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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

COSTLY MISTAKES OVERSHADOW POSITIVE PERFORMANCE

BOHEMIANS v SLIGO ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Monday 21 April, 3pm

Bohemians are looking to halt a slump of two defeats in a row when they host Sligo Rovers on Easter Monday. A poor performance at home to Limerick nine days ago was followed up with a much improved display away to the champions St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday evening, yet yielded the same result.

Manager Owen Heary bemoaned his players’ costly mistakes but found some positives too. He said: “I was happier that we played a lot better against St Pat’s than we had in some of the previous few games. We created chances, which we hadn’t done against Limerick.

“But Pat’s are a very experienced side throughout compared to the team we had out. They will let you play football the right way but they’ll also punish you if you make mistakes and that’s what happened.

“It was a fantastic goal from Jason Byrne to give us the lead but we only managed to hold on to the lead for four minutes and that’s really not good enough.

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“We work hard all week on trying to eradicate individual mistakes from our game, so it’s frustrating when it happens again. They’re not small mistakes. They’re big ones if they’re costing us goals and results.”

The fixture list hasn’t helped Bohs’ bid to get more points on the board but Heary has challenged his players to step up and prove their worth.

He said: “You could say we’re unfortunate in that we’re playing three of the best sides in the league – Pat’s, Sligo and Cork – in a row but that’s what the players should want. They should be wanting to go out and play against the best in the league – to push themselves, to better themselves and test themselves against the very best.

“We all knew Sligo were going to come good eventually and they’ve shown that in their last few games where they’ve scored goals for fun against St Pat’s and UCD and got a good draw away to Cork in between. We know we’re up against one of the best teams around.”

Heary admitted the return of club captain Dave Mulcahy, who played the full 90 minutes on Friday in what was his first appearance since the opening day of the league season after knee and calf injuries, was a “massive plus” but he is set to tinker with his line-up again as there are “a lot of tired bodies”.

“We did very well to get 90 minutes out of Jason too,” he added. “We would have liked to have taken him off after around 70 minutes but with Dinny Corcoran out, Jay was the best person to get us back into the game so we had to leave him on. But there were a lot of tired bodies on Friday and you don’t want to be flogging players, so we will change things around in certain areas.”

Heary’s options are limited by the continued absence of Corcoran, who will have a scan on his knee injury on Tuesday, as well as Anto Murphy (hamstring) and Jack Memery (knee). Goalkeeper Dean Delany returns to the squad after serving his additional one-match ban for the red card he received against Bray Wanderers earlier this month.

CLINICAL PAT’S PUNISH BOHS

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 3 BOHEMIANS 1 

Bohemians produced an improved performance from the poor display against Limerick last week but the result was the same as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat in Inchicore on Friday night, writes CONOR HAYES.

A great finish from Jason Byrne had given Bohs the lead but goals from former Bohs pair Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester sealed the win for the champions in front of President Michael D. Higgins and ensured a second defeat on the bounce for Owen Heary’s side.

Bohs made five changes from the game against Limerick with forward Byrne, captain Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy and Andy Mulligan coming into the side. Both sides began cautiously as the Bohs five-man midfield pressed their opponents into making mistakes in the initial stages.

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Despite having the lion share of possession the champions did not look dangerous early on but did have the first shot in anger on eight minutes. Forrester was a threat roaming inside from the left-hand side and he found himself at the edge of the box after eight minutes but his looping effort went comfortably over the bar.

Craig Walsh looked to have been given the task of shackling Irish international Keith Fahey and he went about the task enthusiastically, ensuring the vaunted midfielder did not get a foothold in the game during the first half.

Bohs didn’t really threaten their opponents’ goal during this period but after 23 minutes they found themselves in the lead after a stunning strike from Byrne. A driving run from Walsh in midfield saw him pick out the lone striker, who had peeled off the last defender and from the edge of the area he produced an audacious chip over a stunned Brendan Clarke and into the net. A goal of instinctive brilliance.

The away side’s lead was to be short-lived, however, as Pat’s levelled just four minutes later. Ger O’Brien cross into the area was only half-cleared by Aidan Price, the ball rolled into the path of Fagan, who finished coolly into the corner.

