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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

OWN GOAL SEES BOHS CRASH OUT

LEINSTER SENIOR CUP: BOHEMIANS 1 UCD 2 (AET)

Bohemians’ first competitive game of the season ended in an extra-time defeat to soon-to-be familiar foes UCD on Sunday afternoon, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

This was the first of three games against the Students across three competitions in the coming weeks. Unfortunately for Bohs, bossed by assistant manager Owen Heary, this first installment went the way of the visitors after former Student Ciaran Nangle’s own goal in the second period of extra-time.

Frustrated by a series of postponements of pre-season friendlies scheduled for Dalymount, this was the first chance for the Bohs faithful to get a look at the much talked-about home surface.

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Unfortunately, the prognosis does not look good. While groundstaff have been working tirelessly, the recent appalling weather has had an impact –  the surface is patchy and bobbly, and doesn’t lend itself to flowing football at the moment.

Dave Scully partnered Stephen Paisley at the heart of the Bohs defence. Scully became a cult figure for Bohs fans last season and boss Aaron Callaghan has hinted that centre-half is a position the 28-year-old could fill regularly, having previously played there under Roddy Collins at Carlisle United.

The Gypsies started with a new-look midfield trio of Conor O’Brien, Shane Murray and Darragh Reynor. The latter was particularly impressive, showing a fine range of passing and a bit of bite that could come in handy this term.

Reynor, a former Nottingham Forest youth player, kickstarted the first meaningful move of the match. His raking 40-yard crossfield pass found the overlapping Nangle, whose cross should really have been converted by the head of Dwayne Wilson. The ball struck Wilson’s shoulder when a clean contact would have surely put the home side in front.

Wilson was playing in the lone frontman role that he excelled in against Shamrock Rovers in the famous 4-0 slaying, and he had another half chance after 11 minutes. Reynor’s Scholes-esque through ball put Wilson in behind the UCD defence, but his control let him down and the ball was cleared for a corner.

The pitch was causing problems for midfielders trying to play the ball on the deck. O’Brien got himself stuck and gave the ball away to ex-Bohs man Dinny Corcoran, who unleashed a lovely curling left-footed shot that seemed destined for the top corner, only for Greg Murray to pull off a terrific fingertip save.

The best chance of the first half fell to Wilson. A dinked cross from Karl Moore forced UCD’s Sean Coyne into a poor defensive header. It went straight to Wislon just seven yards out, but his strike was fired high over Conor O’Donnell’s crossbar.

Bohs definitely had the better of the opening half, but the only other effort of note was a Karl Moore 25-yarder that had O’Donnell scrambling before looping wide.

Despite the Leinster Senior Cup’s status as a competitive competition, this game had a distinct pre-season friendly feel about it, especially in the second half. Neither side really pressed in midfield areas, and goalmouth action was at a premium.

Wilson caught UCD’s Hughie Douglas napping on the hour mark, nipping in to force O’Donnell into a smart save. The ball rebounded to Murray, but his looping shot was cleared off the line by the retreating UCD defence.

Moore missed a guilt-edged chance to open the scoring with just  nine minutes remaining. The bustling Reynor clipped the ball through, but Moore shot wide from just 12 yards with only the keeper to beat.

It looked like that would be a costly miss, as the Students took the lead with just three minutes left on the clock thanks to a nightmare error from Bohs keeper Murray.

Having collected a routine backpass, the pitch and poor technique meant Murray’s kick trickled to Gary Burke, who had the simple task of rolling the ball in against his former club.

It looked like the visitors had completed a smash-and-grab raid, but Scully had other ideas. Just a minute later, he nodded in Reynor’s free-kick to send the game into extra-time.  His outrageous John Travolta-style dancing celebration was probably the highlight of a bitterly cold afternoon.

Extra-time seemed to be an unwanted period for all concerned, especially those concerned with the state of the pitch. Again, there was little goalmouth action until the second period. After referee Paul Tuite had given UCD a soft free-kick on the corner of the box, Sean Russell fired in a wicked cross that Nangle could only direct into his own net.

The teams (and hopefully the temperature) will be drastically different when the teams meet next in the Airtricity League opener in 12 days’ time. Callaghan will also be hoping for a different outcome.

