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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

SAVED BY THE BELVO

Roberto Lopes has had major responsibilities thrust upon him at 20 in the centre of Bohemians’ defence. He is striving to repay the manager’s confidence in him, he tells BRIAN TRENCH.

When the history of Bohemians in this decade is written, the club’s recruitment from Belvedere in 2009 and 2010 may well be seen as a decisive moment. Several of those who moved from Belvo to Bohs at that time have become part of the senior squad’s core – Stephen Traynor, Keith Buckley and Roberto Lopes.

Lopes was just one season at Belvedere when he appeared in the shop window for Pat Fenlon and the coaches of Bohemians’ under-20 team. He had cut his teeth at Lourdes Celtic and had three years at Home Farm.

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At Bohemians, ‘Pico’ progressed rapidly, becoming captain of the under-20s while still 18. In that team, he enjoyed two highpoints of his still-short career, when he led Bohemians to an extra-time defeat of Shamrock Rovers in the Leinster Senior Cup in 2011, and was called up to the Republic of Ireland under-19 squad in the same year.

“We fielded a reserve side and Rovers had a really strong team. On paper we had no right to win the game. It was a very special moment.

“To be called up to the under-19 international team came as a shock. I was told to be on standby and I didn’t really think more about it. But, with people dropping out through injuries, I got a call and had to move quickly. It was a great experience to see how things are done at that level. Once you get the taste for it you want more.”

Lopes has made occasional appearances at left-back and in midfield but this season he has appeared consistently alongside Owen Heary or Stephen Paisley in the centre of defence, “my most comfortable position”.

In pre-season interviews, manager Aaron Callaghan expressed confidence that Lopes would make a major step-up in 2013. “I have to take it as a compliment that the manager gives me praise like that,” says Lopes. “But if he has that faith in me, I have to pay him back for it.”

Lopes believes Bohemians can no longer seek shelter in the view of Callaghan’s team as a young side. “That label is an easy way to make excuses for ourselves. There are other teams, like Cork, that are also young. We need to grow up fast and move forward as quickly as we can.”

He has “mixed feelings” about the team’s performance so far this season. “We have got off to a better start than last year and picked up more points but we have taken two bad defeats to Sligo and Derry, with bad performances.

“But we can feel ourselves growing and with the experience of those two defeats behind us, we can build again.”

Being often in the last line of defence before the goalkeeper, Lopes may be in the spotlight more than others when errors lead to goals. “There have been errors that have cost us games that we might have won, or nicked a point in. We do go over these things and analyse them. Talking about it is the main way to make sure they don’t happen again.”

Lopes believes Bohemians “can push very close” to a European place, a Setanta Cup spot or a cup trophy. He has tasted cup success already this year with Dublin Institute of Technology, where he is a second-year student of leisure management currently on placement in the college as a sports officer. Lopes’s extra-time goal put DIT into the final of the CUFL (Colleges and Universities Football League) Premier League, where they defeated DCU.

“I value the education I am getting very highly and the football is a bonus. I don’t take it as seriously as the league football but we got on well as a squad and it was a great feeling to become champions, especially when there were really good teams like UCD and Carlow IT in the competition.”

Lopes’ commitment to Bohemians is part of a family contribution. His younger brother, Jacques, is a full-back with the under-19 team, and his chef father, Carlos, prepares the Thursday evening meal that the players and coaches enjoy together at Dalymount Park.

Through his dad, Lopes is eligible to play for Cape Verde, a country of half-a-million people that has reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations this year. The national team includes players in the Portuguese league and other leading European leagues, while those who might have declared for Cape Verde but have chosen Portugal include Nani and Eliseu.

Whatever about future international honours and affiliations, Lopes expresses his ambition in football clearly: “I just want to play at the highest level I can. If I can make a career out of it, and if that means getting an opportunity to play in England, that would be brilliant. But I am realistic with my goals. I just want to be playing football.”

The next challenge for Lopes will be keeping his place in the team when Owen Heary returns from injury. “That’s another improvement this season. We have good competition for places across the team, with two players for nearly every position. It keeps people on their toes.

“Obviously, with me being the youngest it would be easy to say I would be the first out. But it’s not really like that. If you keep up the effort in training, you’ll get your opportunity and it’s up to you to keep it.”

lopes

THE WEEKENDER: APRIL 12

BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR

The 2013 Sligo Rovers hurricane shows no signs of slowing down, with an easy home win over Shelbourne last weekend following an easy away win at UCD the week before that. Plenty of punters will look at their fixture this weekend though, and wonder if Cork City have the requisite class to put a stop to the Bit o’Red gallop. Cork (W2 D3 L1) would seem to be a team who can provide a stern test for Sligo, who may not be too disappointed to collect a draw.

