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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

“We have to dust ourselves down”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 28 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians need to rediscover their courage and to enjoy their football again as they seek a strong finish to their league campaign, according to manager Keith Long.

Bohs face Dundalk 12 weeks after they became (and remain) the only side to beat the league champions and champions-elect. But since that 2-1 victory at Oriel Park, a highpoint of the season, Bohemians have lost six of their nine league games and been beaten in the FAI Cup.

Long admits it has been difficult to overcome the disappointment of last weekend’s exit from the cup in controversial circumstances.

“We have to put it behind us as best we can. But, to be fair to the players, we certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game. I still feel we should have had a replay this week, because that wasn’t a goal,” the manager said. “We were the better side but maybe we were a little bit one-dimensional in our play.”

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Seeing the draw for the quarter-finals was “salt in the wound”, said Long, as he considered the prospect of a home tie against Killester United.

“We just have to dust ourselves down and make sure we’re right for Friday. It’s another big game and we’ll try to give our supporters something to shout about and get behind the team.”

Long aims to have his team find again the approach that brought such good returns. “We have to try and enjoy the game again and play with the courage we showed in the early part of the season,” he said. “We need to get back to having a go at teams, and being defensively organised.”

After a first series of league games in which Bohemians were largely injury-free and suspension-free, they have had several major set-backs, notably the long-term sidelining of Derek Pender, Marc Griffin and Dan Byrne.

Now midfielders Eoin Wearen (head injury) and Robbie Creevy (knee), who missed the cup match last weekend, remain out. Jake Kelly was cup-tied for the Bray game and now he is out with a hamstring injury from the earlier league match against Bray, while Anto Murphy is sidelined with an abdomen injury.

Despite this, Long insists that Bohemians “want to finish the season as strongly as we possibly can”. The squad is focused on getting the maximum return from the remaining eight games.

“We have committed to each other that we will give everything to every game. That’s the least that the team and the club deserve and we’ll see where that takes us,” Long said.

“Some games we haven’t been good enough to break down the opposition even when we’ve dominated the possession. It’s a learning curve and we are already planning ahead. But we won’t dilute the team in the coming games and we’ll be giving it a right go to the end.”

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

Bohemians mark 125 years with charity match

Bohemian Football Club will celebrate its 125th year with an exhibition match in Dalymount Park on Sunday, 6th September, with all proceeds going to suicide and self-harm charity Pieta House.

Bohemian Legends will play FAI International Masters, a side drawn from veterans of League of Ireland clubs. The match takes place on the precise date of the founding meeting, in 1890, of Bohemian Football Club.

Glen Crowe, Trevor Molloy, Tony O’Connor, Stephen Caffrey and Shaun Maher are among those who will wear the red and black of Bohemians again on this very special occasion. Former Shamrock Rovers leading goal-scorer Mick Byrne will manage the FAI Masters, who include Maurice Farrell, Paul McNally, Billy Woods and Marc Kenny.

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“I’m very grateful to Bohemian Football Club for choosing Pieta House as their charity partner for this exhibition match. Events of this kind are essential not only to fundraise, but also to raise awareness of suicide and self-harm in our communities,” said CEO of Pieta House Brian Higgins.

“Our vision is to live in a world where suicide, self-harm and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care and acceptance. Supporting and looking out for each other is a vital part of team sports and I encourage everyone, the audience, club staff and team members to continue to look after themselves and to watch out for each other.”

Glen Crowe and Paul McGee, another former Bohemian footballer and a member of the FAI Masters, who has spoken candidly about his own struggle with depression, urge support for the charity match in a video interview posted today at https://vimeo.com/137028210

Mick Byrne said the Masters initiative aimed to support former League of Ireland players, in particular their mental health and well-being. “A few were in a bad place when they joined us, and some have told us their lives have changed because of getting involved,” Byrne said. The Masters have played over 20 games in 18 months, raising many thousands for charity.

