“It’s a good place for us to show what we can do”

GALWAY UNITED v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Eamonn Deacy Park, Friday September 16 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long is targeting a first Bohemian victory away to Galway United since September 2011 as the Gypsies look to stay ahead of tomorrow’s opposition and push up the league table.

Just one point separates Bohs in seventh and the Tribesman in eighth.

Long said: “They’re once place below us in the league, so we have to go down there and get a result.

“There hasn’t been a lot between the sides this season. Between the league and cup, we’ve won one, lost one and drawn one.

“At home, we’ve had the upper hand against them this season and last. But we want to redress our record away from home.

“We lost our last game out there 1-0. But it was a scrappy game ruined by the conditions.

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“It’s a great surface out there now, so it’s a good place for us to go and show what we can do. If we play like we did against St Pat’s in our last away game, we can get a result.”

Before the home defeat against Dundalk a fortnight ago, Bohs were on a run of 10 points from 12 and were unlucky not to extend that unbeaten sequence against the champions and league leaders.

Long said: “We played well in the second half. But that was after we went 2-0 down and obviously you have to ask why we got ourselves in that position in the first place.

“The plan was to take the game to them from the start. Perhaps we were guilty of giving them a little bit too much respect early on.

“We didn’t get enough pressure on the ball in the first half. We changed things around in the second half and started it much better.

“We were perhaps a little naive in not contesting the drop ball that led to Dundalk’s second goal.

“But we showed great character to get back into it. We brought on a second striker in Jake Kelly and went 4-4-2 to give Kurtis Byrne a bit more support.

“That gave us a bit more threat and momentum up front. We brought the game to them and got back into it with a great goal from Kurtis.

“The players and supporters responded to that – the atmosphere was great from both sets of fans. We attacked in droves and were very unlucky not to get the equaliser.”

Byrne’s sensational strike against his former club followed successful free-kicks in the previous two league games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers.

With seven league goals to his name and 13 in all competitions, he is the club’s top goalscorer this season.

With Ismahil Akinade ruled out through illness in recent weeks, Byrne has found himself in the unfamiliar position of being the team’s main striker.

But it is the quality – not quantity – of his goals that has become a talking point.

Long added: “Kurtis is a scorer of spectacular goals. He has certain qualities that other players in this league don’t have.

“To be fair, he’s started more games than he hasn’t. But he can play and has played in a variety position across the front four, so doesn’t usually lead the line.

“We haven’t always had the clean bill of health required to try Izzy and Kurtis as a No 9 and No 10 pairing this season.

“But Izzy’s absence has seen Kurtis come in at No 9. There are some flaws in his game, so we’ve changed our shape subtly to accommodate him in that position.

“But he has a good work-rate and he’s come in and done very well for us.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are once again without Akinade through illness, but are hopeful he may be ready again for Monday’s visit of Wexford Youths to Dalymount Park.

The Gypsies must also plan without defenders Derek Prendergast and Lorcan Fitzgerald through suspension. But skipper Derek Pender returns after a three-week lay-off with a thigh injury.

Under-19 team starlets Warren O’Hora and Dean Casey will again be included in the first-team squad.

“We want to show what we´re capable of”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday September 2 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long wants Bohemians to build on a positive week for the club when champions Dundalk come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

Bohs bounced back from a disappointing FAI Cup exit to Derry City a fortnight ago to record a first away win over St Patrick´s Athletic at Richmond Park in six years last Friday.

That was followed three days later with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Wexford Youths in the Leinster Senior Cup final, which saw Bohs win a trophy for the first time in six years.

Now Long has challenged his side to continue that form as they look to break into the top half of the table.

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He said: “We come into the game in a positive frame of mind. We´d an excellent win on Monday in the Leinster Senior Cup.

“It was great for people at the club to win a trophy. But we won´t be getting carried away by the Leinster Senior Cup.

“What was more satisfying was the win against St Pat´s. It was our most complete performance of the season.

“Last week, we´d been talking about how we could lift the team after our FAI Cup exit, so to bounce back with two really good performances has been pleasing.