The above does not mean to suggest that it is time to oppose Sligo in the betting markets yet though, the signs being that for the moment they are just too hot to bet against. Indeed it might take a twist or two of bad luck such as injuries or refereeing decisions before Sligo begin to drop points with any regularity.

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Over at Tolka Park, Shelbourne entertain Drogheda and although Drogs have not quite hit the highs of last season, they have only been beaten once and will not be the ideal opponents for a Shels team who are “due a big performance” and “due some goals”. There is every possibility that Shels will continue on the woeful run that has seen them pick up just one point all season, and the away win is worth backing here at 11/10 with Hills.

Last week we had a handy bet on both teams to score on the plastic pitch in Dundalk as they again came from behind to draw, this time with Limerick. They face Derry City on the same surface this week. Derry looked comfortable at the back in their facile win at Dalymount last Friday night, and indeed have conceded just two goals all season, joint-best in the division along with Sligo. Dundalk, however, are building some decent home form and should be able to bring in the bet again.

Elsewhere in the league, favourite backers have what looks like an easy double to pile into. St Pat’s Athletic travel to UCD and Shamrock (who have drawn their last five league games) host Bray Wanderers. It would be unwise to assume Mark Quigley is going to provide the messiah in Tallaght, and we all know St Pat’s haven’t been the most reliable of odds-on favourites this season, so although we aren’t opposing the two favourites, we’re not convinced they deserve to be as short as they are.

Next up for us is a trip to Limerick, where the home side have proved difficult to beat. A draw here wouldn’t be the end of the world for Bohs. The home draw with Shamrock Rovers is our only stalemate of the season so another one here would probably be welcome.

Recommended:
Drogheda, 1pt 2.10 (Hills)
Dundalk v Derry both teams to score, 1pt best available odds

WKNDR

BRAY DATE CONFIRMED

Bohemians’ EA Sports Cup Rd 2 tie v Bray Wanderers has been confirmed for Monday May 20 at Dalymount Park (KO7.45pm).

ALL ABOARD THE BOHS BUS TO LIMERICK

The Bohs bus heads to Thomond Park for the first time ever as the Gypsies travel take on Limerick FC on Tuesday April 16th.

Check-in is from 3.30pm. The bus will leave Dalymount at 4pm sharp and return straight after the game. The cost is €18 return.

To put your name down, mail bus@bohemians.ie.

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel

To celebrate the launch of Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, EA invaded the Airtricity League for Bohemians’ game against Sligo Rovers and gave away a console and copy of the game.

Bohemians FC “Army of Two” took on support from Sligo Rovers, with themed Army of Two cards hidden in both the home and away sections on the night. Two lucky fans from each club teamed up and went head to head at half-time in a test of skill!

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve now got our hands on FIVE COPIES of the game to give away on our Facebook page!

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Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, players find themselves on the war-torn streets of Mexico as Alpha and Bravo, two operatives working for Tactical Worldwide Operations (T.W.O.), fight for justice against a dangerous cartel. Featuring both online and split-screen co-op, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel gives players the chance to distinguish themselves from their friends by providing a deeper and more advanced upgrade and customization system.*

For your chance to win one of five copies simply answer the following question correctly on our Facebook page:

Q) What is the name of the latest addition to the award winning Army of Two franchise?

  • A) The Devil’s Cartel
  • B) The Rovers Returns
  • C) The Rebel Army

*This is an over-18s game – winners must be 18 or over. Deadline for entries is 10pm Sunday April 14th. Winners will be drawn at random by a Bohemians player.

EA

VIDEO: BOHEMIANS 0 DERRY CITY 4 POST-MATCH

Bohemians manager Aaron Callaghan gave his post-match reaction to JAMIE O’HALLERON after his side’s humiliating defeat at home to Derry City on Friday night.

Questions and editing by Jamie O’Halleron. Filmed by Sean De Faoite.