  • Bohemian Legends v FAI International Masters, Dalymount Park, Sunday 6th September, kick-off 3pm. Admission €5; children under 12 go free.

About Pieta House
Pieta House is a suicide and self-harm crisis centre founded in Lucan, Co. Dublin in 2006. With nine centres throughout Ireland, Pieta House provides a professional one-to-one therapeutic service for those who are experiencing suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm. A doctor’s referral or a psychiatric report is not required and the service is completely free of charge. To date, Pieta House has supported more than 17,500 people, with more than 5,000 of those seeking help in 2014. There are four centres in the Dublin area including in Finglas, Lucan, Ballyfermot and Tallaght.

Bohemians v Ireland Masters

“We know how important this game is”

BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup, Dalymount Park, Friday 21 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians meet Bray for the second time this week and the fifth time this season as they aim for a quarter-final place in the FAI Cup.

Manager Keith Long will have several regular starters back, who were rested for Monday’s league game. “We had one eye on Friday but, as it turned out, we didn’t get the result or the performance that I would have liked. It gives us a sharp reminder that Bray are in a good run of form,” Long said.

“We have as many points now as the team accumulated over the whole of last season. The logic of what we did on Monday was to make sure we were right for Friday. Only going through to the next round will justify that and, hopefully, we will be proven correct.”

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However, Monday’s defeat cost Bohemians not only potential points, but also injuries to two midfielders, Robbie Creevy (knee) and Eoin Wearen (head). Their injuries unsettled Bohemians’ approach to Monday’s game and both will be out for Friday. So too will recent recruit Jake Kelly, who is cup-tied.

Long paid tribute to the Bray players for battling hard through two changes of management. Bray have won six of their eight league games since the summer break, gaining nine points on Bohemians. However, it would take extraordinary circumstances to change Bohs’ league position as there are still 11 points separating them in fifth place from Bray in sixth.

“You’ve got to give the Bray players huge credit. They work extremely hard and we won’t take them lightly. We didn’t do soon Monday. I wasn’t surprised at Bray’s performance, but I was disappointed with our own.

“I would expect our players to give a good account of themselves because they know how important this game is to us as a group and to the club in general.

“The players will need no extra motivation and that’s going to be a big factor on Friday. I feel it will come down to which team that shows greater desire and I hope that will be us.”

Karl Moore missed the last league game through sickness, but he returns for Friday. Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy and Keith Buckley, who were rested on Monday, are also available. Derek Pender, Marc Griffin and Dan Byrne remain out with long-term injuries.

Bohemians and Bray have already met four times this season, as they did in 2014 and 2013. In these 12 matches in three competitions, Bohemians have won eight. Bray’s last win in Dalymount Park was in October 2013.

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

Bohs U17 Players Called into International Training Camp

Five U17 Bohemians players have been called up to join Tom Mohans U17 International Training Day to take place in the AUL Complex on August 19th.

Adam Doyle, Warren O Hora, Cian Flynn, Aaron Townley and Lee Rock have been invited to take part in the squad after their great start to the first U17 LOI season.

In other good news for the U17s, Yassine En Neyah, has been called up to the U16s international squad after his Player of the tournament performance in the Milk Cup.

Congratulations to all players from everyone at the club.

 

 

U17s

SEAGULLS’ WIN SETS UP MASSIVE CUP CLASH

BRAY WANDERERS  3 – 1  BOHEMIANS

Battling Bray Wanderers took a big step towards Airtricity League survival with a convincing 3-1 win over a much-changed Bohemians team in the Carlisle Grounds on Monday night. Mick Cooke’s men upped the ante ahead of the FAI Cup meeting between the two with a passionate performance as they came from behind to take all three points. The result continues a worrying trend for Bohemians, who have now lost their last three away games, conceding 11 goals in the process, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Keith Long made five changes to the team that defeated Galway on Friday, with Derek Prendergast, Anto Murphy, Keith Buckley, Dave Mulcahy and Ismahil Akinade all given a rest from the starting line-up with the big Cup game in mind. Bohs new signings Eoin Wearen and Jake Kelly are cup tied for Friday’s game, so both started here.

