“UCD ARE NOT AN EASY TEAM”

BOHEMIANS v UCD (Dalymount Park, Friday August 2nd, 7.45pm)

Bohemians begin the last cycle of league games with a match that could change the look of the bottom third of the league table.

A single point and a single goal in goal difference separate Bohemians and UCD, who have two wins each in the four games they have played against each other this season.

“UCD are not an easy team. Look at their results against [Shamrock] Rovers and how they could have been 2-0 up against Shels last week. Even when they went down to nine men, Shels only beat them 2-1,” said Bohs caretaker boss Owen Heary. “You can’t take them lightly. Martin [Russell] has done a fantastic job there.”

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Heary is looking to the fans to help his side turn Dalymount performances into wins. He is looking for “that effort from everyone – myself, the players, the fans, the club as a whole” to improve Bohemians’ position.

“The fans were brilliant last week and you saw how the players celebrated the goal with them. You could sense that the lads were playing for the club,” said Heary.

“The players will make mistakes. But what matters is how you react to mistakes. If they get a positive reaction even when they make a mistake we can be all right.”

Last week’s draw against Drogheda United was encouraging, according to the manager. “We were without Derek Pender, Luke Byrne and Dave Mulcahy and Drogheda are a decent side, physically strong and well drilled. So, I was pleased to get the point out of it. It felt like a win at the end,” said Heary.

“We know from past games that, 1-0 down, we can drop our heads. The players showed great character. They bounced back, they didn’t give up and we scored a late goal, just as we scored late goals against Bray.”

When Bohemians and UCD met last in the league in May, Bohs were eight points ahead of the Students in the table, but went down 1-0 to an early goal in a feisty encounter that featured five yellow cards and a red.

The balance between the sides has changed as Heary takes his place in the dug-out for the first time since his appointment as caretaker manager. Graham O’Hanlon, coach of the under-19 team, will be at his side.

“Standing in the gantry you get to see every player and you have a better view than when you’re on the sideline. Against Drogheda I could see that we lost our shape once or twice,” said Heary. “Now I’m hoping that the lads will get positive encouragement from having me on the sideline.”

The manager was delighted at the crowd’s reaction to Anto Murphy’s return to the club but also at his former team-mate’s performance. “He went straight into defence, winning headers, winning tackles. He played some great balls and then he comes up trumps with the one throw that he had.”

Dave Mulcahy (ankle injury) faces a late fitness test for Friday. Ryan McEvoy has a recurrence of the ankle injury that kept him out for several games last month and he and Chris Lyons (bruised ribs) are likely to miss Friday’s game. But Shane Murray has trained all week following his ankle injury and is available.

Heary has brought in an additional defender/midfielder for the last round of the campaign. Daniel Byrne (20) has re-signed from Kilbarrack United, having previously been a member of Bohemians’ under-19 squad. Meanwhile, Zein Albehadlie, Conor O’Brien, Michael Scott and Santiago Miguel Falbo have been released from the senior squad.

“if the fans see the lads playing for the jersey, we can count on their support”

BOHEMIANS v DROGHEDA UNITED (Dalymount Park, Friday July 26th, 7.45pm)

Bohemians go in search of their first back-to-back wins of the season as they host Drogheda United on Friday.

Caretaker manager Owen Heary aims to channel the players’ pride at last week’s defeat of Bray to securing another win and putting his team within one point of this week’s opponents.

“We will have to start the game again at high intensity and keep that up. The players showed they could do that against Bray. We saw Karl Moore set the tone early on. He tackled back a few times as well as pressing the opposition high up the pitch.

“But from Dean [Delaney, in goal] right up through the team, all the players put in their shift,” said Heary.

The manager has drawn strength from the support the “brilliant” fans gave the team in Bray.

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“I’m telling the players that if we produce that kind of performance week in, week out, and if the fans see the lads playing for the jersey, we can count on their support,” he said.

“Expectations have gone up after that match and we have to be aware of that. But we also can’t go into our shells after one win. We have to go out and do it again and the fans will get behind us.”

Drogheda United have, like Bohemians, found it hard to get league wins over recent months. Their last victory came in mid-May, away to Limerick. But the Bohemian manager is not under-estimating them.

