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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

“We can head to Tallaght with a spring in our step”

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Tallaght Stadium, Friday 27th March, 8pm

Bohemian boss Keith Long says his players are “upbeat” ahead of Friday’s derby against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. The Gypsies tasted defeat for the first time this season on Tuesday as champions Dundalk came away with a somewhat misleading 3-0 scoreline.

Despite defeat, the Bohs manager has pinpointed Friday’s clash as the ideal tonic following the midweek result. “There’s no greater opportunity than a game against your biggest rivals to bounce back with a good performance and hopefully a positive result,” he said.

“The players are looking forward to the game, nobody is feeling sorry for themselves after Tuesday night. Everybody is upbeat and hopefully we can head to Tallaght with a spring in our step.”

While he never played in the fixture during his career, Long is fully aware of the importance and magnitude of the game as he leads the side into his first Dublin derby as Bohs manager. “I’ve been around the league long enough to understand the importance of a Bohs-Rovers derby. The players don’t need motivation for a fixture like this – this is what they’re in the game for.

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“We want to give a good account of ourselves. That’s what our supporters want to see. They want to see us trying to play football, they want to see the honesty and the work-rate that we saw on Tuesday. If we get that, then we can’t ask for any more from the players.”

Although the result against Dundalk was disappointing, the manager took a lot of positives from the performance, which saw the Gypsies threatening for long periods.

“There’s no shame in defeat to Dundalk. The scoreline was a little skewed in that we constantly went for it throughout the game. We had a go at them and I don’t think 3-0 was a fair reflection,” he said.

The home side created a number of chances against the Lilywhites on Tuesday and Long has stressed the importance of capitalising on opportunities, especially in big games. “Goals win games, and we’ve got to be clinical in front of goal. Having said that, I’d be a little bit more worried if we weren’t creating the chances.”

Finally, the Bohs boss is expecting full commitment from his charges on the big stage. He added: “The players have set a minimum standard for themselves that when they cross the line in that red and black shirt, that they give absolutely everything. I expect no different on Friday night.”

Bohs have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game with Pat Fenlon’s Hoops. Long-term absentees Dan Byrne (cruciate) and Dave Mulcahy (calf) remain on the sidelines, while Anto Murphy is suspended following his dismissal against Dundalk.

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Shamrock Rovers tickets

Tickets for Friday’s Dublin derby away to Shamrock Rovers are on sale from Dalymount from 10am until 3pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Supporters are advised to buy tickets in advance of the game to avoid queueing and congestion at Tallaght Stadium.

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CHAMPIONS CURTAIL GYPSIES’ FLAWLESS START

BOHEMIANS  0 – 3  DUNDALK

Keith Long’s Bohemians were given a rude midweek awakening at Dalymount Park on Tuesday, as Champions Dundalk flitted back up the M1 with all three points following a particularly ruthless performance. Goals from David McMillan, Jake Kelly, and Darren Meenan put Dundalk top of the table, but the game was far closer than what it looks like with a glance at the result.

Despite the misleading scoreline, the home side put in a spirited, determined performance, and could easily have been ahead by the time Anto Murphy was sent off early in the second half. Even after Murphy’s harsh dismissal for two yellow cards, the Gypsies really took the game to the Lilywhites, and were unlucky not to be on level terms by the time the visitors pulled away with two late, ill-deserved goals, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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After three games with the same starting eleven, boss Long made just one change to the starting line-up for the visit of Stephen Kenny’s men. Robbie Creevy replaced Kealan Dillon in central midfield, as Bohs embarked on their second of three games in a six-day period. Perhaps surprisingly, Bohs actually dominated possession in the opening quarter, but struggled to create chances from open play. The ball was being presented back to Dundalk at regular intervals, which is always dangerous with their counter-attacking potential.

The first big incident of note was a penalty shout in the 11th minute. Adam Evans’ cross bounced up off Brian Gartland’s thigh onto his left arm. Gartland’s arm was away from his body, and the ball clearly struck it. However, referee Derek Tomney was in no mood to point to the spot, and this was the first of many decisions from the man in black that irked the Bohs fans and bench alike.