With five wins from their last 6 games, Bray were understandably in confident form, and started the game much brighter than the visitors. Wanderers captain David Cassidy was the first to threaten, forcing a smart save from Dean Delany, while Peter McGlynn on the opposite wing was in flying form. He terrorized Dylan Hayes, and forced an excellent near-post save from Delany after being played through by Cassidy.

When Bohs took the lead in the 20th minute, it was against the run of play. Ploughing a lone furrow up front, Jason Byrne forced a corner which Lorcan Fitzgerald whipped in. Goalkeeper Peter Cherrie could only punch the ball onto the head of one of hos own defenders, and the ball fell favourably for Robbie Creevy, who had the simple task of nodding into the empty net.

Unfortunately for Bohs, that was as good as it got for the whole evening. Almost from the restart, Bray went up the other end and set about unsettling the Gypsies defence. Chris Lyons nipped onto the ball just inside the box, and was dispossessed by a strong tackle from Eoin Wearen. Bizarrely, referee Robert Harvey pointed to the spot. No Bray players had really appealed for a foul. A truly, truly awful decision, and Bohs were punished when Lyons dusted himself down to convert the spot kick.

The away side were further aggrieved when a dangerous tackle by Hugh Douglas was only punished by a yellow card. Wearen, the recipient, needed stitches in a head wound, but there was confusion as the dressing rooms were locked. Wearen received some treatment in an ambulance, but the process was taking too long and Bohs were forced into a change, with Kealan Dillon coming on. Goalscorer Creevy also seemed to receive a dead leg after an Alan McNally tackle, and was replaced by Dave Mulcahy at half time.

The second half was only three minutes old when Bray grabbed a deserved lead. Roberto Lopes, who endured a thoroughly miserable night, sold Delany short with a terrible back pass. Lyons picked it up and squared to Peter McGlynn, who finished well from 12 yards.

Jason Byrne was also struggling against his old club, and Bohs only really started to look dangerous when Ismahil Akinade came on. The Nigerian powered past McNally with his first contribution, but couldn’t quite square the ball across to Jake Kelly as Cherrie got to him in time to force a corner.

With Bohs piling forward in search of the equaliser, they began to get caught out on the break. Substitute Dave Scully, a familiar face to all at Dalymount, should really have sealed the points with 5 minutes to go, but could only fire into the side netting after rounding Delany. However, Scully had the last laugh when he scored a fine goal in injury time. After receiving a square pass from Gareth McDonagh, he evaded Stephen Best’s challenge and fired into the top corner. Celebrating in front of the Bohs fans left some with a sour taste, but small sections had been giving the former Gypsy some stick.

All eyes now turn to Friday night’s clash at Dalymount Park. Bray will be upbeat after this result, but Bohs have some big hitters to return to the starting line up.

Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Hugh Douglas, Alan McNally, Niall Cooney, Michael Barker, John Sullivan, Ryan McEvoy, David Cassidy, Graham Kelly, Peter McGlynn (Dave Scully, 70), Chris Lyons (Gareth McDonagh, 85). Subs not used: Sean Fogarty, Luke Fitzpatrick, Daniel O’Reilly, Adam Wixted, Adam Mitchell.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes,  Roberto Lopes, Stephen Best, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Eoin Wearen (Kealan Dillon, 33), James O’Brien, Robbie Creevy (Dave Mulcahy 46), Jake Kelly, Jason Byrne (Ismahil Akinade, 60). Subs not used: Lee Stacey, Keith Buckley, Adam Evans, Jason Caffrey.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Dean Delany

“We’ve got to make sure we leave nothing on the pitch”

BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UTD
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 14 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians are aiming to become hard to beat again as they look to stop a sudden decline in form.

