“It’s a disappointing result but it’s been a positive experience for them all”

Bohs and PAOK

Uefa YOUTH LEAGUE
Champions Path 1st Rd 2nd Leg
PAOK 1 BOHEMIANS U19s 0
(PAOK win 2-1 on aggregate)

Bohemians U19s manager Craig Sexton says his players can hold theirs heads high despite their cruel exit from the Uefa Youth League tonight.

With PAOK leading on an away goals from a 1-1 draw in Dalymount three weeks ago, Sexton’s men knew they had to score to have any chance of progressing.

They had their chances in the first half – Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy with the pick of them – but PAOK grew in confidence as the half grew on with Sean Bohan in the Bohemian goal kept busy, while Andy Lyons had to be quick to clear a goalbound effort.

Bohs came unstuck five minutes into the second half, however, when Dimitrios Panidis fired past Bohan having been set up by Dimitrios Tsopouroglou.

That unsettled Bohs and PAOK had the better of the next 20 minutes or so as they pushed for a second, with Bohan being called into action to keep the tie alive on more than one occasion.

But the Gypsies had their chances too and pushed hard in the final 15 minutes, with an Evan Ferguson effort that went agonisingly over the bar on 90 minutes the best of them as PAOK held out for victory.

Under the cosh, PAOK were noticeably relieved to hear the full-time whistle sound – they progress to play Dynamo Kyiv in the next round.

Disappointed but proud of his men, Sexton admits a failure to take their chances in the first leg came back to haunt his side tonight.

He said: “We’re disappointed we didn’t do enough to win it over the two legs, more disappointed from the first leg as obviously looking back on that performance, the way we played and the chances that we created, we could have come over here with a 2-1 or 3-1 lead.

“But I am extremely proud of the boys. They played extremely well over the two legs, we just needed to be that little bit more clinical.

“It’s a learning curve for them that when chances come around, they don’t come around that often and you need to be clinical when they do.

“The first 15 to 20 minutes tonight we were excellent, Ross Tierney was unlucky not to score after three or four minutes.

“PAOK were the better side after that but we gave it a right go in the last 20. We didn’t go down with a whimper, the players showed great courage and desire.

“They’re all disappointed but they’re not down on the floor. It’s a disappointing result but it’s been a positive experience for them all. Myself and all the backroom staff take great pride in their performances over the two legs.

“They’ve shown again they can put it up to the best young players in Europe. We should have won the first leg but perhaps PAOK underestimated us.

“We could see from how much PAOK celebrated after the game that they knew they’d been in a battle. On another day, had we taken some of those chances in the first leg, we might have gone through. But they will learn from this and it will stand to them.”

The season isn’t over for Sexton’s men just yet. They have the small matter of hosting Shamrock Rovers in the final of the Enda McGuill Cup. That game was originally scheduled for Friday November 1 but is now set to rescheduled. We hope to be in a position to confirm a new date in the coming days.

BOHEMIANS: Sean Bohan, Denis Smith (Gavin Liam O’Brien 67), Micthell Byrne, Alex Kelly (capt), Gavin Molloy (Robbie Mahon 82), Ross Tierney, Brandon Bermingham, