“We can’t go looking ahead dreaming of a cup run without overcoming Wexford first”

WEXFORD FC v BOHEMIAN FC
IRISH DAILY MAIL FAI CUP Rd 1
Friday August 10 2018, Ferrycarrig Park, 8pm

Keith Long says Bohemians need look no further than the league’s form team to realise the potential pitfalls of cup football.

Dundalk, on the back of winning 11 Premier Division games in a row, travelled to St Colman’s Park on Monday where nobody gave Cobh Ramblers a chance in their EA Sports Cup semi-final.

But the Lilywhites came away empty-handed after Stephen Henderson’s Ramblers proved that the romance of cup football is very much alive as their famous 1-0 win secured a place in a senior cup final for the first time in the club’s history.

There was a sense of relief among Bohs fans that their opponents at the first hurdle of this year’s FAI Cup were not another Premier Division side.

Keith Long’s side haven’t had much luck with FAI Cup draws in recent years – they’ve played four ties in the past three years, all of which have been against Premier Division opposition.

As fans covet a much sought-after cup run, Long and his players travel south to Ferrycarrig Park as strong favourites but he insists they are looking no further than tomorrow’s opposition.

He said: “We can’t go looking ahead dreaming of a cup run without overcoming Wexford first.

“You only have to look at Cobh beating Dundalk on Monday to know the dangers of cup football.

“You have to give the opposition the respect they deserve and prepare correctly. We’ll be going down having prepared for this game professionally as we would any other.”

But while Long has understandably urged caution, he has fair reason to be confident too.

Bohs have found their scoring touch in recent weeks with 6-0 and 5-0 wins over Bray Wanderers and Limerick respectively.

Long said: “It wasn’t just the scorelines that were pleasing but the overall manner of those performances.

“We had a guile about our play to try get ahead in games and smelt blood and went for it when it was appropriate to do so.

“We were ruthless and clinical but disciplined in our play also. The attitude of the players was spot on.

“Goals were spread around the team which was pleasing to see. Dinny Corcoran is obviously our No 9, our talisman. But we’ve had others in various positions chipping in too which is necessary.

“We’ve the likes of Danny Grant enjoying a good spell for us and Cristian Magerusan is knocking on the door too after coming back from injury set-backs.”

Grant and Magerusan were on the scoresheet for the Bohemians U19s on Tuesday night as they beat Limerick 4-1 away in the Enda McGuill Cup semi-final.

The other two goalscorers on the night – captain Andy Lyons and Steven Nolan – have also featured for the first team and that victory set up a Dublin derby Enda McGuill Cup final against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Tuesday September 4.

Long added: “It’s important that we are challenging at U19 level and have players coming through our partnership U17 and U15 teams with St Kevin’s too.

“We’ve been able to bring Andy through in recent weeks when Derek Pender has been suspended and he did very well at right-back.

“We want to be able to afford them the opportunity in the first team but it has to be right for the balance of the first team too and it was on that occasion.

“I’m pleased that we are in a position now that some of our U19s are really asking a lot of questions of the players in our first team.

“It’s a positive situation to be in. Our U19s train alongside the first team at Blanchardstown so we regularly move players across to first-team training to see where they’re at.

“It’s good for the culture at the club for our underage players to see there’s a pathway there and it’s important for their development coming up against experienced players in training too.”

TEAM NEWS

Rob Cornwall (hamstring) looks set to miss out again, while Ian Morris (back) is a doubt. Ryan Swan (cruciate) remains out.

“We will be doing our utmost to come out on top”

BOHEMIANS v LIMERICK
Friday August 8 2018, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Match sponsor: Madhouse - based on the true life story of comedian PJ Gallagher
Matchball sponsor: Tom Geraghty

Keith Long has warned Bohemians to expect a battle when Limerick come to Dalymount Park tonight.

The Gypsies are currently in seventh place, four points ahead of Tommy Barrett’s side who are ninth and in the play-off spot.

A win for Bohs would see them open up a healthy seven-point gap between them and the Shannonsiders.

But defeat would see the margin whittled down to a solitary point and have Long’s men looking nervously over their shoulders.

Long said: “There has been nothing between the sides this season with the three previous games finishing in draws and there is very little between the teams in terms of league standings either, so this game could prove very important in the context of our season.