“Scoring three goals away should be good enough to win any game on the road,” said manager Keith Long as he and his squad worked on regaining the tight organisation that secured so many clean sheets.

Having had a strong defensive record for much of the season, Bohemians have conceded ten goals in three matches.

“To concede four goals in two consecutive away games just isn’t good enough and we have worked hard this week to make sure we tighten things up defensively,” said Long.

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“The players recognise where we have to improve. We’ve got to get back to being difficult to beat. The last couple of games we’ve been very open to play against, and that’s something we’ll try to solve.”

Long had always anticipated there would be “low moments as well as high moments” and he is looking to “hard work” and “a strong performance” from the players to secure a win on Friday and ensure more high moments.

The Bohemian manager saluted the fans who continue to “believe in the honesty of this group”, and particularly those who made the journeys to Cork and Limerick.

“We didn’t give them value for money and we’ve got to build back that trust with them on Friday night. We’ve got to make sure we leave nothing on the pitch.”

Long insisted that Bohemians still have a lot to play for in the league despite their position between the groups above and below them, with a six-point margin on one side and nine-point gap on the other.

“We’ve got to win every match we possibly can. We owe that to the supporters, to the club and to ourselves,” he said. “The club is moving forward on and off the pitch and we’re not going to carry anyone who doesn’t buy into what we’re trying to do.”

Bohs’ 4-3 defeat in Limerick last weekend had a strange echo of a result last May against Friday’s opponents, Galway United.

Having started the league campaign conceding only seven goals in 12 games, Bohemians scored three but let in five in Galway.

That night, Derek Pender was missing and, last Friday, he and Lorcan Fitzgerald were both out. “We’re making no excuses but we have really missed our full-backs. These are two of the best full-backs in the country,” said Long.

He has had to shuffle his back line repeatedly due to Pender’s absence since June, then Anto Murphy’s injury and his later suspension and, more recently, Fitzgerald’s hamstring injury.
For this Friday, Fitzgerald returns, as does Eoin Wearen, who was out last weekend with an ankle injury from the Cork game two weeks ago.

Goalkeeper Lee Steacy returns to the squad having missed last weekend due to a training injury on his hand.

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

Poets v Musicians

Our poet in residence Lewis Kenny writes:

Attention all musicians and poets. It’s time to do battle! August 30th in Dalymount Park we’ll be doing a fundraiser for youth project at Lingo: A Spoken Word Festival.

€10 to play at the spiritual home of Irish football. To sign up just follow this link for the details. And please share if you can!

 

Poets v Musicians

LIMERICK PREVAIL IN 7-GOAL THRILLER

LIMERICK  4 – 3  BOHEMIANS

Seven goals, two penalties, a red card, and more – just an average Saturday evening in Market’s Field as Bohemians crashed to their second disappointing away defeat in a week. Following the loss to Cork City last week, few would have expected the Gypsies to concede another 4 goals against the Airtricity League’s bottom side. But unfortunately for Keith Long’s men, they surrendered 2-1 and 3-2 leads to a passionate Limerick team that had been reduced to ten men just after the break.

Long shuffled the pack after the Cork defeat, and switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation with Jake Kelly playing in behind Izzy Akinade up front. Jason Caffrey made his first league start at left back as Roberto Lopes returned to the centre of midfield. However, as the game kicked off in the spitting rain, no one could have predicted what was to follow, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Limerick had their tails up following their first victory of the season against Sligo last week, and started with intent, with wingers Lee-J Lynch and Shane Treacy causing both Bohs full backs problems. The opening goal came unsurprisingly from a cross, with full-back Ian Turner delivering a perfect whipped ball onto the head of Vinny Faherty, who leapt above Anto Murphy and produced a fine header into the top corner of Dean Delany’s net. The 800-strong home crowd were already dreaming of survival.

