WE’LL BRING THE GAME TO THEM

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Sunday 29 May 2016, 3pm

Buoyed by successive cup victories in the last week, Bohemians manager Keith Long wants his side to bring that form into the league.

The Gypsies host St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park on Sunday afternoon having failed to win a league game since beating Bray Wanderers on April 9.

But confidence is back after they ended a 691-minute goalless streak with wins over Galway United (2-0 last Friday) in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup and UCD (1-0 last Monday) in the Leinster Senior Cup.

He said: “We didn’t lay a glove on St Pat’s when we lost to them earlier in the season so we want to make amends for that and bring the game to them this time.

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“We played very well against Galway. The most important thing was to get through to the next round but it was a very good team performance and we fully deserved to win.

“We had injuries coming up to the game and then more during it, but thankfully that didn’t stifle us.

“We followed that up against UCD too. The Leinster Senior Cup isn’t top of clubs’ priorities but it’s nice to get into the final.

“The most pleasing aspect was the manner of our performance, particularly our passing game in the second half, which bounces us on now into Sunday’s game.”

Both victories came at a price – all three of Bohs’ substitutions against Galway were enforced by injury.

Goalscorer Paddy Kavanagh (ankle), Jake Kelly (hamstring) and Derek Pender (quad) made way for Keith Buckley, Mark Quigley and Stephen Best respectively.

Quigley in turn was forced off in the first half against UCD with a knee injury and replaced by Ayman Ben Mohamed, who misses Sunday’s game and next Friday’s game against Wexford Youths due to his involvement with the Tunisia national team.

Kavanagh and Quigley remain sidelined through injury, but both are suspended for Sunday’s game anyway. There was better news for Bohs’ other walking wounded, who have all been passed fit to play.

Long said: “Paddy will be touch and go for the Wexford Youths game next week too. We mightn’t see him again until after the mid-season break.

“The good news is the damage to his ankle wasn’t as bad as we feared and we hope to have him back training next week.

“Jake and Derek are available for selection as is Lorcan Fitzgerald, who missed the Galway game with a hamstring injury.”

Those injuries allowed others to stake their claim for a starting place. Fitzgerald’s withdrawal saw Dylan Hayes drafted in at right-back against Galway, with skipper Pender moving to left-back.

With those three full-backs available for Sunday, Long is happy to have a selection headache.

He added: “When Derek was injured last season, Dylan came into the team and showed what he is capable of in the last series of games.

“Dylan’s unassuming, good on the ball and a tigerish tackler too. I’m happy for him as he has been training very well.

“He is pushing Derek the whole time and has been unlucky not to have forced his way in until now.

“Stephen Best, James Kavanagh and Paul Rooney all started against UCD too and gave good performances, so we do have options.”

“It’s a game we have to win”

BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UTD
Irish Daily Mail FAI Senior Cup, Dalymount Park, Friday 20 May 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long says Bohemians need to start showing a ruthless streak if they are to progress in the FAI Cup.

The Gypsies, buoyed by Ayman Ben Mohamed’s call-up to the Tunisian national team, host Galway United on Friday having failed to win or score in six league games.

Long said: “It’s hugely important and it’s a game we have to win.

“It’s the only all-Premier Division tie of the round against a good Galway team, who have already beaten us this season.

“It will be a tough game but we are the home team and we are expected to win.

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“If we can reproduce the performance from down in Sligo last week but take our chances this time, then I am confident we can get the victory.”

Long was once again left frustrated as Bohs passed up several gilt-edged opportunities in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to Sligo Rovers to end their barren run.

He said: “It’s too easy to say we were unlucky. It’s more than luck, so we can’t play the luck card.

“We played well and with a high tempo but we are not being ruthless enough. We had at least a half-dozen clear-cut chances, not just half-chances.

“On another night, with the amount of chances we passed up, we would have won the game comfortably.

“Obviously we were disappointed with the goal we conceded too, but ultimately we have to stop being so wasteful in front of goal. It’s as simple as that.”

Bohs’ selection options have been limited by the decision of Anto Murphy to leave the club due to family and work commitments.

Long said: “Anto has been a great servant for the club for several years. It’s disappointing, he will be a big loss.

“We will have to wait until July before we can strengthen our squad but I have a few irons in the fire.”

One major doubt for Friday’s game is Derek Prendergast, who was forced off against Sligo with a hamstring injury.

Jason Caffrey (hamstring) has returned to full training after a long lay-off but will not be risked against Galway.

“We need to show more desire”

SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, The Showgrounds, Saturday 14 May 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians they need to show more desire in front of goal to end their goalless and winless streak.

Despite periods of possession and dominance in recent games, the Gypsies have gone 591 minutes without scoring.

Bohs’ last goal and win came in the 2-0 victory away to Bray Wanderers on April 9 and Long is determined to rectify that at The Showgrounds tomorrow.

Long said: “We can’t be waiting for the perfect pass or the perfect opportunity in front of goal as it may never come – we need to show more desire in front of goal and make things happen for ourselves.”

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Bohs will be without striker Mark Quigley, who is suspended after his red card in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Cork City.

But the Gypsies’ options up front have been boosted by the return of Ismahil Akinade, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Akinade featured as a substitute against Cork and is in contention for a starting place for the first time in four weeks.

Long said: “Izzy hadn’t been right for a few weeks so we needed to give him time to recover. He offers us a different dimension to our play and a different dynamic up front.”

