“Players have given me a lot to think about”

Bohemians v Cabinteely - EA SPORTS Cup First Round

​DUNDALK v BOHEMIANS
Friday March 30 2018
Oriel Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians travel to Dundalk tomorrow buoyed by two wins in four days.

But manager Keith Long insists performance levels must continue to improve if they are to get anything out of the game at Oriel Park.

The Gypsies got back to winning ways last Friday with Dinny Cororan’s injury-time goal – his first of the season – giving them a 2-1 victory against Bray Wanderers.

It was a scrappy game but Bohs will feel they deserved that slice of luck that had evaded them in previous weeks despite superior performances.

Long said: “We’ve had two good results but neither will have any bearing coming up against a team like Dundalk.

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“We know our performance levels have to be much better than they were against Bray, especially against the likes of Dundalk.

“They’ve been the team to beat for a number of years so we will need to be resolute.

“We got a bit of luck in the end against Bray that we haven’t had in previous games.

“But you have to make your own luck and it was an excellent goal – great composure from Dinny to finish and excellent play from Keith Ward to set him up.

“It’s important Dinny got off the mark. He’s an important player for us but he’s struggled a bit since pre-season with a groin injury niggling at him.

“He wasn’t really in the game much before that. But when he was handed that chance, he took it and that’s what good goalscorers like Dinny do.”

Bohs followed that win up with a comprehensive 5-1 victory against Cabinteely in the EA Sports Cup on Monday.

That was a more satisfying performance, particularly as it was an experimental line-up featuring several players needing game-time and members of the club’s U19 team.

Three U19 stars made their first-team debuts: Daniel Grant, who scored, Ryan Graydon and Dylan Thornton.

In total, eight – adding Dan Byrne, Jamie Hamilton, John Ross Wilson, Paddy Kirk and Steven Nolan – of the 14 players who saw game-time came through the club’s youth system.

A further four – Sean Bohan, Cian McMullen, Mitch Byrne and Luke Nolan – were the unused substitutes.

Long said: “Several lads have put their hands up now. We could have scored more. It was an excellent performance overall, albeit against First Division opposition.

“We started a bit shakily, which is understandable when you take into account the back five hadn’t played a game at all this season never mind playing a game together.

“As well as the younger players, some of the more senior players came into the team and did very well.

“Dan Byrne captained the side and didn’t put a foot wrong. I felt Philly Gannon also gave a very mature performance and Dylan Watts scored twice and was excellent.

“Several players have given me a lot to think about and it’s not a bad headache to have.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender (calf) remains out, while Kevin Devaney (illness) is also sidelined. Karl Moore (back) is a doubt.

Strikers Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) remain out.

U19 striker Danny Grant, who scored on his first-team debut against Cabinteely, is expected to make the bench.

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