Bohs clicked into life, and Jake Kelly should have scored when he found himself all alone in front of goal following a Paddy Kavanagh cross, but the former Dundalk man delayed too long, and allowed Freddy Hall to make the save. The equaliser came with five minutes to go before half time. This time Kelly was the provider, launching an inch-perfect corner onto Izzy Akinade’s head. The big striker made no mistake from six yards, nodding past Hall to send the teams in level.

The Gypsies came flying out of the traps in the second half, and Akinade produced what looked to be the decisive moment in the 51st minute. Reacting to a long throw from Anto Murphy, he bulled past Patrick Kanyuka, and was through on goal before the defender hauled him down. It was an easy decision for referee Sean Grant – penalty for Bohs and a red card for Kanyuka. Jake Kelly stepped up and rifled the penalty home for his first Bohs goal – and bookies would have paid out on an away win.

However, the Russell family had other ideas. Manager Martin sent on his son Sean, and within two minutes, the youngster had equalised with an amazing strike. The substitute unleashed a fearsome snapshot from 25 yards that flashed past Delany before he could even move. The pendulum swung back in Bohs favour on 68 minutes. This time, Lopes put Kelly through, and the new man got his second with a neat finish inside Hall’s near post. 3-2 Bohs, but there was much more drama to come.

Full credit to Limerick, they sensed weakness in the Bohs backline and punished it. The 3-3 equaliser was scored by Lee Lynch, who volleyed home following a corner scramble. Then, incredibly, the home side took the lead with 15 to go. Robbie Creevy, only just on for the injured Anto Murphy, hauled down Dean Clarke just inside the box. Bohs protested that the foul originated outside the area, but referee Grant was happy to award his second spot kick of the night. Shane Treacy’s penalty was un-saveable – pinging in off the inside of the post.

With 15 minutes to save it, Bohs missed a couple of unbelievable chances. Akinade had a shot wonderfully blocked by Robbie Williams, but Dave Mulachy had the best chance of all. With the game entering injury time, Mulcahy found himself 8 yards out with only Hall to beat, but blazed wide and over. It summed up the evening for Bohs, who headed back up the M7 with much to ponder.

Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner (Seán Russell, 56), Lee-J Lynch, Dean Clarke (Darragh Rainsford, 86), Vinny Faherty. Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Tony Whitehead, Paudie O’Connor, Ross Mann, Cyril Guedjé.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy (Robbie Creevy, 70), Derek Prendergast, Dave Mulcahy, Jason Caffrey, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley (Kealan Dillon, 88), Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 70), Jake Kelly, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Dean Mahon, Jason Byrne, James O’Brien, Stephen Best.
BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Jake Kelly

“WE’LL BE HOPING FOR A REACTION”

Limerick FC v Bohemians
SSE Airtricity League, Markets Field, Saturday 8 August, 6.30pm

Bohemians go south again, aiming to wipe the memory of last week’s defeat in Cork. Having gone down 4-0 to title-chasers Cork City, Bohemians face bottom-of-the-table Limerick, fresh from their first win of the season.

Manager Keith Long was deeply disappointed with Bohemians’ display in Turner’s Cross, describing it as “our worst performance this season”.

“We had a discussion among ourselves and some home truths were told, and we’ll be hoping for a reaction on Saturday,” Long said.

“We let ourselves down last Friday. When you don’t turn up and you don’t play your normal game, you’re going to be punished. We carried too many players, we didn’t play with tempo and intensity, and it was unlike us.

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“It confirmed what we knew already: individually and collectively, we have to be right on top of our game to get results.”

With a depleted squad going to Cork, Long put Jake Kelly into the line-up just over 24 hours after the 25-year-old forward completed his signing from Dundalk.

The manager knew what he could expect of his recruit, having worked with him at Bray, and entrusted him with corners and free-kicks despite Kelly not having trained with the squad.

One of Kelly’s efforts on goal, early in the second half, hit the cross-bar. “If that had gone in, the dynamic of the game changes, and we are back in it. But overall we have no complaints. We got what we deserved from the game, which was nothing,” said Long.

