“The manager has reminded us and hammered home to us that we will get nothing handed to us, that we have to work for it.”

Paddy Kirk - Stephen Burke

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday October 18 2019, 7.45pm

Paddy Kirk says Bohemians will take to the field tonight with a word of advice from manager Keith Long ringing in their ears.

Bohs, playing their penultimate game of the season, are in the driving seat to claim on of the two final Europa League spots on offer after a stunning victory against champions Dundalk at Dalymount Park last Friday.

Long’s men are third on 56 points with Derry City in fourth on 51 points and St Pat’s in fifth on 48 points.

The other two have a game in hand against one another, which takes place on Tuesday.

A point would be enough for Bohs to secure European football tonight but Kirk knows him and his team-mates need to dig deep once more to get a result.

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Kirk said: “There’s a lot of expectation tonight but we’re really looking forward to it. The manager has reminded us and hammered home to us that we will get nothing handed to us, that we have to work for it.

“At the start of the season some were tipping us to be involved in a relegation battle but as a group we felt we had a lot of talented players and felt we could aim high.

“We would love to get over the line tonight but it will be a tough game. We’ve prepared like we would any game and we feel we’ve done our homework and we know how good St Pat’s can be.

“There’s nowhere else you would like to be than playing in Europe for Bohs in Dalymount next year but we have to work for it.”

Kirk has has to be patient this season to get a chance in the team but has enjoyed an extended run of late thanks to an injury suffered by regular left-back Darragh Leahy while on international duty for the Ireland U21s last month.

Kirk said: “I’m delighted to get a run of games. You always want to test yourself by playing every week.

“Obviously you want to play as many games as you can. But I’m not the only one who has had to bide my time. You look at Scott Allardice, he’s had to wait for his turn too and has come in and has done really well.

“But that’s why we’ve got such a competitive squad. We’re all pushing one another and thankfully my chance has come at the business end of the season.”

Danny Grant and Paddy Kirk celebrate - Stephen Burke

Danny Grant and Paddy Kirk celebrate - Stephen Burke

Having captained and starred for the Bohs U19s, 21-year-old Kirk is another success story of the quality of young players coming through the club in recent seasons.

His brother Rory is part of the coaching team with the Bohs-SKB U15s so he is a keen supporter of the pathway structures now in place.

He added: “I guess the likes of myself, Andy Lyons, Danny Grant and Ryan Graydon can be held up as an example of the pathway that is there now.

“There’s great work going on and great players coming through the club and through the link-up with St Kevin’s from U13, U15, U15 and through to the U19s and first team. It all bodes well for the future of both clubs.”

TEAM NEWS

Danny Mandroiu misses out through suspension. He received an additional one-match ban for his red card against Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup last month but this was not served against Dundalk last week as he was on international duty with the Ireland U21s.

Rob Cornwall (knee) will sit out the rest of the season after coming off against Dundalk and Darragh Leahy (ankle) will also miss the final two games.

There was better news elsewhere though with Keith Buckley (hamstring), Andy Lyons (knee) and Conor Levingston (groin) all returning to training this week.

Better news still for long-term absentees Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) and Dinny Corcoran (ankle). Magerusan is back to full training. Corcoran has resumed training but time is against him to feature again this season.

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