Bohemians: Greg Murray, Michael Barker, Stephen Paisley, Dave Scully, Ciaran Nangle, Shane Fitzgerald (Lee Whelan, 106), Conor O’Brien (Niall Forrester, 64), Darragh Reynor, Shane Murray, Karl Moore, Dwayne Wilson (Adam Kelly, 64). Subs not used: Conor Little, Kevin O’Leary, Luke Kelly.

UCD: Conor McDonnell, Gareth Matthews, Hughie Douglas, James Kavanagh, Sean Coyne, Dean Clake, Colm Crowe (Tomas Boyle, 61), Craig Walsh (Adam Whelan, 102), Sean Russell, Gary Burke, Daniel Corcoran (Oua Adeyemo, 61). Subs not used: Ger Barron, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Robbie Suayer, Liam Traynor.

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BOHS SHAKE IT UP

Unperturbed that Derry City players had got there first, Bohemians pressed ahead and took a little break from their pre-season preparations to make their own version of the Harlem Shake.

Caution: Contains bare bottoms and socks in odd places.

RYAN MIGHTY

Ryan McEvoy believes Bohemians can end the year with a trophy, writes FRANKIE LALLY.

The midfielder’s only silverware at the club came in the shape of an EA Sports Cup in 2009 and he feels it is now time to add another medal to his collection.

McEvoy explained: “We want to win something and it doesn’t matter what it is. We genuinely feel we have a great chance of winning something this year.”

Bohs will be aiming to take a step in the right direction with a victory in the Leinster Senior Cup on on Sunday as they take to the field at Dalymount Park for the first time since October.

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In the first of three early-season meetings with UCD, the Gypsies hope to lay down a marker with McEvoy determined to make an impression in the league and improve on last season’s seventh-place finish.

He said: “We’re going to have a go at the league and we have no fear after last season.

“It’s an overall better squad this year and if we could beat Shamrock Rovers and the like last season I don’t see why we can’t have a good go this year.

“I’d be massively disappointed if we don’t improve on last season. The lads that have come in are hungry and they know what it’s about.

“Everybody is fighting for positions, so you have to be on your toes all the time. It’s good that we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

The 22-year-old has had a bright start to pre-season and while he insists the fans should not get too carried away, he reckons this squad is better than last year’s.

McEvoy added: “We’re back six weeks now and we’re flying. It’s good to be scoring goals considering the slow start we had last season.

“We have a good base and it’s not thrown together like last year and I think we’ll be really disappointed if we’re not doing well right from the start.

“We feel capable of doing a hell of a lot better this year and we felt last year we didn’t do ourselves justice in the end.

“Personally I’m fit and happy enough with how I’m doing. I’m in a lot better shape than last year and I’m buzzing to be back – it’s going to be a big year.”

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Just the ticket

Tickets for Sunday’s Leinster Senior Cup fourth-round clash with UCD (kick-off 1pm) – Bohemians’ first game of the season at Dalymount – are priced at just €10 for adults and €5 for concessions.

Sunday Club prices – €3.50 pints and €3 for longnecks – continue in the bars for the game and after it, where the Six Nations meeting of Scotland and Ireland will be screened.

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TRAYN, SET AND MATCH

Bohemian Stephen Traynor was the 11th-hour hero for DCU as they beat title-holders IT Carlow to get to their first-ever CUFL (Colleges and Universities Football League) final, writes BRIAN TRENCH.

Traynor poked home from a DCU corner in the second period of extra-time in Wednesday’s (February 20th) semi-final.

IT Carlow, for whom Bohs man Andy Mulligan came close early on, went ahead late in the first half.

But Michael Isichei equalised for DCU from the penalty spot on 70 minutes after former Gypsy Dan Mahon was fouled in the box.

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In next month’s CUFL final, Traynor will oppose yet another of his Bohemian team-mates. Roberto Lopes scored a late extra-time goal to secure DIT’s semi-final win over Athlone IT.

DIT were also finalists in 2010 but were beaten on that occasion by UCD.

On Monday (February 25th), a buoyed-up DCU begin their Collingwood Cup campaign in Jordanstown with a match against University of Ulster Magee.

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CALL FOR MEMBERSHIP PARTICIPATION

Outgoing Bohemians President Chris Brien has called for full attendance and participation at tonight’s Annual General Meeting (7.30pm, St Peter’s Hall).

Founded as a members’ club in 1890, Bohemians are one of the oldest fan-run institutions in the world.

Brien hopes that ethos will continue into our 124th season and said: “I urge all members to attend tonight. This is YOUR club and YOUR involvement is vital.