The Richmond Park outfit were buoyed by their equaliser and dominated the rest of the first half, creating numerous chances. Conan Byrne was creating havoc down Bohs’ left side and twice his searching balls into the danger zone almost found Fagan who was lurking.

On 37 minutes, Fahey’s free-kick was floated into the area and picked out Fagan inside the six-yard box. His downward header looked destined for the goal but was superbly clawed away by Bohs net-minder Lee Murphy. Bohs were praying for the half-time whistle now and three minutes from the break they escaped conceding again as James Chambers headed over.

The visitors began the second half with more of a foothold in the game and had the chance to take an unlikely lead in the 49th minute as a Darragh Reynor free-kick found Price in space but he could only direct his header wide. Murphy then again showed his shot-stopping ability with a super save on to the post from a long range thunderbolt from Fagan.

Karl Moore had been summoned from the bench at half-time and at times looked dangerous on the left wing, after 57 minutes his cross was just deflected wide of  Byrne, who was waiting to apply the finish.

Jason’s namesake Conan continued to be a menace to the Gypsies’ defence and his ball in on 64 minutes found Forrester three yards from goal but he somehow manged to blaze it over much to the glee of Bohemians supporters behind the goal.

Forrester’s embarrassment would not last, however, as barely a minute later, his side had the lead for the first time. Fahey, whose influence in the game continued to grow, found Conan Byrne with a perfect through ball, the winger then drilled a cross into the middle of the area which after a scramble found its way to Fagan who had his second of the night.

Bohs tried to respond and their chance came with 17 minutes remaining. Good work from Moore found Reynor, his pin-point swinging cross found Jason Byrne only a few yards from goal but he skewed his free header wide.

One felt Bohs would be punished for such profligacy and the killer goal duly arrived four minutes later. Fagan this time the provider as his pass fell to Forrester who skillfully beat two defenders in the box before sending Murphy the wrong way and finding the net.

The game fizzled out at this point with Pats clearly happy with their two goal advantage while the men playing in green couldn’t create a way back into the match.

So a disappointing night for Bohemians, they will try to bounce back and improve their home form against Sligo at 3pm on Easter Monday.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien (c) (Conor McCormack 81), Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham , Kenny Browne, James Chambers (Sam Verdon 89), Keith Fahey, Lee Lynch, Conan Byrne, Christopher Forrester, Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Derek Foran, Lorcan Fitzgearld, Peter Durrard, Daryl Kavanagh.

Bohemians: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Darragh Reynor, Keith Buckley (Paddy Kavanagh 77), Ryan McEvoy, Dave Mulcahy (c), Craig Walsh (Steven Beattie 62), Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore 45), Jason Byrne.
Subs not used: Gavin Moore, Dan Byrne, Jake Hyland Stephen Traynor.

“THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT”

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
Friday April 18, SSE Airtricity League, Richmond Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians go to Inchicore aiming to protect an unbeaten record in away games. Both of Bohs’ victories in the league have come on the road, and they have also secured a draw against league-leaders Dundalk on their travels, writes BRIAN TRENCH.

Friday’s game against St Patrick’s Athletic is one of a packed schedule of six matches in 18 days against the top sides in three competitions. But “this is what it’s all about”, according to Bohemian manager Owen Heary.

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“These will be difficult games. The squad will be tested, as some of the players aren’t used to playing game after game after game. But we have to get them into the right mindset.”

Of the last six league games Bohemians have played at Inchicore, three have been draws and Bohs have won one.

“Pat’s have a quality squad and they know better than anyone that they have not played to their potential,” said Heary. “For us, it’s a bit like we were against Dundalk. We need to be positive when we have the ball and tight when we don’t have it.”

Heary expects a more entertaining game than the grim encounter with Limerick last week. “The two teams like to play football. It will, hopefully, be not too open a game. But the two teams like to get on the ball and pass it.”

Bohemian skipper (and ex-Pats player) Dave Mulcahy is expected to make his first appearance of the league season following calf and knee injuries but defender Anto Murphy (hamstring) remains out “for another three or four weeks”.

Goalkeeper Dean Delany is suspended, completing his two-match ban on Friday, and Dinny Corcoran is sidelined with a knock to the knee, but may make it back for Monday’s home game against Sligo.