“They have had to deal with European commitments. They have done fantastically well last season and at the start of this season. And they don’t become a bad team overnight,” he said.

Heary is organising his campaign as caretaker manager on a match-by-match basis, not knowing how long he will be in position. “We are giving the players all the information they need about the next opponents, but I cannot set targets for groups of games, as I would like to.”

For Friday, he has to plan without suspended defenders Derek Pender and Luke Byrne. However, he has signed former Bohemian team-mate Anto Murphy and will bring him into action immediately in the centre of defence.

Utility player Murphy has been most recently with FAI Junior Cup-holders Sheriff YC, and had spells with St Patrick’s Athletic and Shelbourne since he was a trophy-winner with Bohemians. He has joined his old club days before his 31st birthday (1st August).

“He is technically good, he works hard, he’s good in the air and he has a lot of the attributes as well as the experience that we need in our side,” said Heary.

Ciaran Nangle is likely to return to the left side of defence. But Murphy’s arrival avoids having to move Dave Mulcahy back; he took a knock against Bray last week but should be fit to play his commanding role in midfield.

Midfielder Shane Murray (ankle injury) may not be available for Friday but a new option in midfield is recruit Stephen Doran (24), who has returned to his native Dublin after four years in the United States.

Doran has played with Martin Methodist College (Tennessee) and Rocket City United (Alabama) and has been training with the Bohemian squad for the past month and played in recent friendlies.

“We need to be well organised and structured”

BRAY WANDERERS v BOHEMIANS (Friday July 18th, Carlisle Grounds, 7.45pm)

Bohemians have been focusing on tighter organisation and playing further up the pitch as they prepare for their first match under caretaker manager Owen Heary.

They go to Bray determined to start a run of results that will ensure their survival in the league’s Premier Division.

“I’ve told the team it doesn’t matter how we play once we get results. We may be overplaying at times at the back and then leaving ourselves open when the ball breaks,” said Heary.

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“We need to be tighter at the back and get higher up the park, playing in the last third more than in our own back third. If you look at the strongest teams in the league, they clear their lines and play further up the pitch, and we need to do that too.”

Adapting from the short-passing style of play that has been the team’s trademark should not be a problem, according to Heary.

“The lads know they have to defend with their lives. They know where we are, and they know what I’m talking about. We’ll learn a lot on Friday about whether we can make it happen.”

Bray represent strong opposition, with some very experienced and some big players, Heary notes, though they have been conceding goals as well as scoring them. “It will be a tough game but we’ll have no fear going there. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to be well organised and structured,” said Heary. “The lads have shown in training they’re raring to go.”

Heary has reduced the numbers in senior team training to concentrate on the 22 players who are most likely to feature in the remaining games.

Aaron Callaghan’s last signing, defender Mark Byrne (22) from Crumlin United, has joined the squad but Owen Heary hopes to add a strong, experienced centre-half and he has a shortlist of candidates.

Dinny Corcoran’s return to Bohemians’ forward line is welcome; he has already shown that he can be an effective partner with Chris Lyons, says Heary.

The caretaker manager is in the relatively fortunate position of having his full squad available for Friday. Ciaran Nangle, Stephen Traynor and Ryan McEvoy (23 on Friday) have returned to training, having all been sidelined with ankle injuries.

Andy Mulligan has returned from the World University Games in Russia, where the Ireland team had its best-ever finish in fifth place, ending their campaign with a 3-1 defeat of Ukraine last Sunday.

Heary himself will not be in the dug-out on Friday; his suspension for last Friday’s sending-off as a player applies to him as a manager and will keep him out for three matches in total.  He has brought in under-19 coach Graham O’Hanlon,  who has worked closely with all the former under-age Bohemians, to run operations alongside first-team coach Terry Butler.  

“THREE GOOD PERFORMANCES, THREE BAD RESULTS”

DUNDALK v BOHEMIANS (Oriel Park, Friday July 13th, 7.45pm)

Bohemians go to Dundalk determined to get league points after a series of “good performances, but bad results”, according to manager Aaron Callaghan.

The Bohemian manager is strongly focused on getting his team to create and take goal-scoring opportunities.

“What we have had in the last three games is three good performances but three bad results”, said Callaghan.

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“Goals are hard to come by in any league. Look at what Paris St German are paying Ibrahimovich to make a difference for them. It’s been a problem for us, last season and this season but goal-scorers are few and far between.”

