“The players refuse to accept they are beaten”

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 8 May, 7.45pm

Bohemians start the second cycle of league games playing Limerick, against whom they got off to a flying start with a 3-0 win two months ago.

Manager Keith Long is putting the first phase of the campaign behind him as he aims, game-by-game, to keep Bohemians in the top half of the league.

After a “vital” point at home on Monday against Cork City, Long is looking to improve Bohemians’ Dalymount results.


“It was vital to get at least a point at home against one of the top teams, after losses to Dundalk and St Pat’s,” he said. “The team showed great character and spirit to secure a draw. For the supporters, it probably felt like a win, scoring so late in the game.”

Long notes that Limerick’s form has been improving and he expects a keen contest. “Limerick have picked up recently. They were unlucky not to win against Shamrock Rovers, they held league leaders Dundalk, and they got a late point up in Sligo. They’re looking to climb up the table and coming to Dalymount won’t hold any fear for them.

“But these are the bread-and-butter games we have to win. We’ve stressed to the players that there is no room for complacency. The first phase of games is gone now, and we start again on Friday.”

Against Cork on Monday, the Bohemian manager was disappointed with his team’s first-half performance, going behind very early, and being “a little tentative in approach, giving the ball away too easily on occasions”.

But “the players are hungry, have a belief in themselves, and refuse to accept they are beaten”, the manager insists. Their determination in the second half and a brilliant volleyed goal from Adam Evans more than made up for the first-half disappointment.

Defender Anto Murphy, subbed at half-time after a collision, is unlikely to be available on Friday as he is medically assessed for concussion. The opportunity for Dan Byrne to make his return comes just too soon, however, as he works his way back to full fitness after a long lay-off with a cruciate injury.

Dean Kelly missed the Cork game due to a family commitment but is available for Friday.

Sunday’s Leinster Senior Cup fixture in Bray against Newtown gives Long a further chance to try different combinations and use players who have had few competitive games.

“We’ll have a turnover between Friday and Sunday,” he said. “We have players who need games and we need to see them in action with big games the following weekend away to Galway Friday and Monday in the league and EA Sports Cup.”

Website by Simon Alcock