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“Limerick have, along with Bray Wanderers, been in the news for the wrong reasons so you have to admire the way Tommy and his players have focused on football and have picked up some impressive results since we last met.

“We will be doing our utmost to come out on top following Sunday’s defeat in Dundalk.

“Limerick have a 48-hour advantage on us in terms of recovery but we have prepared well this week and everyone is looking forward to the challenge.”

Bohs bounced back from an uninspiring 3-0 defeat against Sligo Rovers three weeks ago with a thumping 6-0 defeat of Bray a fortnight ago.

Not many gave the Gypsies a chance when they travelled to Oriel Park last Sunday. They lost the game 2-0 for the Lilywhites’ 11th league victory in a row but Long was pleased with his team’s efforts.

He said: “The performance in Dundalk was good. The lads worked extremely hard against the division’s top side.

“We were arguably the better side for the first 30 minutes. We played some good attacking football and matched Dundalk in every area.

“We created chances, which we didn’t take. When you’re in the ascendancy, you need to capitalise which we didn’t.

“Unfortunately we conceded a goal from a corner and what looked to me a dubious enough penalty in the second half.

“But to their credit, the players never stopped trying and we almost got back in the game with 10 minutes remaining when Keith Ward hit the foot of the post and then saw another effort cleared off the line.”

TEAM NEWS

Striker Ryan Masterson comes into the squad having been signed last week.

Skipper Derek Pender is available for selection after serving his two-match ban.

He will vie for a place at right-back with Andy Lyons, who turned 18 yesterday, impressing in his absence.

Rob Cornwall (hamstring), a late withdrawal against Dundalk, remains a doubt.

Ryan Swan (cruciate) remains out.

Another notable absentee from the squad will be Paddy Kavanagh, who has left the club by mutual consent after four and a half years with the club.

Long added: “Paddy Kavanagh has this week left the club and I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Paddy for all his efforts during my tenure at Dalymount.

“Paddy is a great guy and was a key member of the squad very popular amongst the players and staff alike. We wish him well for the future.”

“We need to find that level of consistency”

DUNDALK v BOHEMIANS
SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE
Sunday July 29, Oriel Park, 7pm

K[/toggle]eith Long has warned Bohemians that Dundalk will not allow their European campaign distract them from the task at hand at Oriel Park tomorrow.

After drawing the first leg of their Europa League qualifying tie against AEK Larnaca 0-0, talk has already turned to Thursday’s return leg in Cyprus.

But Long said: “They’re not a team that takes their eye off the ball.

“Obviously they have the second leg of their European tie to look forward to next week, but their focus will be on this game.

“It’s going to be tough up there as it is for all teams. We’ll be the underdogs but we’re not going up there to make up the numbers.

“We’ve worked hard all week and we’re going up to Dundalk to try and get something out of the game.”

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The Gypsies come into this buoyed by last week’s 6-0 drubbing of Bray Wanderers – Bohs’ biggest league win in 17 years when they beat UCD by the same scoreline.

It was the perfect response having slumped to a 3-0 defeat at home to Sligo Rovers a week previously.

Long said: “We played really well and should have scored more.

“It was an excellent performance. I saw Bray last night and Cork in some ways laboured to a 3-1 victory so we can be very pleased with how we fared.

“There is still a lot to play for this season. If we can perform to the level we performed last week, then we we can feel confident.

“If we play like we did two weeks ago against Sligo, then we’ll make things difficult for ourselves.

“We need to find that level of consistency, which has been our problem this year.

“But we’re going from playing the division’s bottom side to playing one of if not the division’s top side.

“Dundalk have no real weaknesses. They’re very strong and very committed throughout their team.”

While Daniel Kelly grabbed the headlines last week with two goals against his former club in his first start for Bohs, Long was keen to praise the efforts of debutant Andy Lyons.

Lyons, who turns 18 on Thursday, deputised in place of suspended captain Derek Pender and gave an accomplished performance at right-back.

Long added: “Andy came from St Joseph’s through to captaining our U17s and U19s. He has done very well for us.

“He’s been in and around the first team for a while and with Derek suspended, we felt it was the right game to give him his chance.

“Obviously tomorrow’s game is a different level of opposition and will be a real test but he can be pleased with how he did last week.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender (suspended) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) are out. Eoghan Stokes (knee) – a late withdrawal last week – is available for selection.

Striker Ryan Masterson signed for the club yesterday but his registration has not come through in time for him to feature tomorrow.