Having signed Conor Murphy in the last fortnight, Callaghan is also looking at signing other forwards.

The series of three friendlies in three weeks, starting with Derby County next Saturday (kick-off 3pm), gives the Bohemian manager opportunities to look more closely at potential recruits.

“We’ll give most of the lads who play on Friday game-time against Derby and Bradford, so they can test their skills against opposition of this kind,” Callaghan said.

“But we‘ll bring on some of the lads who have not been getting so much match experience. Plus, we have a couple of players coming in from England and some others we’re having a look at, from the Leinster Senior League and one lad coming back from America.”

Callaghan expects to sign some players, especially with a view to strengthening the attack. In defence, he notes his team has “paid heavily” for errors, but he is full of praise for how Roberto Lopes and Luke Byrne have taken on their responsibilities as centre-backs.

“They’re only in their second season in a very tough league. They are fantastic young footballers and they are going to be very good in the future, whether they are playing in Ireland or the UK,” he said.

Callaghan must plan for Friday without Stephen Traynor (ankle injury) and Andy Mulligan, on duty with the Ireland team at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, where the Irish have advanced to a quarter-final against France on Friday afternoon.

Ciaran Nangle and Ryan McEvoy (ankle injuries) are also likely to be ruled out for the Dundalk game.

Owen Heary and Dave Mulcahy returned to the bench last weekend after recovering from a hip injury and a virus, respectively.

Sammon relishes home visit

BOHEMIANS v DERBY COUNTY (Saturday July 13th, Dalymount Park, 3pm)

Ireland striker Conor Sammon returns to the scene of many League of Ireland battles when he comes to Dalymount Park on Saturday with his Derby County team-mates for a friendly against Bohemians (kick-off 3pm).

“I have had the chance to play there previously with Derry City and UCD, so it will be really good going back and seeing some familiar faces,” Sammon (pictured with Jeff Hendrick) said.

“Some of my friends support Bohs, so I will have friends and family there too.”

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They will be joined by 300 Derby County fans who are making the journey to Ireland for this first match of Derby’s pre-season programme.

Fellow internationals Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick will be in Nigel Clough’s squad for the visit, along with summer signings, Lee Grant (from Burnley), Chris Martin (ex-Norwich City), Johnny Russell (ex-Dundee United) and Craig Forsyth (ex-Watford)

“It also gives us a chance to bond with the new lads coming in, so we are all really excited and looking forward to the trip,” said Sammon.

Manager Clough says he sees plenty of encouragement that Derby can improve on last season’s tenth place in the Championship and challenge for the top six this time.

“The quality of players is certainly as good as we’ve had in five years and the spirit, along with the type of characters, really does provide an element of excitement for next season,” the manager told the Derby County web site.

“For what we’ve got available we think we have a cracking squad.”

Derby will open their Championship campaign on 4th August at home to Blackburn Rovers. These two clubs are among the founder-members of the Football League which celebrates its 125th anniversary this coming season.

Derby County’s friendly with Bohemians is the first of three on successive Saturdays. On 20th July (kick-off 1pm) Bradford City end a week-long stay in Ireland with a match against Bohemians.

Former League of Ireland player Carl McHugh signed a new one-year contract with Bradford City earlier this month. He joined the club a year ago, and since then got his first caps at under 21 level for the Republic of Ireland and started 22 games for Phil Parkinson’s team. He also played a key part in City’s run to the Capital One Cup Final.

Bohemians have played Derby County four times since their first meeting in 1900, when the visitors won 4-0 win in front of a crowd of 2,000. In 1912, County won 5-1 at Dalymount Park, returning in 1934 to win 6-3.
Derby’s last visit was on 10th May 1950 when they faced a Bohemian Selected XI and improved again on their goal tally with a 7-3 win.

Bohemians and Bradford City have met twice before, playing home and away friendlies a century ago. The Gypsies visited Bradford in March 1913, travelling with several guest players. They lost there 3-2 and, the next month, drew 2-2 when Bradford City came to Dalymount Park.

On Saturday 27th July Bohemians welcome Irish League side Glenavon to Dalymount for the third of this series of friendlies (kick-off 3pm).

Website by Simon Alcock