Veteran striker Jason Byrne looks likely to start, as he did against Dundalk and Athlone Town. “He’s a smashing player, and he knows where the goal is. But we have other options as well, so I’m not too worried about it,” said Heary.

Last week’s defeat at home to Limerick was frustrating for the squad to review, the manager said. “It’s the first time we haven’t created an awful lot of chances. In the last third of the pitch we just weren’t creating enough.

“Maybe there was a bit of nervousness too, knowing we haven’t won at Dalymount. But then you look at Stephen Traynor’s shot. It’s going in and it hits a bobble and goes wide.

“Limerick didn’t create chances either. It was the second phase of play from their corner, some of our lads lose their man, and they score. ”

Heary has been getting the players focused on the next game, even though they were “gutted”.

“That’s a game we should have seen out for a nil-all draw, at worst. I know we’re a better team than that.”

CRAIG’S A TEAM PLAYER

It’s hard to ignore his standout creative performances in the centre of the park, but Craig Walsh is not interested in being the centre of attention. Despite collecting man-of-the-match awards and being singled out for special praise by manager Owen Heary, the midfielder is more concerned with being a team player as Bohemians look to consolidate and improve their league position, writes CILLIAN SHIELDS.

Signed from UCD, the 22-year-old has slotted into Heary’s starting XI with a natural ease. “I’ve settled in well,” he said. “But I’m more worried about the team winning and playing well as a whole. If you get everyone playing well in the team, that’s great because it’s a team game, not an individual sport. My only aim is for the team to win and for me to get into that starting XI.”

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WHELAN FAMILY’S MESSAGE TO BOHS VOLUNTEERS

Christy Whelan, brother of Liam, has asked us to include the following message from the Whelan family in our programme and on our website:

“The Whelan family would like to thank the Bohemian supporters for all they’ve done with their work on the Liam Whelan Bridge, cleaning and repairing the damage to the plaque and its surrounds.

“Their swift response and valuable work is much appreciated by the entire Whelan family.”

Picture (Sportsfile): Christy with Bobby Charlton at the 2006 unveiling of the Liam Whelan Bridge.

LIAM WHELAN BRIDGE CLEAN-UP

Bohemian FC officials and supporters today cleaned up and covered up the disgusting graffiti on the nearby Liam Whelan Bridge.

Liam was both a local and international legend. Everyone at Bohs echoes the unanimous condemnation of this act and shares the disbelief that someone could do something so thoughtless and hurtful, particularly as members of his family still live locally.

A Cabra man and Ireland international, Whelan was one of 21 people killed in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster as Manchester United made a refuelling stop en route home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade.

He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, while the railway bridge at Fassaugh Road in Cabra was renamed in his honour in 2006. Both are just a short walk from Dalymount Park.

Liam’s brother Christy is a long-time Bohs fan and is still a regular at Dalyer. Christy’s grandsons Donal and Cathal are also dedicated supporters of the club.

POST-MATCH: BOHEMIANS 0 LIMERICK 1

Robert O’Reardon got the thoughts of Bohemian manager Owen Heary after Friday night’s defeat against Limerick at Dalymount Park.

Heary expressed his annoyance at how Limerick’s frustrating tactics dictated the flow of the game and that a lapse of concentration allowed Rory Gaffney take all three points for the visitors.

There was some good news from the gaffer, however, as he revealed club captain Dave Mulcahy – yet to feature this season due to a niggling knee injury – is expected to get a full week’s worth of training under his belt ahead of the upcoming Easter weekend games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers.

Filmed by Jamie O’Halleron.

WEEKENDER: APRIL 11

BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR

After the first double-header weekend of the season (at least for teams without Setanta Cup involvement), there is an interesting list of fixtures this evening.

Easter weekend sees another double-header of fixtures so this is a stage of the season during which we might expect teams with larger (and better) squads to do well and grind out points, often in low-scoring games.

Low-scoring games are not something that Bohs fans have had to worry about of late though, running out 3-1 winners our last outing in Athlone. Scraping a draw at home to Bray felt good at the time (with ten men), and a point away to Dundalk wasn’t a bad result, but more of these performances will have to be turned into wins, particularly at home, if we are to improve on last season’s final league position.

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Tonight’s opposition in the shape of Limerick, represents a bit of an acid test if we are to be honest, in terms of improving on last year’s position. They took all nine points that were up for grabs between the teams last season, and themselves and Cork were the “safe group” just above the drop zone we found ourselves in last season.