Bohs’ bid to end their barren run saw Jake Kelly and Kurtis Byrne restored to the starting line-up against Cork City.

Long said: “We tried to bring some positivity to our attacking play by bringing in Jake and Kurtis in central areas. There were positive signs early on in the game with good movement and interchanging of positions but we lacked end product.

“We conceded a poor goal at a bad time and we allowed Cork see out the game far too comfortably.

“We were the home team and we should have been bringing the game to them after we conceded but we didn’t do that, which is disappointing.”

A Kurtis Byrne wonder goal gave Bohs a 1-0 victory against tomorrow’s opposition the last time the sides met.

But Dave Robertson’s men are a much-improved side since. Before Tuesday’s defeat away to Shamrock Rovers, the Bit O’Red had won their previous three games in a row.

Long added: “I’ve been very impressed with Sligo any time I’ve seen them. They will be playing with real confidence, despite the result in Tallaght.

“But we have to concentrate on our own performances. We are not a million miles off getting it right and with a little more belief and hard work we can improve our league standing”

Bohs are without Quigley (suspended) and Jason Caffrey (hamstring). Ayman Ben Mohamed (groin) is a doubt.

“There are goals in this team”

BOHEMIANS v CORK CITY
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Tuesday 10 May 2016, 7.45pm

Bohemians manager Keith Long says his players won’t need any picking up as they bid to end their barren run on Tuesday night.

Friday’s 0-0 draw away to Finn Harps made it five league games without a win or goal.

Bohs spurned a golden opportunity to bring that run to an end when Anto Murphy saw his injury-time penalty saved by Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher.

Long said: “We complained about a lack of luck in recent weeks but then we got it with a penalty in injury-time and didn’t take it.

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“It was a poor game and our performance wasn’t good enough. But Paddy Kavanagh missed a good chance in the first half, albeit under pressure from two defenders, and then we missed the penalty.

“We kept a clean sheet but if we had taken those chances, we’d have been going home with a 2-0 win.”

After a sluggish first series of fixtures, the Gypsies sit ninth with 11 points from 11 games.

But Long is adamant his players won’t need any extra motivation when taking on second-placed Cork City and said: “They’re professionals – the lads won’t need picking up.”

Despite the disappointing run, Long believes the goals will come.

He said: “We haven’t been creating enough. We know we haven’t clicked and we’ve spoken about that as a group.

“We’ve been lacking end product. And even the chances we do create, we haven’t been taking them. We’ve been working hard in training to rectify that and will continue to do so in order for us to climb up the table.

“There are goals in this team. Izzy Akinade is out but we still have attacking players who can score goals in Mark Quigley, Kurtis Byrne and Jake Kelly.”

Getting back to winning ways won’t be easy against John Caulfield’s high-flying Cork City, who are currently just four points off league leaders Dundalk.

Long added: “I saw Cork against Bray Wanderers on Saturday. They were very comfortable once they got the first goal and gave a professional performance to see the game out 2-0. They’ve quality players in every position.

“We played them on the opening day of the season and, after matching them for 60 minutes, two defensive mistakes cost us. But this will be a different game and we will be up for it.”

Bohs are once again without Ismahil Akinade (hamstring), Jason Caffrey (hamstring) and Adam Evans (virus) but James Kavanagh (virus) is back in contention.

Ayman Ben Mohamed, who came off with a groin strain at half-time against Harps, is a doubt.

“We need to start putting the ball in the net!”

FINN HARPS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Finn Park, Friday 6 May 2016, 8pm

K[/drocpap]eith Long has told Bohemians it is time to start turning in 90-minute performances.

The Gypsies have been cursing their luck in recent weeks as, despite several periods of dominance, they have come away both pointless and without scoring in league meetings with Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Dundalk.

Long said: “We have a group of lads who are all working really hard. I’ve said it before, but if we maintain that effort and build upon it, our luck will change.

“We’ve played great in patches throughout the season. Now we need to replicate that for the whole game and give 90-minute performances.

“We have to start making the most of games when we’re in the ascendancy and ultimately we need to start putting the ball in the net.”

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Bohs were unfancied going into last Friday’s game against champions Dundalk, who have a 100 per cent record away from home in the league this season.

While the game finished 2-0 to the league leaders, once again the scoreline did not tell the whole story.

Long’s men enjoyed the lion’s share of both possession and chances in the opening half before coming unstuck from a stunning Daryl Horgan free-kick seven minutes before half-time.

Long said: “We played very well in the first half. I thought at the time that we should have had a penalty in the first half too and, after seeing it again, I’m sure it was a penalty.

“Then Gary Rogers made a great save to deny Derek Prendergast. Last year, these were the things that were going our way, going in for us and making the difference.

“It still hasn’t quite happened for us yet this season but we are determined to rectify that.”

Getting back to winning ways at Finn Park will be easier said than done.

Since winning promotion to the Premier Division, Ollie Horgan’s men have won three of their five home league games this season, while their two defeats in Ballybofey have been decided by the odd goal.

Long added: “Harps have continued the home form they had last season since they came up.

“They’ve made Finn Park an intimidating place to go to, but our lads know what is expected of them.”

Long is once again without Ismahil Akinade (hamstring), Jason Caffrey (hamstring) and Adam Evans (virus). James Kavanagh (virus) will also sit this one out, but Eoin Wearen (hip) is back in contention.

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