“Everyone was gutted to go out of the FAI Cup the way we did. We still are, so it´s important we continue to show what we are capable of.

“We´ve set targets with the players and we are determined to climb up the table and finish the season strongly.”

Bohs were originally supposed to host Wexford Youths again this Friday, while Dundalk had been due to host Cork City.

International call-ups saw City postpone that clash, which led to Bohs´ fixture against Dundalk, originally scheduled for October, brought forward last week to this Friday to accommodate the Lilywhites´ Europa League fixture schedule.

Meanwhile, the Bohs v Wexford fixture has been rescheduled for Monday September 19th.

Long said: “You want to accommodate teams playing in Europe but it´s obviously not ideal. It´s not going to be ideal having just one home game in the final month of the season either.

“Dundalk were due to be our last home game of the season, you´d have expected a big crowd for that. That´s disappointing and costly for the club.

“But as a team, we just have to get on with it. We´ve had to change tack given the change of opposition, but we can bring the game to Dundalk.

“Dundalk are the benchmark everyone has to aspire to. They´ve been champions two years running and they´ve made the breakthrough in Europe.

“But we´ve given a good account of ourselves against them. We were the only team to beat them in the league last season and they needed a last-minute equaliser to stop us from doing it again a second time.

“This season, we´ve them beaten too, albeit in the Leinster Senior Cup. Even in the 0-2 defeat here, we were right in it but were undone by two clinical finishes.

“They´ll be up for it again. They´re only a point ahead at the top of the table and know they can´t afford any more slip-ups.”

Out of the cup, moving up the table is Long´s first priority for the remainder of the year. However, he also has one eye on his plans for next season too.

To that end, under-19s starlets Warren O´Hora and Dean Casey were given a taste of first-team football in the Leinster Senior Cup victory and Long plans to give youth a chance over the course of the remainder of the league campaign too.

Long added: “There is obviously always a high level of expectation at a club like Bohs. But we have to be realistic about where we are at too.

“We want to build a club that can win trophies. Success isn´t always instant. We´re part-time, so we have to be realistic about how we can set about doing that.

“We want to improve our recruitment process across all teams. From the schoolboys to under-17s, to under-19s, we want to build a pathway for players who have the potential to be good enough for the first team.

“We have good people at the club working to bring us forward. Ian Morris is a total professional looking to build the youths side of the club up, while we´ve brought in Dave Henderson as Head of Recruitment.

“We need these structures right so we can build a pipeline that bring players into the first team. We´ve had two of our under-17s – Dominic Peppard and Brandon Kavanagh – called up for international duty too. These are the type of players we want at the club.

“It was good to give Warren and Dean a taste of the first team on Monday. We´ll be looking to do more of that over the rest of the season, while getting the balance right too as we really want to move up the table as well.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs continue without skipper Derek Pender (thigh), while Izzy Akindade remains a doubt through illness.

Stephen Best (ankle) and Mark Quigley (hamstring) both returned to training this week but remain doubts.

“We’d love to deliver some silverware”

BOHEMIANS v WEXFORD YOUTHS
Leinster Senior Cup final, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm, Monday August 29 2016

Bohemians won at Richmond Park for the first time in six years on Friday – tonight the club is looking to end a six-year wait for a trophy.

A Kurtis Byrne free-kick gave the Gypsies victory against St Patrick’s Athletic three days ago and manager Keith Long is looking for more of the same when Wexford Youths come to Dalymount Park tonight.

Tonight could well be the last senior final in the ‘old’ Dalymount before the ground is redeveloped, so Long is eager for his players to deliver.

He said: “It was a great three points on Friday and we’ll be working off the same group of players tonight.

“For most of the players, tonight is a chance for them to win a senior competition for the first time.

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“This could be the last cup final at Dalymount in its current form so we’re mindful of that too.

“The Leinster Senior Cup is not on the top of your priorities but we’re in the final now.

“We would love to deliver some silverware and hopefully that can whet the appetite for next season.”

