“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.

“We have to roll up our sleeves”

MATCH AND MATCHBALL SPONSOR: TOM GERAGHTY​

Keith Long has urged Bohemians to roll up their sleeves and tighten up at the back.

They welcome Limerick to Dalymount Park tomorrow with both sides level on nine points – Long’s side nudging seventh place on goal difference.

The Gypsies are yet to keep a clean sheet this season in nine league games and two EA Sports Cup ties.

It has been a source of much frustration as some overall promising performances have come unstuck due to defensive errors.

That was the case in Oriel Park last Friday as a clinical Dundalk side punished Bohs’ mistakes to win 3-0.

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Long said: “We conceded poor goals again. We just can’t continue to do that.

“We started off well, Dundalk were passing the ball well and had a lot of possession but they couldn’t get near us.

“But then we shot ourselves in the foot in a seven-minute period and found ourselves 2-0 down. Those goals were avoidable.

“We were a lot better in the second half but the damage was already done and Dundalk were comfortable at that stage.

“We did look the more likely team to score for much of the half before they got their third.

“Danny Grant came on for his league debut and did well. He should have had a penalty and he was probably a little too honest staying on his feet as he was fouled.

“At 2-0, that could have brought us back into the game but the damage was done with those mistakes in the first half.”

With two games a week for the past month taking its toll with a growing injury list, Long once again opted to use the EA Sports Cup as an opportunity to give both youth and players needing game-time a chance to show what they can do.

Having gone 2-0 down against First Division table-toppers UCD on Easter Monday, the experimental side battled back to 2-2 to force extra-time and a penalty shootout.

The game also ended Bohs’ unfortunate run of missing three penalties in a row (Eoghan Stokes v Derry, Keith Ward v St Pat’s and Dylan Watts v Cabinteely although the latter scored the rebound).

First, JJ Lunney scored from the spot to force extra-time and Bohs scored all five in the subsequent shootout with Stokes atoning for his penalty miss earlier in the season by netting the decisive spot-kick.

Long said: “We made 10 changes to the starting team that played against Dundalk. Dan Casey was the only player to start both games but we had taken him off against Dundalk.

“That game was a great test of where our younger players are at – UCD are in form at the top of the First Division and they played their strongest team.

“The team that we put out haven’t played a lot of football together, so there were mistakes. But they didn’t let their heads drop and the players took control of the game to turn it around.”

Last time Bohs faced Limerick, it took a late effort from Stokes for Bohs to salvage a point despite bossing much of the game.

Long added: “We have to roll up our sleeves. We are at home tomorrow and we want to deliver a good performance.

“There was a good Bohs crowd up in Dundalk and our supporters expected us to do better.

“But they are realistic too. Everyone knows that with the ten-team league and clubs with stronger resources, now more than ever there aren’t easy games.

“We want the fans on our side from the start again and the atmosphere to be right.

“If games are in the balance, our fans can really play their part.

“They can give our players that little bit of extra confidence, so we hope Dalymount is bouncing again and an intimidating place for teams to come and play.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender (calf) will sit this one out again. Kevin Devaney (virus), Philly Gannon (hamstring) and Rob Cornwall (back) are all also sidelined.

Dan Byrne (groin), Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Paddy Kavanagh (hamstring) are all doubts.

Long-term absentees Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

“Players have given me a lot to think about”

​DUNDALK v BOHEMIANS
Friday March 30 2018
Oriel Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians travel to Dundalk tomorrow buoyed by two wins in four days.

But manager Keith Long insists performance levels must continue to improve if they are to get anything out of the game at Oriel Park.

The Gypsies got back to winning ways last Friday with Dinny Cororan’s injury-time goal – his first of the season – giving them a 2-1 victory against Bray Wanderers.

It was a scrappy game but Bohs will feel they deserved that slice of luck that had evaded them in previous weeks despite superior performances.

Long said: “We’ve had two good results but neither will have any bearing coming up against a team like Dundalk.

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“We know our performance levels have to be much better than they were against Bray, especially against the likes of Dundalk.

“They’ve been the team to beat for a number of years so we will need to be resolute.

“We got a bit of luck in the end against Bray that we haven’t had in previous games.

“But you have to make your own luck and it was an excellent goal – great composure from Dinny to finish and excellent play from Keith Ward to set him up.

“It’s important Dinny got off the mark. He’s an important player for us but he’s struggled a bit since pre-season with a groin injury niggling at him.

“He wasn’t really in the game much before that. But when he was handed that chance, he took it and that’s what good goalscorers like Dinny do.”

Bohs followed that win up with a comprehensive 5-1 victory against Cabinteely in the EA Sports Cup on Monday.

That was a more satisfying performance, particularly as it was an experimental line-up featuring several players needing game-time and members of the club’s U19 team.

Three U19 stars made their first-team debuts: Daniel Grant, who scored, Ryan Graydon and Dylan Thornton.

In total, eight – adding Dan Byrne, Jamie Hamilton, John Ross Wilson, Paddy Kirk and Steven Nolan – of the 14 players who saw game-time came through the club’s youth system.

A further four – Sean Bohan, Cian McMullen, Mitch Byrne and Luke Nolan – were the unused substitutes.

Long said: “Several lads have put their hands up now. We could have scored more. It was an excellent performance overall, albeit against First Division opposition.

“We started a bit shakily, which is understandable when you take into account the back five hadn’t played a game at all this season never mind playing a game together.

“As well as the younger players, some of the more senior players came into the team and did very well.

“Dan Byrne captained the side and didn’t put a foot wrong. I felt Philly Gannon also gave a very mature performance and Dylan Watts scored twice and was excellent.

“Several players have given me a lot to think about and it’s not a bad headache to have.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender (calf) remains out, while Kevin Devaney (illness) is also sidelined. Karl Moore (back) is a doubt.

Strikers Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) remain out.

U19 striker Danny Grant, who scored on his first-team debut against Cabinteely, is expected to make the bench.

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