CANDYSWIPES

BOHEMIANS 0 DERRY CITY 4

Bohemians suffered their second heavy home defeat on the bounce as high-flying Derry City won by four goals to nil at Dalymount Park. In a match that was eerily similar to last Friday’s defeat to Sligo, the Gypsies played some good football in patches, but were ultimately undone by a mix of poor defending and clinical finishing, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

Aaron Callaghan might just be hoping that the RTÉ cameras stay away from Phibsborough for a few weeks, with the second televised game in a row ending in a very unfavourable scoreline for Bohs. Despite a confidence-boosting win over Shelbourne on Monday, the unchanged side were well beaten by Declan Devine’s efficient counter-attacking outfit.

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Just like the game at Tolka, Bohs started well. Superb close control from Ryan McEvoy gave him some space to feed Luke Byrne, who slid a lovely pass through to Ciaran Nangle. Nangle’s cross-shot flashed across the face of goal, agonizingly close to both Dave Scully and Kevin Devaney.

Unfortunately for Bohs, they were hit with a sucker punch just as the team were starting to dominate. Derry’s Patrick McEleney had been anonymous for the opening 13 minutes, but he definitely caught the attention in the 14th. He picked the ball up on the left side about 30 yards out, skipped inside Derek Pender, and unleashed what is often referred to as a “worldie”. His curling 30-yard strike hit the underside of Dean Delany’s crossbar, bounced down and back up into the top corner. It was a strike to light up any game.

As good as Derry’s opening goal was, their second was the kind of goal that would give a manager sleepless nights. An aimless ball down the line from Paddy Kavanagh was totally misjudged by Ciaran Nangle, who let the ball slip under his boot. Simon Madden suddenly had acres of room to deliver a cross, which found Michael Rafter on the penalty spot. Rafter had far too much time to take a touch, set himself, and shoot through Roberto Lopes’ legs to double Derry’s lead.

As the game wore on, it was difficult not to cast minds back to the first half of the game against Shamrock Rovers, and Chris Lyons’ injury. Bohs just haven’t looked particularly dangerous since the former UCD man was chopped down by Derek Foran, and Aaron Callaghan will be hoping his ankle injury heals as quick as possible.

Bohs’ best spell came after the break, when a string of corners and free kicks heaped pressure on the Derry defence. Again, no clear cut chances materialized, despite a clear penalty appeal being turned down for a blatant handball by Shane McEleny. The out-of-retirement Anthony Buttimer may well have been unsighted, but his assistant in front of the Derry fans should have put his flag across his chest.

With Bohs close-but-not-quite getting back into the game, a third Derry goal was always going to be the killer. Again, it was sloppy. Dean Delany flapped at a Derry corner, and the looping ball returned to the back post was miraculously cleared off the line by Ryan McEvoy. However, no one in red and black reacted, and Shane McEleney rose to nod the ball into the empty net.

Just three minutes later, a forgettable night for the Gypsies was complete. Michael Rafter found himself in a lot of space between the midfield and defence. He had time to slip a ball around the side of a wrong-footed Roberto Lopes, and Barry McNamee applied the finish. Bohs now have 11 days to lick their wounds before an intruiging trip to Limerick and the grandeur of Thomond Park on Tuesday the 16th of April.

Bohemians:  Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Paisley, Luke Byrne; Ciaran Nangle (Karl Moore 77), Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Keith Buckley 45), Dave Mulcahy; Dave Scully, Kevin Devaney. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Shane Murray, Dwyane Wilson, Conor O’Brien , Andy Mulligan.

Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Thomas Crawley (Dermot McCaffrey 83); Patrick Kavanagh (Michael Duffy 79), Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Patrick McEleney; Barry McNamee, Michael Rafter (Mark Griffin 80). Subs not used: James Gallagher, Ryan Curran, Tony McNamee, Conall Kelly.

lderrybohs

THE WEEKENDER: APRIL 5

BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR

Without wishing to be typically pessimistic as a Bohs fan, our win over Shelbourne on Monday may prove in the long run to say more about Shels’ quality this season than it will about our ability to develop a knack of winning games.  With one point to show from five games, the portents are not good as Shels travel to face runaway leaders Sligo Rovers this weekend.

Sligo’s quality was obvious to anyone at Dalymount Park on Good Friday, where they won 3-0 whilst playing almost entirely within themselves.

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One suspects that they have a couple of gears to go up, and as they begin to have even more top-class players available to them (Joseph Ndo, Danny North), the lads starting for Ian Baraclough won’t want to ease up.  Shels’ disciplinary record this season only compounds what one suspects will be a task way beyond them this weekend and Sligo can be backed with reasonable confidence on the Asian Handicap.

