’s been asked to do a different job.”

Bohs face bottom side Longford Town who, last weekend away to Finn Harps, claimed their first victory since the opening day of the season.

Long added: “It was a deserved win for them by all accounts. That will give them renewed confidence.

“They know it’s now or never for them. They’re scrapping for points. We have to be ready for that and can’t be found wanting.”

TEAM NEWS

Izzy Akinade (illness) remains out and is unlikely to feature again this season. Shane Supple (groin) is a doubt, while Stephen Best (dental) returns.

“We have to show a bit of character now”

BOHEMIANS v WEXFORD YOUTHS,
Dalymount Park, Monday September 19, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to show some character as they look to bounce back from two successive defeats on Monday night.

The Gypsies had accumulated an impressive 10 points from their previous four league outings.

They can count themselves unlucky to have lost out 2-1 to Dundalk a fortnight ago, but can have no complaints about the 2-0 defeat away to Galway United on Friday night.

Long said: “It was a disappointing result and a bitterly disappointing performance.

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“We started the game brightly. But we were loose in possession and gave the ball away too easily. It was a bad night all round.”

Victory against Galway would have seen Bohs move up to sixth. Instead, they dropped to ninth.

Long said: “We’ve dropped two places over the weekend. The table doesn’t make for pretty reading at the moment.

“There is not a lot between five or six teams in the league. We need to get back to winning ways and bridge that gap.

“We have to show a bit of character now and go out and give a performance.”

That will be easier said than done against a Wexford Youths side who took a point from their last league game at Dalymount Park in March.

Bohs have had the upper hand since, winning in the league at Ferrycarrig Park and again in the Leinster Senior Cup final at Dalymount Park last month.

Shane Keegan’s are currently second from bottom, six points clear of bottom side Longford Town and four adrift of 10-placed Finn Harps.

Long said: “They are down the bottom scrapping for points. They’ve worked extremely hard to get into this division and they’re working extremely hard to stay in it.

“We’ve got to show some guts and give a committed performance.”

Bohs welcome back Lorcan Fitzgerald and Derek Prendergast from suspension. Izzy Akinade, however, remains a doubt with illness.

Warren O’Hara and Dean Casey, who helped the Under-19s to a 1-0 win against Longford Town yesterday, could again be included in the senior team.

“It’s a good place for us to show what we can do”

GALWAY UNITED v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Eamonn Deacy Park, Friday September 16 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long is targeting a first Bohemian victory away to Galway United since September 2011 as the Gypsies look to stay ahead of tomorrow’s opposition and push up the league table.

Just one point separates Bohs in seventh and the Tribesman in eighth.

Long said: “They’re once place below us in the league, so we have to go down there and get a result.

“There hasn’t been a lot between the sides this season. Between the league and cup, we’ve won one, lost one and drawn one.

“At home, we’ve had the upper hand against them this season and last. But we want to redress our record away from home.

“We lost our last game out there 1-0. But it was a scrappy game ruined by the conditions.

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“It’s a great surface out there now, so it’s a good place for us to go and show what we can do. If we play like we did against St Pat’s in our last away game, we can get a result.”

Before the home defeat against Dundalk a fortnight ago, Bohs were on a run of 10 points from 12 and were unlucky not to extend that unbeaten sequence against the champions and league leaders.

Long said: “We played well in the second half. But that was after we went 2-0 down and obviously you have to ask why we got ourselves in that position in the first place.

“The plan was to take the game to them from the start. Perhaps we were guilty of giving them a little bit too much respect early on.

“We didn’t get enough pressure on the ball in the first half. We changed things around in the second half and started it much better.

“We were perhaps a little naive in not contesting the drop ball that led to Dundalk’s second goal.

“But we showed great character to get back into it. We brought on a second striker in Jake Kelly and went 4-4-2 to give Kurtis Byrne a bit more support.

“That gave us a bit more threat and momentum up front. We brought the game to them and got back into it with a great goal from Kurtis.

“The players and supporters responded to that – the atmosphere was great from both sets of fans. We attacked in droves and were very unlucky not to get the equaliser.”

Byrne’s sensational strike against his former club followed successful free-kicks in the previous two league games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers.

With seven league goals to his name and 13 in all competitions, he is the club’s top goalscorer this season.

With Ismahil Akinade ruled out through illness in recent weeks, Byrne has found himself in the unfamiliar position of being the team’s main striker.

But it is the quality – not quantity – of his goals that has become a talking point.

Long added: “Kurtis is a scorer of spectacular goals. He has certain qualities that other players in this league don’t have.

“To be fair, he’s started more games than he hasn’t. But he can play and has played in a variety position across the front four, so doesn’t usually lead the line.

“We haven’t always had the clean bill of health required to try Izzy and Kurtis as a No 9 and No 10 pairing this season.

“But Izzy’s absence has seen Kurtis come in at No 9. There are some flaws in his game, so we’ve changed our shape subtly to accommodate him in that position.

“But he has a good work-rate and he’s come in and done very well for us.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are once again without Akinade through illness, but are hopeful he may be ready again for Monday’s visit of Wexford Youths to Dalymount Park.

The Gypsies must also plan without defenders Derek Prendergast and Lorcan Fitzgerald through suspension. But skipper Derek Pender returns after a three-week lay-off with a thigh injury.

Under-19 team starlets Warren O’Hora and Dean Casey will again be included in the first-team squad.

“We want to show what we´re capable of”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday September 2 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long wants Bohemians to build on a positive week for the club when champions Dundalk come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

Bohs bounced back from a disappointing FAI Cup exit to Derry City a fortnight ago to record a first away win over St Patrick´s Athletic at Richmond Park in six years last Friday.