“Jake’s got good quality and he’ll benefit from those 80 minutes. He hasn’t played from the start too often this season. When he integrates with the group fully and gets up to match fitness, you’ll see what he can contribute.”

Twenty-eight points behind Bohemians in the league table, Limerick will battle for anything they can get from the game. “Martin [Russell] has made changes and brought in new faces and, with the win over Sligo, the mood in their camp has got to be good. We’re wary of the threat that Limerick pose,” said Long.

Bohemians began the present campaign in March with a 3-0 win at Limerick’s temporary home, Jackman Park, but two months later needed a late goal from Jason Byrne to clinch a 2-1 win over Limerick at Dalymount.

For Saturday, Anto Murphy and Paddy Kavanagh make a “welcome” return to the squad following suspension. Lorcan Fitzgerald’s recovery from hamstring injury has been slower than anticipated and he is likely to miss this game. Derek Pender, Dan Byrne and Marc Griffin are out for the longer term.

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

The Flying Doctor and the free-scoring publican: the extraordinary O’Flanagan Brothers

Along Marlborough Street, opposite the Department of Education and a 100 yards or so from the Pro-Cathedral, stands the aptly-named Confession Box pub, a small intimate venue where one could air your concerns over a pint that once belonged to former Bohemians and Ireland centre-forward Mick O’Flanagan.

The pub has its own sporting legacy quite apart from its former proprietor, it was there in 1960 that the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland was formed, and it was there that Mick O’Flanagan received the phone call that would make him and Irish International.

It was, as O’Flanagan recalled, around two o’clock in the afternoon of 30th September 1946 when a call came to the pub from Tommy Hutchinson, the Bohemians member of the FAI selection committee which chose the Irish International team.

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Ireland were due to play England at 5:30 that afternoon, a historic meeting between the two nations as this was a first time the English national side had agreed to play an FAI selected team since the split with the IFA in 1921.

After decades of being ignored and ostracised by the English FA the FAI had finally secured a fixture against a formidable English side in Dalymount Park. In the minds of the FAI committee of 1946 this was the biggest game in its relatively short history. There was only one problem, their centre-forward, West Brom’s Davy Walsh had pulled out through injury.

This was the purpose of Hutchinson’s call to Mick O’Flanagan, the 24 year old Bohemian striker was being asked to line out against the inventors of the beautiful game at the last minute.

As O’Flanagan remembered:

“I went home to Terenure for a bite to eat, had a short rest and then headed off to Dalymount. It was not really sufficient notice as only the previous evening I had brought a party of English journalists to Templeogue tennis club and I hadn’t got home until nearly two in the morning.”

Despite a laughable lack of preparation, the Irish side put it up to their illustrious opponents who had hammered an IFA selection 7-2 just days earlier. It was only a Tom Finney winner eight minutes from time that sealed victory for the English.

Henry Rose in the Daily Express was moved to write:

“If ever a team deserved to win Eire did. They out-played, out-fought, out-tackled, out-starred generally the cream of English talent, reduced the brilliant English team of Saturday to an ordinary looking side that never got on top of the job.”

Not only did Mick O’Flanagan line out against the likes of Finney, Billy Wright, Tommy Lawton and Raich Carter, he did so alongside his older brother, and fellow Bohemian, Kevin (pictured).

Brothers Kevin and Mick O’Flanagan are unique in world sport as not only did they play international football for their country, they both were capped by Ireland at Rugby, making them the only pair of brothers in the world to play for their nation in both codes.

Mick was capped against Scotland in 1948 as part of the last Irish Grand Slam winning side until 2009, while Kevin had been capped a year previous to that against Australia. This unique achievement is one that isn’t likely to be repeated anytime soon.

Despite this singular accomplishment the sporting careers of the brothers could have been even more illustrious had it not been for the outbreak of World War 2. Both brothers were lining out for Bohemians when hostilities commenced in 1939, Mick a 17-year-old just beginning his career, his older brother Kevin at 20 had been a first-teamer for four years, had already captained Bohemians and had seven Irish caps and three goals to his name as well as being selected to play for Northern Ireland.

