“People are talking us up and we can’t shy away from that”

Keith Long salutes Bohs' travelling support - A Baldiemann

BOHEMIANS v CORK CITY
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi-final
Sunday September 30, Dalymount Park, 5.45pm

Keith Long says Bohemians are hungry, measured and determined to build on the recent feelgood factor at Dalymount Park and reach the promised land of an FAI Cup final.

Bohs welcome 2017 league and cup double winners Cork City to Dalymount this evening with the Gypsies looking to reach a cup final for the first time in ten years.

Getting there will be easier said than done. But after winning nine games in a row, Long admits there is a measured confidence about his team.

Nobody is getting ahead of themselves, but the optimism is shared on the terraces too – the home stand for this game sold out in less than two days and will be bouncing this evening.

Long said: “It’s a really important game. We’re looking forward to it. We’re on a good run of form.

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“We will be up against it against a strong Cork side. But we feel that we are ready. The boys are hungry to do well.

“If we play well we know we have a chance. We’ll have a big crowd behind us. The feelgood factor is good around the club. People are talking us up and we can’t shy away from that.

“We’ve had barren spells earlier in the season, so we have to enjoy the moment and do all we can to keep it going.”

These sides met two weeks ago in the league at the same venue with Bohs pulling off a 4-2 victory to derail City’s bid to retain their league title.

John Caulfield’s side will be eyeing revenge and Long said: “Our last game against Cork is immaterial. They’ll have players back – Alan Bennett, Kieran Sadlier.

“Cork will be stronger than they were in the league game. That will have no bearing on this. Obviously it was important that we won that game and it kept up the good run of form we’ve been on.

“But we’ve been beaten three times by them this season prior to that so we know we have to be at our very best against them.

“We’re in a good run of form and people will rightly point to that as we’re coming into the game with confidence but when you look at where Cork are in the table, I don’t consider ourselves favourites.”

Bohs come into this game refreshed after Long started an entirely different starting XI at last Saturday’s 3-1 derby win away to St Patrick’s Athletic.

Given the experimental nature of the team, it was perhaps one of the most notable of the Gypsies’ nine wins in a row.

Long said: “It would have been foolhardy to play players 68 hours after running themselves into the ground in Derry so we felt we had to make 11 changes last week.

“It was a really rewarding display for everyone at the club and for everyone associated with bringing those players through.

“You could see the potential of the boys we have here, which has been strengthened further with our partnership with St Kevin’s.

“The players came in and showed what they’re capable of. We went a goal down very early in the game and the manner in which they responded to that made it an even more pleasing performance.

“It took 15/20 minutes for the team to find their feet but once they settled down and played their stuff, they grew into the game.

“They’ve given me food for thought, not just for next season but for this game too. Fellas have come in, they’ve put their hand up, they’ve done well and are in the reckoning to feature.”

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Bohs are at full strength bar long-term absentee Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (thigh).

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