That was followed three days later with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Wexford Youths in the Leinster Senior Cup final, which saw Bohs win a trophy for the first time in six years.

Now Long has challenged his side to continue that form as they look to break into the top half of the table.

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He said: “We come into the game in a positive frame of mind. We´d an excellent win on Monday in the Leinster Senior Cup.

“It was great for people at the club to win a trophy. But we won´t be getting carried away by the Leinster Senior Cup.

“What was more satisfying was the win against St Pat´s. It was our most complete performance of the season.

“Last week, we´d been talking about how we could lift the team after our FAI Cup exit, so to bounce back with two really good performances has been pleasing.

“Everyone was gutted to go out of the FAI Cup the way we did. We still are, so it´s important we continue to show what we are capable of.

“We´ve set targets with the players and we are determined to climb up the table and finish the season strongly.”

Bohs were originally supposed to host Wexford Youths again this Friday, while Dundalk had been due to host Cork City.

International call-ups saw City postpone that clash, which led to Bohs´ fixture against Dundalk, originally scheduled for October, brought forward last week to this Friday to accommodate the Lilywhites´ Europa League fixture schedule.

Meanwhile, the Bohs v Wexford fixture has been rescheduled for Monday September 19th.

Long said: “You want to accommodate teams playing in Europe but it´s obviously not ideal. It´s not going to be ideal having just one home game in the final month of the season either.

“Dundalk were due to be our last home game of the season, you´d have expected a big crowd for that. That´s disappointing and costly for the club.

“But as a team, we just have to get on with it. We´ve had to change tack given the change of opposition, but we can bring the game to Dundalk.

“Dundalk are the benchmark everyone has to aspire to. They´ve been champions two years running and they´ve made the breakthrough in Europe.

“But we´ve given a good account of ourselves against them. We were the only team to beat them in the league last season and they needed a last-minute equaliser to stop us from doing it again a second time.

“This season, we´ve them beaten too, albeit in the Leinster Senior Cup. Even in the 0-2 defeat here, we were right in it but were undone by two clinical finishes.

“They´ll be up for it again. They´re only a point ahead at the top of the table and know they can´t afford any more slip-ups.”

Out of the cup, moving up the table is Long´s first priority for the remainder of the year. However, he also has one eye on his plans for next season too.

To that end, under-19s starlets Warren O´Hora and Dean Casey were given a taste of first-team football in the Leinster Senior Cup victory and Long plans to give youth a chance over the course of the remainder of the league campaign too.

Long added: “There is obviously always a high level of expectation at a club like Bohs. But we have to be realistic about where we are at too.

“We want to build a club that can win trophies. Success isn´t always instant. We´re part-time, so we have to be realistic about how we can set about doing that.

“We want to improve our recruitment process across all teams. From the schoolboys to under-17s, to under-19s, we want to build a pathway for players who have the potential to be good enough for the first team.

“We have good people at the club working to bring us forward. Ian Morris is a total professional looking to build the youths side of the club up, while we´ve brought in Dave Henderson as Head of Recruitment.

“We need these structures right so we can build a pipeline that bring players into the first team. We´ve had two of our under-17s – Dominic Peppard and Brandon Kavanagh – called up for international duty too. These are the type of players we want at the club.

“It was good to give Warren and Dean a taste of the first team on Monday. We´ll be looking to do more of that over the rest of the season, while getting the balance right too as we really want to move up the table as well.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs continue without skipper Derek Pender (thigh), while Izzy Akindade remains a doubt through illness.

Stephen Best (ankle) and Mark Quigley (hamstring) both returned to training this week but remain doubts.

“We’d love to deliver some silverware”

BOHEMIANS v WEXFORD YOUTHS
Leinster Senior Cup final, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm, Monday August 29 2016

Bohemians won at Richmond Park for the first time in six years on Friday – tonight the club is looking to end a six-year wait for a trophy.

A Kurtis Byrne free-kick gave the Gypsies victory against St Patrick’s Athletic three days ago and manager Keith Long is looking for more of the same when Wexford Youths come to Dalymount Park tonight.

Tonight could well be the last senior final in the ‘old’ Dalymount before the ground is redeveloped, so Long is eager for his players to deliver.

He said: “It was a great three points on Friday and we’ll be working off the same group of players tonight.

“For most of the players, tonight is a chance for them to win a senior competition for the first time.

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“This could be the last cup final at Dalymount in its current form so we’re mindful of that too.

“The Leinster Senior Cup is not on the top of your priorities but we’re in the final now.

“We would love to deliver some silverware and hopefully that can whet the appetite for next season.”

Long was happy with how his side bounced back from last week’s demoralising 2-0 FAI Cup exit at the hands of Derry City.

Bohs now sit in seventh but are just a point off the top half and five points off fifth – the club’s final position last season.

He added: “We showed a lot of courage on Friday. It was gutsy – the lads stood up.

“Going out of the FAI Cup was deflating for everyone, so it was important for us to pick ourselves up.

“We started the game brightly and we created a lot of chances and finished strongly.

“It was our 10th clean sheet in the league this season too, which was pleasing too and probably goes a bit unnoticed.

“We want to have a strong finish to the season now. There’s not all that much between a lot of the sides and we can push on into the top half.”

Bohs are once again without Stephen Best (ankle), Derek Pender (thigh) and Mark Quigley (hamstring). Izzy Akinade (illness) remains a doubt.

Website by Simon Alcock