“LET’S BUILD ON THIS”

LIMERICK v BOHEMIANS
Monday March 13th, Markets Field, 7.45pm

Keith Long wants his buoyant Bohemians side to build on their first win of the season when they travel to the Markets Field to take on Limerick.

The Gypsies suffered consecutive defeats in their opening two games and it looked like it was going to be three from three on Friday night.

The dominant team in the first half, Bohs were left stunned in the opening minutes of the second half as Bray Wanderers scored twice in quick succession to take a 2-0 lead against the run of play.

But Bohs stormed back as a brace from Dinny Corcoran and one from Keith Ward gave Long’s men the result their efforts deserved.

Long was delighted with the character shown and said: “We had three great goals to win it.

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“We were the better of the sides in the first half, so to go 2-0 behind in the blink of an eye, it would have been easy to throw in the towel.

“But the lads stuck at it and never gave up, which was really pleasing.

“It’s early in the season but it was still very important that we got up and running after two defeats. Bray had won their opening two games so it was a significant win for us.

“It’s important we build on it now.”

Goalscorers Corcoran and Ward are in their third and second spells with the club respectively and both are on the right road to reestablishing themselves as fans’ favourites once again.

Long said: “I was delighted for Dinny and Wardy. Three excellent goals. Wardy did very well for us in that No 10 role. He showed great composure on the ball and it was great finish.”

Newly-promoted Limerick present a fresh challenge for Long’s men. The Shannonsiders kicked off their season with a 5-1 thumping of Sligo and, while their second game against Derry City was abandoned due to floodlight failure, Martin Russell’s men really put it up to champions Dundalk in their 1-0 defeat at Oriel Park on Friday.

Long added: “We want to build on Friday’s result now but we know Limerick are another quality team. They’ve invested a significant amount of money in building a good squad, so it’s going to be another tought game for us.

“But we’re going down confident now after Friday’s performance.”

TEAM NEWS

Dan Byrne (ankle) returned to action ahead of schedule on Friday night and it is hoped he will be okay to continue.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined.

“WE WANT TO SEND THE FANS HOME HAPPY”

​​PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Friday March 10th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to focus on their own performance when Bray Wanderers come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

Bohs have no points on the board from their opening two games of the season having lost at home to Derry City and away to Shamrock Rovers.

But Long, who has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of Dylan Hayes, is confident that is about to change.

Long said: “Bray have won their first two and we’ve lost ours.

“We know they’re going to be tough opponents but we are determined to get our season up and running.

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“Bray had a strong second half of the season last year when Harry Kenny came in and they’ve continued that form into this season.

“They’ve invested heavily and will be aiming to break into the top four so it’s going to be another tricky game.

“But we have to concentrate on ourselves and our own performance. It’s important we start to pick up points.”

Long has seen enough from the opening two games to be confident his side’s fortunes will improve.

He said: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We are only two games in and we’ve played two of the best teams in the league.

“We showed in patches against both Derry and Rovers what we are capable of but we need to keep that up for 90 minutes.

“We know where we need to work on and improve. We’ve been our own worst enemy at times.

“But I don’t believe there’s been that much in the two games so far. We haven’t been carved up.

“It’s individual mistakes that have cost us, but we’re not that far away.”

It would be easy for heads to drop, but Long insists the squad remain confident and buoyed by the support they have received so far.

Long added: “The fans have been terrific. Against Derry, Bohs fans aren’t used to losing by that kind of scoreline – especially at home – but they still backed us right up to full-time and after the game.

“Bohs fans are fair. We all want results but they know the players are giving it everything and the supporters are all getting behind them.

“It was the same in Tallaght. We brought a huge crowd out there and they backed us throughout.

“We want to see those numbers out again and we will be striving to get our season up and running to send them home happy.”

TEAM NEWS

Long has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of right-back Dylan Hayes, who is expected to go straight into the matchday squad.

Dan Byrne and Dinny Corcoran were both forced off with injuries at half-time against Shamrock Rovers last week.

Byrne (ankle) will miss out but it is hoped Corcoran (back) will be fit to start.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined.

“We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence”

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Friday March 3rd, Tallaght Stadium, 7.30pm

(Please note earlier kick-off time of 7.30pm to allow for live coverage on RTÉ2)

Bohemians travel to Tallaght to face Shamrock Rovers in the Dublin Derby with both sides looking to register their first points of the season.

Bohs were left licking their wounds as Derry City came away 4-1 winners at Dalymount Park on opening night, while the Hoops lost out 2-1 to champions Dundalk at Oriel Park.

The Candystripes’ winning margin did not tell the whole story, with manager Keith Long urging his side to learn from individual mistakes that gifted goals to the visitors.

Long said: “We played well in parts, there were a lot of things to be positive about. But ultimately Derry didn’t have to do a lot to find themselves 3-0 in front.

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“Our players gave everything, even at 3-0 down. We got a goal back and then had a goal ruled out that should have been given in my opinion.

“That would have made it 3-2 and it’s a completely different dynamic then, so I was pleased with the players’ attitude and willingness to get back into the game.

“But the bottom line is we have to cut out basic errors. That’s what cost us.

“Derry are a good side, so you can’t make it easy for them. We’ve been working on that in training all week and the application of the players has been excellent.

“We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence.”

The Dublin derby is the first game both sets of supporters look for when the fixture list comes out.

Long said: “The game has come early! It’s a big one for both clubs. Rovers have spent a lot of money assembling a squad that is expected to challenge, so there’s pressure there too.