Bohs’ best opportunities in the first half came from set pieces. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s deliveries were absolutely perfect on more than one occasion, and Dundalk had a huge amount of luck in keeping a clean sheet. First, Anto Murphy rattled the bar from an inswinging corner. The ball looped into the air, and was almost turned in acrobatically by Derek Prendergast, but his effort trundled wide. Fitzgerald was again the provider of Bohs’ next best chance. This time, his wickedly whipped free kick took a slight deflection off a Dundalk head before evading Prendergast and Dean Kelly by inches. A touch from either would have opened the scoring.

With clean sheets in all 5 competitive games so far, it was going to take either a moment of brilliance or a scruffy, unlucky goal to breach the Bohs defence. Sadly, it was the latter. After a corner was cleared, Daryl Horgan played head tennis with the Bohs defence, and his second looped header found David McMillan at the back post. McMillan headed it tamely toward goal, but the ball took two deflections and dribbled over the line. Dundalk headed for half time with a fortunate 1-0 lead.

The Champions were lacklustre, and probably couldn’t believe their luck when referee Tomney intervened to spoil what was turning into an intriguing contest. Anto Murphy had been deservedly booked in the first half for a clumsy lunge at Darren Meenan, but his second yellow was as soft as they come. On the edge of the Bohs box, Murphy’s sliding challenge on John Mountney was executed perfectly. He took ball first, then man. It was a strong challenge, but Mountney’s theatrical fall and scream may well have been the deciding factor. His initial writhing stopped when it became clear that Murphy was about to get a second yellow, but the damage was done.

Rather than capitulate being a man and a goal down, Bohs actually increased their pressing and pressure after Murphy’s dismissal. It was a stirring second half performance, with full-blooded commitment from back to front. Long sent on Marc Griffin and Jason Byrne to try and salvage a point, and they almost fashioned an equaliser with 15 minutes left. The tireless Derek Pender whipped in a delightful cross that fell onto Griffin’s toe 8 yards out, but the former Dundalk man couldn’t generate any power, and Gary Rogers was able to paw it clear.

With Bohs committing men forward, a counter-attack sucker punch was always possible, and Dundalk ruthlessly closed out the game in the last few minutes. First, in the 83rd minute, the excellent Horgan sped down the right, and put Richie Towell through. Towell unselfishly squared to substitute Jake Kelly, who side-footed in the second. Then, with 4 minutes remaining, Darren Meenan grabbed the third with a low shot that had too much power for Dean Delany.

0-3 is a scoreline that greatly flatters Dundalk, but the reaction of the Bohs fans at the end of the game said it all. The team were roundly applauded off the field, with a faint chant of ‘Bring on the Rovers’ in their ears. There is no better game to bounce back from a defeat than a trip to Tallaght. Friday night is already close.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh (Kealan Dillon), Roberto Lopes, Robbie Creevy, Adam Evans, Keith Buckley (Marc Griffin) Dean Kelly (Jason Byrne). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Karl Moore, Jake Hyland, Dylan Hayes.

Dundalk: Gary Rodgers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, John Mountney (Darren Meenan, 63), Richie Towell, Ronan Finn (Kurtis Byrne, 76), Daryl Horgan, David McMillan (Jake Kelly, 80). Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Ciaran O’Connor, Shane Grimes, Paddy Barrett.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Lorcan Fitzgerald

“WE BELIEVE WE CAN PULL OFF A SURPRISE”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Tuesday 24 March, 7.45pm

Bohemian manager Keith Long says he “couldn’t be happier” with his team’s start to the league campaign, and he is “looking forward” to games against Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers over four days.

Long wants to “turn Dalymount Park into a fortress” and is calling on the fans as well as the players to help in that. Facing the league champions is “a big challenge but also a great opportunity for our players to test themselves against some of the best players in the league”.

“We hope our supporters will come out once again and get behind the team like they’ve done far this year,” Long said.

“The players will need no added incentive. We’ll go into the games with confidence and with a belief in our ability that maybe we can pull off a surprise.”