From the limited form we have to go on so far this season, Cork appear to be determined to deliver a title tilt, so winning points against Limerick is crucial. At a price of 5/6 though, unfortunately Bohs cannot be trusted to do that. We will examine the team’s home record in greater detail in the coming weeks, but suffice to say it’s awful in recent years and teams run their hands at the prospect of coming to the Home of Football. With Limerick having started the season slowly and Bohs desperate to tighten up further at the back, we are going to go with last week’s [losing] bet again, banking on at least team to keep a clean sheet at 4/5 with Boyles.

Ludicrously touted as “the Luas Derby” by RTE’s John Kenny, St Pat’s go to battle with Shamrock Rovers in Inchicore this evening, with both sides having seriously wobbled last Friday, beaten out of sight by Dundalk and Cork City respectively. Both sides will be keen to avoid two defeats in a row, and a draw here would be welcomed by the provincial sides with their eyes on the title, such as Cork and Dundalk. The draw can be backed at 23/10 with Ladbrokes and that is fair for an outcome which neither team would be too upset about.

Recommended:
Bohs v Limerick Both Teams to Score NO, 1pt 4/5 (Boyles)
St Pat’s v Shamrock Draw, 1pt 23/10 (Ladbrokes)

“A HOME VICTORY WOULD BE GOOD FOR US ALL”

BOHEMIANS v LIMERICK
Friday April 11, SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians are looking to secure seven points in eight days as they welcome Limerick to Dalymount on Friday, writes BRIAN TRENCH.

With a hard-won point from last week’s home match and a more comfortable three-point trip to Athlone, Bohemians will be “happy with seven points from nine – that will be a massive week for us”, according to manager Owen Heary.

Limerick have yet to win this season but they had a 100 per cent record in three league matches against Bohemians last year.

“They have to get a win some time, but hopefully not on Friday. It was the same against Athlone. They are going to pick up points some time. But we went down and did a professional job,” said Heary.

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“Limerick work hard, they’re good on the ball and they’re capable of getting points off a lot of teams. They have had a week’s rest, so we have to have players who are fresh and ready for the game, and fully focused on getting the three points.”

Limerick recently drew against the title-holders, St Patrick’s Athletic, Heary noted. “They’re getting their full squad back and they’re not conceding many goals. They’re a big threat from set-pieces with a couple of dead-ball specialists, so it’s important that we don’t give away too many free kicks around the box.”

For Friday, Anto Murphy (hamstring) and Jack Memery (knee) are absent. Club captain Dave Mulcahy has returned to full training following a knee injury and is likely to make the matchday squad. “Dave coming back is important for us and we’ll certainly need him with a game against the champions coming up,” said Heary.

Dan Byrne and Darragh Reynor are among those who made their first league starts of this season in the last fortnight and made strong claims to keep their places.

“Darragh has a great left foot, and is good in set-pieces, and that’s been valuable in the last games. It’s not an ideal position for him to play but he’s gone in there and done a job,” commented his manager.

“Against Dundalk, Dano [Byrne] did the job of protecting the back four brilliantly, against Bray he helped pushed us forward and against Athlone he scored a goal. He reads the game very well and he’s earned his place.”

Goalkeeper Lee Murphy was called into action in difficult circumstances last Friday, after Dean Delany’s sending-off, and acquitted himself well. “Lee’s a big lad and big presence. He and Dean are pushing each other on,” said Heary. Delany has served his automatic suspension and has a further one-match suspension to serve next week. But Heary has a choice to make for Friday between the two ex-Shels keepers.

Overall, Heary reckons his team is “playing well, even if we didn’t get some results we should have. There’s a positive vibe throughout the club and in the team. I think the fans are enjoying how the team is playing. A home victory would be very good for all of us, and would set a tone for the next few weeks.”

BE A BOHS HAT-TRICK HERO

What do you think it would cost you to sponsor a Bohs match, the matchball and a player’s jersey for the season?

On top of that, you would also be entered into a raffle with fantastic prizes, including Bohs matchday hospitality packages. And if that wasn’t enough, you would also be contributing to a charity.

Hat-trick Sponsorship Initiative 2014

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