“We’ve both started the season with a defeat. There’s pressure on both teams even though we’re only one game in.

“We can pretend it’s just another game but we all know that’s not true. But it’s a great game and occasion for us to go and try bounce back.

“We just have to go out, focus on our own game and deliver a performance.”

Long said his new squad were enthused and encouraged by the support they received last week and is counting on more of the same in Tallaght.

He added: “The supporters were brilliant. They were as disappointed as we were coming off the pitch but their support throughout gave us a big lift.

“They really got behind us. They were fantastic. We know that they will bring that to Tallaght on Friday too. There’s always a big atmosphere and the players feed off the energy and buzz of our fans.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs continue to be without the services of Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove his spleen in order to rectify a blood platelets count issue.

BARS OPEN AT DALYMOUNT PARK

For those not travelling to Tallaght, the Members’ Bar at Dalymount Park will be open from 7pm and will be showing the game. All pints €4.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
Friday February 24th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has urged his new-look Bohemians team to start as they mean to go on when the 2017 season kicks off on Friday night.

The Gypsies welcome Derry City to Dalymount Park for their season opener and manager Long is relishing the challenge.

Long, in his third season in charge at Bohs, said: “We can’t wait to get started. It’s been another long off-season so we’re all eager to get out there now.

“It’s the first day of the season, so we know we’ll have a big home support.

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“It’s potentially the club’s last year in Dalymount, so we hope people will come and support us.”

Having lost some experienced players over the closed season, Long has had his work cut out rebuilding his squad.

But he has succeeded in attracting previous fans’ favourites such as Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran back to the club from Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic respectively, while defender Rob Cornwall joined from rivals Shamrock Rovers.

That experience has been complemented by the additions of exciting young talent such as Oscar Brennan (Cabinteely), Jamie Doyle (Shelbourne), Philip Gannon (Longford), Georgie Poynton (Dundalk – loan), Kaleem Simon (Longford) and Fuad Sule (St Patrick’s Atheletic).

Bedding in so many new players will be a challenge, but Long is placing high demands on his new recruits.

He said: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

“We’ve a lot of new faces and it’s important they try and get off to a good start.

“We want the supporters on our side from day one so we have to give them something to shout about and put in a good performance.”

Long has been impressed by his players’ dedication during pre-season.

He said: “They’ve worked extremely hard. They’ve bought into what we’re trying to do and their application has been first class.

“But pre-season is over. The serious business starts now. It’s about going out and delivering on the pitch.”

For all the positives of pre-season, there have been some negatives too. Midfielder Eoin Wearen suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear which is set to rule him out for the majority of the season.

Long said: “It was an impact injury in training and he will be out for six to nine months.

“It’s a big blow but it’s up to others in the group to see it as their opportunity to step up. One door closes, another one opens.”

In 2015, Bohs succeeded in beating Derry City three times out of three.

But it was a different story last year as it was the Candystripes’ turn to complete the clean sweep in the league, while Kenny Shiels’ side also knocked Bohs out of the FAI Cup.

Bohs were left frustrated on each occasion and felt they should have got something out of each of the four meetings.

Long added: “We lost too many games by the odd goal last year and against Derry that was no different.

“There were defeats we could have turned into draws and draws we could have turned into victories.

“We will have to rectify that this year. With the way the league is being restructured, every point is massive. Everyone will be scrapping.”

“End it on a high”

FINN HARPS v BOHEMIANS
Friday October 28, Finn Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to go out and end the season on a high note.

The surprise package last year that finished fifth, the Gypsies have struggled to find the consistency required to hit the same heights in 2016.

They currently lie in eighth position and the best they can hope for on the final day of the season is to finish seventh.

Long said: “It would have been nice to have been going into the last game with something to play for.

“This time last year we had an outside chance of qualifying for Europe, so it is disappointing.

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“It’s been a bit of a bumpy roller-coaster of a season. But it’s not just pride left to play for.

“We still have a chance of moving up a place in the table so we want to go out and win the game.”

A 2-1 defeat away to Dundalk last Sunday saw Stephen Kenny’s men clinch their third league title on the trot.

But there were plenty of positives to take out of the game and Long said: “I was pleased with the performance but not the result.

“We played well albeit without creating a lot. Our ball retention was good against a side that put you under extreme pressure.

“It was a bad time to play Dundalk too – they were really desperate to get over the line so they could rest players with the big games they have coming up.”

Observers felt Bohs were fortunate to have been awarded a first-half penalty, which was converted by Mark Quigley, that saw them get back into the game.

But Long said: “Keith Buckley was adamant at half-time that he was caught. He was right to go down.

“There have been times this season when we haven’t gone down – or shouted enough – when fouled. We aren’t always as streetwise as we should be in those situations.

“And people might argue it was fortuitous but we had a definite penalty not given in the second half – Derek Pender was creamed out of it!”

But as well as the positives, there were some negatives too as Bohs were once again undone by Dundalk set-pieces.

Long added: “We were disappointed to concede from set-pieces against them again.

“For all of the deserved praise Dundalk get here and further afield for their style of play, they score a considerable amount of goals from set-plays.

“That was something we were aware of but we still came unstuck.

“It’s an area of our own game that we haven’t done as well with this season compared to last and that’s something we will look to improve on next year.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are once again set to be without Izzy Akinade (illness), Dylan Hayes (hip) and Jake Kelly (ankle).

Website by Simon Alcock