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In Bray last Saturday Bohemians created many more scoring opportunities than they converted, but secured the win with a second-half goal.

“You’d be more worried if you weren’t creating the chances. But we’ve got to learn to convert them when they come our way. Against some of the better teams the chances may not come as often,” said Long.

Keeping a fifth clean sheet in as many competitive games gave Bohemians the win with a single goal. “You build from the back, that’s the foundation of what we do, so we’re really pleased not to have conceded a goal as yet in the league,” said Long.

Saturday’s goal came from Adam Evans, who also scored away against Limerick in the first league game. The 20-year-old has shone as one of Bohemians’ stars so far, testing defences repeatedly with his runs down the left.

“I’m really happy for Adam. He is unproven in the League of Ireland. I knew him as a school-boy player with Belvedere, when he was highly thought of,” said Long.

“He has always had lightning pace. He’s a young man and he will mature and adapt to the pace and physicality of League of Ireland football.

“He is seeing the benefits of the pre-season with the team, and now he has the greater confidence that comes from scoring goals.”

Bohemians have all players available for the Dundalk game, apart from long-term injury Dan Byrne (cruciate) and Dave Mulcahy (calf), who will rejoin team training in the next week or two.

The part-time squad will be fully tested with three games in six days, but Long is focused on getting the best-possible side out in Tuesday’s game before he thinks about Friday’s trip to Tallaght.

The Bohemian manager remains optimistic about his squad’s possibilities. “We’re going to improve. We will evolve. The team will change from time to time. For this week, we will do our very best to get a result in the games.”

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BFC YOUTHS SATURDAY NURSERY

Bohemian FC have re-established the club’s nursery on Saturday mornings at Inspire (St.Joesph’s School for the deaf) on the Navan Road from 11am to 12pm.

All children older than 4 are welcome to join in. The nursery will provide players with fun and  simple-to-learn games, based on developing their physical and football mastery skills.

It will involve coaching from UEFA B-qualified coaches to ensure the highest of standards throughout.

If you are interested in bringing your child down for some fun-filled football, then just bring them down for 11am this Saturday, or email youths@bohemians.ie or Kay McKenna on 085-8722099 for further information.

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“WE KNOW WE CAN GET BETTER”

BRAY WANDERERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Carlisle Grounds, Saturday 21 March, 5.45pm

Bohemians go to Bray determined to keep the foot on the pedal and to maintain a 100 per cent record in the league.

Manager Keith Long returns to the club where he started his coaching career, meeting Bray for the second time in a month as Bohemian manager.

In the Leinster Senior Cup the sides went to 120 minutes without a goal scored but Bohemians advanced to the next round on penalties.

“That game showed what difficult opposition Bray are to play against. They are a dogged outfit and they can grind you down,” said Long.

“They’ll be competitive and we’ve got to make sure we look after ourselves, and get right into it.”

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In three league and league-cup games, Bohemians have racked up eight goals without conceding any. Five of the goals have come from set-pieces, two more last Friday when defender Anto Murphy scored from a free-kick and from a corner.

For Long, last weekend’s win against Galway United was “very pleasing, because we didn’t play to our full potential”.

Bohemians created many more scoring opportunities than they converted and Long admits he doesn’t know precisely what was not clicking.

“We were a bit loose at times and didn’t keep the ball as well as we could, or should,” he said. “We know we can get better but the pleasing thing is to pick up the win having not played at our best. That’s a good habit to get into.”

Dave Mulcahy (calf) and Dan Byrne (cruciate) are still out but Long otherwise has a full squad to choose from. The trip to Bray is followed on Tuesday by a home game against the league champions Dundalk but the manager is not planning to save any players.

“We’ve got to give Bray every respect, which we will do. We can’t take our foot off the pedal. We have to try and win,” he said.

“After Saturday, we will think about Tuesday. But for Saturday, we’ll put our best foot forward and pick our strongest XI against Bray.”

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ST PATRICK’S DAY DUBLIN DERBY AT 1PM

Best of luck to the Bohs Under-19s in their Dublin derby against St Patrick’s Athletic in Crumlin at 1pm today.