“It is important that the members hear what plans the board have for the future and that these plans are challenged to ensure they are in the best interests of The Bohemian Football Club.

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“Your input into these plans and, hopefully, your assistance in achieving them is what will make this club strong again. I look forward to seeing you tonight.”

Meanwhile, members in attendance tonight can purchase the superb 2013 Bohemian FC calendar for less than HALF its original price.

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D15 SUPPORTERS’ UNION

Calling all Bohs supporters in Dublin 15 and surrounding areas!

We’d like to bring to your attention the establishment of a new supporters’ club. The BFC Dublin 15 Supporters’ Union aims to bring together existing fans on matchdays and also recruit new fans from the area.

A typical matchday would involve members meeting up between 6-7pm in a location close to the Blanchardstown Centre and then availing of club buses from the Centre to Dalymount and back after the match.

Membership is free and for more information, you can visit the group’s Facebook page or email bfcdublin15@gmail.com with your name, address and contact number.

BE A BOHS HAT-TRICK HERO

The 2013 Hat-trick Sponsorship Initiative will be launched at Thursday’s AGM.

This is a unique fans’ fundraising initiative, the aim of which is for Bohs fans to collectively sponsor a Bohs match, matchball and player – the three goals!

While such sponsorship would be outside the means of many of us individually, collectively it can become a reality when we join together.

When you have goals, you also have an ‘assist’ – the HSI assist will be a designated charity, which will receive 10% of the funds raised.

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You can participate in this sponsorship initiative for as little as €10. The first 25 fans who sign up at the AGM (St Peter’s Hall, 7.30) or subsequently will be entered in an early bird draw for a football signed by the 2012 Bohs squad.

In addition, there will be a major raffle for all Bohs fans who contribute to the HSI. One entry to this raffle will be given for each €10 contributed. Prizes will be three match hospitality packages for four/five people, a signed Bohs football and a signed Bohs jersey. Don’t miss out!

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GREYSTONES AWAY ON TUESDAY

Bohemians will play Greystones FC in a friendly at The Woodlands, Greystones, next Tuesday (February 26th) with an 8pm kick-off.

CALLAGHAN: IT’S STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE

Aaron Callaghan says Bohemians’ pre-season training could not be going any better, writes FRANKIE LALLY.

The Bohs boss watched his side follow up Saturday’s 5-1 thumping of Longford Town with a 5-2 win over Dublin side Hardwicke at IT Blanchardstown on Monday evening.

Unperturbed by the ongoing upheaval in the club’s pre-season fixture list, Callaghan is delighted with what he has seen so far and insists he is unlikely to make any late additions to his squad before the league season gets under way next month.

He explained: “We have 26 in the squad at the moment and that is us closed now…”

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“That was a very good game against Hardwicke. We were very lively and I’m happy with what I saw.

“It was the first game for a lot of those players, Dave Mulcahy being one, and at this stage it’s about giving game time to everyone in the squad.

“It’s all starting to take shape now. We’ve had a really good pre-season so far and the fitness levels are good. It’s about fine-tuning our tactical organisation now.”

With the loss of key centre-backs Kevin Feely and Evan McMillan to Charlton and Sligo Rovers respectively, Callaghan has had plenty of tinkering to do to find the right balance at the back.

Dave Scully has been tested at centre-back in recent weeks and Callaghan reckons the 28-year-old could be an option in the heart of defence alongside the experience of Stephen Paisley, a closed-season capture from Shelbourne.

Callaghan said: “Dave has played centre-back before – he was playing there when he went to Carlisle United. He’s a threat from set-pieces too and I think he is quite capable of playing in both positions.

Early-season illness and injuries are a concern for the Gypsies boss, however, as both Karl Moore and Shane Murray were forced to sit out Monday’s game.

He said: “Injury-wise, Shane has a viral infection and Kevin Devaney has an ankle problem.

“Karl Moore,who started pre-season well, has an infection too so he has been off for the last 10 days.”

Callaghan saw new signing Paisley net twice in Wednesday’s emphathic win and reckons the 29-year-old’s experience could prove vital at Dalymount Park this year.

He added: “Stephen makes a difference. He’s scored goals from centre-back all through his career.

“When we lost Kevin and Evan, we lost a bit of height. We needed to get a bit of that back – as well as some experience – so we waited and got Stephen. I’m delighted he has signed.”

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