Long was happy with how his side bounced back from last week’s demoralising 2-0 FAI Cup exit at the hands of Derry City.

Bohs now sit in seventh but are just a point off the top half and five points off fifth – the club’s final position last season.

He added: “We showed a lot of courage on Friday. It was gutsy – the lads stood up.

“Going out of the FAI Cup was deflating for everyone, so it was important for us to pick ourselves up.

“We started the game brightly and we created a lot of chances and finished strongly.

“It was our 10th clean sheet in the league this season too, which was pleasing too and probably goes a bit unnoticed.

“We want to have a strong finish to the season now. There’s not all that much between a lot of the sides and we can push on into the top half.”

Bohs are once again without Stephen Best (ankle), Derek Pender (thigh) and Mark Quigley (hamstring). Izzy Akinade (illness) remains a doubt.

MOUNTING INJURIES AHEAD OF DUBLIN DERBY

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Richmond Park, Friday 26 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians will be without defenders Stephen Best (ankle) and Derek Pender (suspended but also suffering with a thigh injury) for tomorrow’s Dublin derby at Richmond Park.

Both were forced off due to injury during last Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Derry City in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.

There are selection concerns up front too with Mark Quigley (hamstring) set to miss out, while Ismahil Akinade remains a doubt with illness that saw him sit out two of Bohs’ last three games.

Goalkeeper Shane Supple, who suffered an ankle injury against Cork City a fortnight ago, returned to training this week and is available for selection.

Under-19s Warren O’Hara and Dean Casey will be included in the squad.

“We’re going to give it a right go”

BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup 3rd Rd, Dalymount Park, Friday 19 August, 7.45pm

Keith Long believes the 12th man can help Bohemians progress in the FAI Cup against Derry City on Friday.

Late goals from Kurtis Byrne and Stephen Best saw Bohs come from 2-0 down to seal a dramatic 3-2 win against in-form Sligo Rovers on Monday night.

Dalymount Park was hopping as a confident second-half performance saw Keith Long’s side make it seven points from three league games.

Long said: “It’s been a while since we’ve seen drama like that at the end of a game at Dalymount. It gives the players real confidence going into the cup tie.

“The reception the team got from the fans at the end was brilliant – you can’t underestimate the importance of the bond between players and supporters.

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“In a game of small margins, when the 12th man is behind you from the start, the players value that. It gives them that little bit of extra confidence.

“We are at home, so we want to take the game to Derry City and give it a right go. The fans can help us do that.”

After an excellent 0-0 draw away to title-chasing Cork City last Friday, Bohs almost undid all that hard work as they went 2-0 down to Sligo Rovers in the first half on Monday.

Long said: “We were really good value for the point down in Cork. We kept the ball well and defended well.

“But you couldn’t have had a more contrasting performance to that than in the first half against Sligo. We had tired bodies playing two games in quick succession.

“You can sometimes forget we’re part-time and don’t have the luxury of recovery times between games that some teams do – Derry will be our third game in eight days.

“That said, we know we didn’t defend well in the first half. Sligo caused us problems but they were problems of our own making.

“But we showed great character to fight back – Izzy Akinade got a crucial goal just before half-time and our second-half performance deserved the two late goals to win it in the end.

“It was a great result. Sligo were unbeaten in nine games before that so the lads deserve a bit of credit for turning it around.”

Friday’s opposition Derry have frustrated Bohs in the sides’ two league meetings this season, winning 1-0 on both occasions, most recently at Dalymount Park last month.

Long added: “We were unlucky in the game in the Brandywell but when they came down here we didn’t do enough to win the game.

“There wasn’t all that much between the teams but they’re an organised team and we have to be a bit smarter.

“If we perform like we did against Cork City and in the second half against Sligo, we can progress against Derry.”

TEAM NEWS

Shane Supple and Marco Chindea are cup-tied having represented Crumlin United and Athlone Town respectively earlier in the competition.

Supple, however, is recovering well from an ankle injury he sustained against Cork City last week, which ruled him out of Monday’s game against Sligo Rovers.

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