Unbeaten in eight league games, Robbie Horgan’s side are already assured of a place in the play-offs and are level on points with Northern Elite Division leaders Derry City.

They can go top of the division with a positive result in today’s game in hand ahead of their final regulation round game away to Letterkenny Rovers.

So show them your support!

Under-19 results and fixtures

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MURPHY BRACE DEFEATS PRESIDENT’S MEN

BOHEMIANS  2 – 0  GALWAY UNITED

Eight goals scored. None conceded. Progression in 2 cup competitions. 6 points from 6 in the league. What’s not to like about Bohs’ 125th year of existence so far? Keith Long’s side continued their dominant start to the 2015 season with a comfortable if a little scrappy victory over newly-promoted Galway United in Dalymount Park on Friday night.

President of Ireland and President of Galway United Micheal D. Higgins was in attendance, and would have made the short trip back to the Park disappointed with the Tribesmen’s performance. Tommy Dunne’s team rarely threatened an impressive Bohemian back line, who had defender Anto Murphy to thank for all three points. A rare brace from the 32 year old kept the Gypsies on top of the fledgling Airtricity League table, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Understandably, Bohs boss Long kept faith with the same 11 that dismantled Limerick in Jackman Park last weekend. The somewhat spoilt Bohs fans didn’t get a goal in the first 90 seconds this time around – they had to wait a comparative age before the opener arrived, this time on 5 minutes! Just like in Limerick, the goal came from a set piece. Having drifted out to the right, Dean Kelly was brought down just outside the Galway penalty area. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s in-swinging left-footed cross found Anto Murphy’s head, and the ball flew in over Galway keeper Conor Gleeson.

Bohs almost doubled their advantage on 10 minutes when Fitzgerald sent Adam Evans down the left. His sweeping cross beat the Galway defence, but Dean Kelly could only direct his diving header over the crossbar. All Bohs’ opening half chances came from headers, and Derek Prendergast had the final opportunity before the break, but his downward header was straight at Gleeson, and Galway cleared after the ensuing scramble.

Bohs’ performance was definitely below the levels of last week in Limerick, and they struggled to get a coherent passing game going all night. Kealan Dillon was very impressive in the South-west, but couldn’t get on the ball at all in Dalymount and was replaced by Robbie Creevy on the hour mark. Dean Kelly did an immense amount of running, but was beginning to tire when he was replaced by Marc Griffin. Griffin absolutely re-ignited Bohs’ game in the final quarter, and could easily have grabbed a goal or two himself to add to his midweek brace against Athlone Town.

First, he was set clean through by a brilliant Derek Pender pass. He never really got the ball out of his feet, and the eventual shot at Gleeson was weak and low. Keith Buckley cut inside and had a dip just a minute later. His shot somehow squirmed out of Gleeson’s hands, but Griffin’s rebound was well blocked down.

Substitute Griffin did turn provider for the clinching goal in the 83rd minute. Again, it was a set piece, and again, Anto Murphy pounced. Griffin’s outswinging corner floated all the way to the penalty spot without challenge, and Murphy was able to slide-volley it in from 12 yards. Galway seemed to spring into action for the final minutes. Gary Shanahan should have beaten Dean Delany with a lob, but the Bohs keeper got his fingertips to the ball. Then, in injury time, Shanahan headed wastefully wide from a Jake Keegan corner.

Bohs travel to the seaside next week, with Bray Wanderers next in line to challenge the Gypsies 100% record in the league. After that, Champions Dundalk come to Dalymount for a mouth-watering mid-week fixture. It’s still good to be back!

Bohemian FC: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Robbie Creevy, 59), Adam Evans (Karl Moore, 90) Dean Kelly (Marc Griffin, 74). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Byrne, Jake Hyland, Dylan Hayes.