The RTE cameras visit the Home of Football again as Derry roll into town in great form, and seen by most as the team most likely to challenge Sligo for the league – if indeed any team are going to put up much of a challenge.  It will be interesting to see how Derry set up to play against us, as they are a team with a similarly young age profile to our own.  They are uncompromising at the back, but this game is unlikely to be as bad-tempered as some recent meetings between the sides as they know where the net is and have been able to win games well, with notable results including a narrow win away to Cork and a 6-0 thumping of UCD, a team we scraped past against ten men.  There is little to suggest that we can get much out of this, but our defence has been impressive enough this season, and it’s unlikely that Derry will beat us quite as easily as Sligo did.  At a general price of 8/15, under 2.5 goals could be the bet.

Elsewhere in the league, Shamrock Rovers will be looking to get closer to Sligo before they lose sight of them completely, but Drogheda have been a stubborn outfit this season, if not quite as impressive as last season.  Their only defeat this season was a 0-1 at Richmond Park on the opening night when they were some way short of their best.  Shamrock Rovers’ perceived on-pitch problems (over-intricate, lack of cutting edge in the final third, unable to put away inferior teams) aren’t going to be solved in a hurry and you’d be more and more confident as the game goes on of Drogs being able to claim a point once they don’t concede early.  3.91 the draw with Pinnacle is more than acceptable here.

Bray have been tough enough this season and remain unbeaten.  St Pat’s will have their backers but it’s hard to trust them in a single bet.  They are yet to draw a game this season but it’s not impossible that they’ll do precisely that tonight.

Dundalk’s home game with Limerick is a candidate for both teams to score.  Neither team has looked great at the back but both sides possess some decent attacking talent and so both teams to score here could be the best bet.

In the First Division, Wexford will find it tough to get anything from the long trip to Donegal and the fit, hungry Finn Harps can be backed at 4/5 to take all 3 points.

Recommended:
Sligo Rovers -1.5, 1pt 9/11 (Pinnacle)
Bohs-Derry under 2.5 goals, 1pt 8/15 (general)
Shamrock Rovers-Drogheda draw, 1pt 3.91 (Pinnacle)
Dundalk-Limerick both teams to score, 1pt 19/20 (Hills)
Finn Harps, 2pts 4/5 (general)

WKNDR

7-DRAW LOTTO TICKET FOR JUST €10!

You can now purchase a special 7-draw ticket for the Bohemian FC Lotto/Football Forecast for the knockdown price of €10 from the club’s online shop.

With individual draw tickets costing €2, this ticket is a steal!

Once you’ve bought your ticket from the online store, email your selections to footballforecasts@bohemians.ie each week before the deadline.

EuroMillions balls

CALLAGHAN: WE CAN’T REPEAT ERRORS THAT COST US

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY (Friday April 5th, KO7.05pm)

Bohemians host No. 2 in the league Derry City just a week after welcoming leaders Sligo Rovers. But they come to Friday’s televised encounter after bouncing back from defeat to Sligo Rovers with a good win over Shelbourne.

Manager Aaron Callaghan was very pleased with the performance against Shels, particularly with the contribution of more experienced players, Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy and Stephen Paisley, the last-named playing his first full game of the league campaign against his former club.

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“Their experience counted when Shelbourne had us pinned back for 20 minutes in the second half,” said Callaghan.

In his first league start for Bohemians Ciaran Nangle (pictured) did “really well, he brought a bit of balance to the team on the left side, and he showed calmness”, according to the manager.

Victory over Shelbourne moved Bohemians out of a group at the bottom of the table and“it was vital to get those three points”, Callaghan noted.

Derry will present formidable opposition, having scored seven goals in their last three games, while conceding none.

“They will be coming to us full of confidence. They have had a good start to the season. We have to make sure our preparation is right and we have to concentrate on our own performance, and make sure we don’t make those errors that cost us against Sligo”, said Callaghan.

Against Shelbourne, a couple of players who were starting regularly were rested, and one or two of those may come in again against Derry.

Michael Barker has joined the injury list with an ankle injury from training. Owen Heary (knee) and Chris Lyons (ankle) remain out.

Callaghan has sought to keep the whole squad tuned up with friendlies, like a short game played on Wednesday at the IT Blanchardstown complex. He has arranged another friendly against Irish Universities for the 11-day period between Friday’s game and the trip to Limerick on 16th April.

nangle
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