“We can’t go looking ahead dreaming of a cup run without overcoming Wexford first”

Keith Long by Michael Ryan

WEXFORD FC v BOHEMIAN FC
IRISH DAILY MAIL FAI CUP Rd 1
Friday August 10 2018, Ferrycarrig Park, 8pm

Keith Long says Bohemians need look no further than the league’s form team to realise the potential pitfalls of cup football.

Dundalk, on the back of winning 11 Premier Division games in a row, travelled to St Colman’s Park on Monday where nobody gave Cobh Ramblers a chance in their EA Sports Cup semi-final.

But the Lilywhites came away empty-handed after Stephen Henderson’s Ramblers proved that the romance of cup football is very much alive as their famous 1-0 win secured a place in a senior cup final for the first time in the club’s history.

There was a sense of relief among Bohs fans that their opponents at the first hurdle of this year’s FAI Cup were not another Premier Division side.

Keith Long’s side haven’t had much luck with FAI Cup draws in recent years – they’ve played four ties in the past three years, all of which have been against Premier Division opposition.

As fans covet a much sought-after cup run, Long and his players travel south to Ferrycarrig Park as strong favourites but he insists they are looking no further than tomorrow’s opposition.

He said: “We can’t go looking ahead dreaming of a cup run without overcoming Wexford first.

“You only have to look at Cobh beating Dundalk on Monday to know the dangers of cup football.

“You have to give the opposition the respect they deserve and prepare correctly. We’ll be going down having prepared for this game professionally as we would any other.”

But while Long has understandably urged caution, he has fair reason to be confident too.

Bohs have found their scoring touch in recent weeks with 6-0 and 5-0 wins over Bray Wanderers and Limerick respectively.

Long said: “It wasn’t just the scorelines that were pleasing but the overall manner of those performances.

“We had a guile about our play to try get ahead in games and smelt blood and went for it when it was appropriate to do so.

“We were ruthless and clinical but disciplined in our play also. The attitude of the players was spot on.

“Goals were spread around the team which was pleasing to see. Dinny Corcoran is obviously our No 9, our talisman. But we’ve had others in various positions chipping in too which is necessary.

“We’ve the likes of Danny Grant enjoying a good spell for us and Cristian Magerusan is knocking on the door too after coming back from injury set-backs.”

Grant and Magerusan were on the scoresheet for the Bohemians U19s on Tuesday night as they beat Limerick 4-1 away in the Enda McGuill Cup semi-final.

The other two goalscorers on the night – captain Andy Lyons and Steven Nolan – have also featured for the first team and that victory set up a Dublin derby Enda McGuill Cup final against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Tuesday September 4.

Long added: “It’s important that we are challenging at U19 level and have players coming through our partnership U17 and U15 teams with St Kevin’s too.

“We’ve been able to bring Andy through in recent weeks when Derek Pender has been suspended and he did very well at right-back.

“We want to be able to afford them the opportunity in the first team but it has to be right for the balance of the first team too and it was on that occasion.

“I’m pleased that we are in a position now that some of our U19s are really asking a lot of questions of the players in our first team.

“It’s a positive situation to be in. Our U19s train alongside the first team at Blanchardstown so we regularly move players across to first-team training to see where they’re at.

“It’s good for the culture at the club for our underage players to see there’s a pathway there and it’s important for their development coming up against experienced players in training too.”

TEAM NEWS

Rob Cornwall (hamstring) looks set to miss out again, while Ian Morris (back) is a doubt. Ryan Swan (cruciate) remains out.

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