Galway United FC: Conor Gleeson, Colm Horgan, Samuel Oji (Padraic Cunningham, 74), Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden, Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott, Alex Byrne (Andy O’Connell, 90), Jason Molloy, Enda Curran (Jake Keegan, 69), Ryan Connolly. Subs not used: Conor Winn, Cormac Rafferty, Aaron McDonagh, Conor Barry.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Anto Murphy

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Karmann provides Bohs-mobiles in red and black

Karmann Volkswagen, Ireland’s largest Volkswagen dealer, has today been announced as official car partner of Bohemian FC for the club’s 125th anniversary year, further strengthening Karmann’s long-standing support for Bohemians. Karmann have now been associated with Bohs for a number of years and were main sponsor of the club in 2013.

As part of the new partnership Karmann will be providing Bohemian FC with two sleek Volkswagen Golfs (in Red and Black) as official club cars for the 2015 season. These cars will be highly visible throughout the season and there will be a number of new innovative activities aimed at fans. One of these will allow supporters enter online competitions to win trips in the “Bohs-mobiles” to away games, with complimentary match tickets.

Commenting on the partnership, David McGivern, Brand Manager, Karmann Volkswagen said: “We are delighted to become the official vehicle partner for Bohemian Football Club. Bohemian FC is our local premier division club. Having been supporters of the club in recent years, we are delighted to support the club in a momentous year for them and the local community – their 125th anniversary.”

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Bohemian FC Commercial Director, Daniel Lambert, welcomed Karmann Volkswagen as the club’s official car partner. “We are very pleased that VW Karmann has agreed to continue, and indeed strengthen, its links with the club in 2015,” he said.

“We aim to continue this strong partnership that delivers mutual benefits and thank the team at Karmann for their tremendous support. Karmann has a strong presence in North Dublin, where Bohemian FC has been an integral part of sporting life for 125 years. We are both looking forward to an exciting year, both on and off the pitch, on this our historic 125th anniversary.”

Karmann Volkswagen is based on the North Road in Finglas, just off Junction 5 on the M50. Karmann has a full range of new and used Volkswagens available to view indoors, including the Volkswagen Golf range and the brand new 8th generation Volkswagen Passat.

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EVERYBODY’S PUT THEMSELVES IN CONTENTION

BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UNITED
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 13 March, k-o 7.45pm

Bohemians welcome Galway United as their first visitors in the league campaign and manager Keith Long is “under no illusions” his team faces a “big test”.

But with a 3-0 away win last weekend in Limerick followed by a 3-0 home win over Athlone Town in the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday, Bohemians go into this game with confidence.

The manager saluted the performance of his team in a potentially tricky tie at Limerick, getting an early goal and not “taking our foot off the pedal”. He expects to give most of that line-up a chance to prove themselves again.

He was at least as pleased with the clean sheet as with the goals scored. “Goals win games but clean sheets are the foundation of everything that we do,” he said. “To come away with three points is a good start, but it’s no more than that. We won’t be getting too carried away.”

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Following Tuesday’s showing by an almost-entirely changed team, he has the “problem that I want” of many alternative selections. “We made nine changes to the game and the boys did very well. That’s what we want, competition for every place, and everybody putting themselves into contention.”

Long expects Galway to fight hard for their first league points, after forfeiting an early lead last week against Derry City. “I’m sure they’ll be disappointed not to have picked up some points against Derry. They’ll be coming to Dalymount expecting to get a result.

“Tommy [Dunne] did very well to bring Galway up in his first season in charge, and he knows what it takes to be competitive in the Premier Division. I am under no illusions they will present a big test for us.”

Long says Bohemians’ weak home form in recent seasons has not been an issue within his squad. “We want to put in a good, positive performance in front of our supporters, get our season started in Dalymount on the right note, and hopefully send the supporters home happy with three points.”

Bohemian have all carried-over suspensions served, and only Dan Byrne and Dave Mulcahy are out through injury. Mulcahy (calf) will return to team training later this month and Byrne (cruciate) is building his fitness towards contact training in the coming weeks.

President Michael D. Higgins will attend Friday’s match, seeing Galway in action again after returning to his home-town last weekend. A strong supporter of the League of Ireland, President Higgins will be present at Dalymount Park also to mark Bohemians’ 125th anniversary year.

Among those meeting the poet-President will be Lewis Kenny, Bohemians’ newly appointed Poet in Residence.

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