While the League of Ireland would continue during the war years, international football would cease for Ireland until 1946. Similarly, Olympic competition would cease which would rob Kevin the chance of competing in the Olympiads of 1940 and 1944. Kevin, at the time was a medical student in UCD, was Irish sprint champion at 60 and 100 yards as well as being national long jump champion.

He had even been a promising GAA footballer, lining out for the Dublin minor panel alongside Johnny Carey (Carey and O’Flanagan would both make their international debuts as teenagers against Norway in 1937) before being dropped because of his involvement with the “Garrison game”.

Young Michael would also miss out, his best goal scoring season would be 1940-41 where he finished as the League’s top scorer with 19 goals for Bohs. Had war not been raging across Europe he might rightly have expected to have more than his solitary international cap.

Both brothers remained committed to the amateur ethos of the club which explains the duration of their stays at Bohemians. Mick as a publican in the city centre and Kevin as a medical student and later a Doctor weren’t likely to be swayed by the offer of a couple of extra quid a week from a rival club.

Indeed Kevin took his commitment to the Corinthian ideal to the extreme, upon qualifying as a doctor in 1945 he had been offered a position as a GP in Ruislip, London. Despite this move he kept up and even increased his sporting activities, he signed on with Arsenal as an amateur while also lining out as a Rugby player for London Irish, when Arsenal invited him to submit his expense claims, they were shocked that he asked for just 4p, the cost of his tube journey from Ruislip to Arsenal.

Bernard Joy, a team-mate of Kevin’s at Arsenal, and a fellow amateur, noted in his history of the club that Arsenal secretary Bob Wall quipped that Kevin “did not want to know anything about tactics. I play football the way I feel it should be played’, he would say.”

Arsenal coach Tom Whittaker said that O’Flanagan could have been “one of the greatest players in football history” if only he could have gotten him to train properly. Despite only spending one full season with the Arsenal first team (for whom he scored three times) Kevin would make a big impression.

No lesser an authority than Brian Glanville described him thus:

“A fascinating, amateur, figure in those Arsenal teams between 1945 and 1947 was the powerfully athletic Irish outside right, the hugely popular Dr. Kevin O’Flanagan. Coming from Dublin to London to take up a general medical practice, he demonstrated pace, strength and a fearsome right foot. He attained the distinction of playing soccer for Ireland on a Saturday, rugby for them the following Sunday.”

Between them, the O’Flanagan brothers would spend almost 20 years as players for Bohemians, while their younger brother Charlie O’Flanagan, a winger, would also line out for the club in the 1946-47 season.

Kevin would return to the Dalymount in another role, that of the club’s Chief Medical Officer and despite his retirement as a player he would remain hugely busy as a sporting physician and sports administrator. He was a member of the International Olympic Committee for almost 20 years before being made an Honorary Lifetime member upon his retirement and was the Chief Medical Officer of numerous Irish Olympic teams throughout the 1960’s and 70’s.

Despite missing out as a competitor, “The Flying Doctor” would manage to make a huge contribution to the Olympics and to Irish Sport in general.
Despite their almost twenty years service in the red and black of Bohs and the almost two hundred goals scored between them the honours list for the two brothers was relatively short. Both brothers combined to help Bohs win the Inter-City Cup in 1945 in somewhat controversial circumstances.

A year later after Kevin left for London, Mick scored an astonishing six goals in Bohs 11-0 victory over local rivals Grangegorman in the Leinster Senior Cup final, a record not likely to be broken any time soon by a Bohemian player in a cup final.

So much about the brothers’ careers is unique or exceptional, so in this our 125th year it’s worth remembering two of the greatest all-round sportsmen that Ireland has ever produced.

 

Dr Kevin O'Flanagan
Website by Simon Alcock