“Expectation is part of the game”

BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Friday July 20, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians they need to start learning to deal with expectation if they are to play their way out of danger.

Calamitous defending from two corners in the first half and the sending-off of influential skipper Derek Pender early in the second half culminated in Bohs succumbing to a 3-0 defeat at Dalymount Park to Sligo Rovers last week.

Unusually, Bohs are at home for the second week running and Long has challenged his side to make up for last week’s defeat and give fans something to cheer about.

Long said: “It was a great opportunity missed last week. We conceded really poor goals. It’s not good enough to concede from set plays.

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“We get good crowds who create a good atmosphere and the players enjoy playing in Dalymount.

“But I feel we seem to enjoy the tag of underdog a lot better than being favourites.

“There is more of an onus on us at home, which brings that expectation. But we have to be able to deal with this.

“Expectation is part of the game and we must show character and resolve now to answer our critics. I can think of nothing better than starting with a win at home to Bray.”

Tonight’s opponents have had a well-documented tumultuous past month.

Three weeks without pay has seen players leave and and a strike notice served, while manager Martin Russell quit late last night.

That strike notice is on hold for now after wages were finally paid yesterday and Long expects a fight from the division’s bottom side.

He said: “Bray players won’t let a change in manager affect them. They will be motivated and positive going into this game.

“Their players have been through the mill over recent weeks with the well-documented events taking place at the club regarding unpaid wages.

“The lads don’t seek or want this type of media attention – they are footballers and that’s what they want to do play football.

“They should not have to go on strike as a mechanism to get paid. Clubs need to be accountable and contracts need to be honoured.

“On the pitch, they haven’t let it get to them though so we have to be ready.

“They have have beaten Sligo in their last league outing and considering our last home game resulted in us losing 3-0 here, this game takes on even greater significance for us.

“We need to go out and show what we’re made of.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender is suspended after being shown a straight red card against Sligo Rovers last week. As a result, Andy Lyons is promoted from the U19s as cover.

Goalkeeper Colin McCabe (shoulder) and striker Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

Midfielder Philly Gannon has left the club by mutual consent with Long adding: “I’d like to thank Philly for his 18 months at the club.

“He’s worked hard but he’s at the stage where he needs and wants to be playing first-team football. We wish him all the best for the future.”

“We need to build on the results since the break”

BOHEMIANS v SLIGO ROVERS
Friday July 13, Dalymout Park, 7.45pm
Match Sponsors: Lilliput Trading Company. Matchball Sponsors: Tom and Dee Duignan

Bohemians face into tonight’s six-pointer against Sligo Rovers encouraged by two positive results since the mid-season break.

Bohs secured all three points with a 1-0 victory in a challenging Dublin derby against St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park a fortnight ago.

A more polished performance last week away to Waterford yielded a point in a 1-1 draw but Bohs will feel their first-half display in particular ought to have earned them all three.

Those results see Bohs sit in seventh position in the table on 25 points. Tonight’s opponents are one place and two points behind.

A win for Keith Long’s men would see them build a positive gap between them and the three teams below them. But defeat would see them dragged right back into the battle to beat the drop.

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Long said: “On the back of a decent display down in Waterford, we go into tonight’s game in a positive frame of mind.

“Our performance down in the RSC was good. We played with intensity and determination not to be beaten against a top side with some really talented players.

“We have talent in our group also and first half we showed that in abundance, creating several chances and perhaps could have gone in at the break with more goals to show for our efforts.

“I thought we were denied what looked like to me a stonewall penalty in the first half and maybe with better execution, we could have extended our lead into the second half when Waterford came on strong and we had to dig in to come away with a point.

“We had a large vocal travelling support who made the trip to the south east, it was great to see so many supporters there getting behind their team. We hope for more of the same tonight.

“We need to build on the results since the break with an opportunity tonight against Sligo who will be as desperate as we are to pick up the points, which are so important at this stage of the season.”

Expected to feature in tonight’s squad is Daniel Kelly. The midfielder/winger joins from Bray Wanderers for whom he scored in their visit to Dalymount Park in March.

Kelly said: “I’m delighted to have signed for Bohs. I am buzzing. I can’t wait to get going and hopefully I’ll do well.”

TEAM NEWS 

Ian Morris (hamstring) is a doubt. Ryan Swan (cruciate) remains out.

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