“We can head to Tallaght with a spring in our step”


SSE Airtricity League, Tallaght Stadium, Friday 27th March, 8pm

Bohemian boss Keith Long says his players are “upbeat” ahead of Friday’s derby against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. The Gypsies tasted defeat for the first time this season on Tuesday as champions Dundalk came away with a somewhat misleading 3-0 scoreline.

Despite defeat, the Bohs manager has pinpointed Friday’s clash as the ideal tonic following the midweek result. “There’s no greater opportunity than a game against your biggest rivals to bounce back with a good performance and hopefully a positive result,” he said.

“The players are looking forward to the game, nobody is feeling sorry for themselves after Tuesday night. Everybody is upbeat and hopefully we can head to Tallaght with a spring in our step.”

While he never played in the fixture during his career, Long is fully aware of the importance and magnitude of the game as he leads the side into his first Dublin derby as Bohs manager. “I’ve been around the league long enough to understand the importance of a Bohs-Rovers derby. The players don’t need motivation for a fixture like this – this is what they’re in the game for.


“We want to give a good account of ourselves. That’s what our supporters want to see. They want to see us trying to play football, they want to see the honesty and the work-rate that we saw on Tuesday. If we get that, then we can’t ask for any more from the players.”

Although the result against Dundalk was disappointing, the manager took a lot of positives from the performance, which saw the Gypsies threatening for long periods.

“There’s no shame in defeat to Dundalk. The scoreline was a little skewed in that we constantly went for it throughout the game. We had a go at them and I don’t think 3-0 was a fair reflection,” he said.

The home side created a number of chances against the Lilywhites on Tuesday and Long has stressed the importance of capitalising on opportunities, especially in big games. “Goals win games, and we’ve got to be clinical in front of goal. Having said that, I’d be a little bit more worried if we weren’t creating the chances.”

Finally, the Bohs boss is expecting full commitment from his charges on the big stage. He added: “The players have set a minimum standard for themselves that when they cross the line in that red and black shirt, that they give absolutely everything. I expect no different on Friday night.”

Bohs have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game with Pat Fenlon’s Hoops. Long-term absentees Dan Byrne (cruciate) and Dave Mulcahy (calf) remain on the sidelines, while Anto Murphy is suspended following his dismissal against Dundalk.

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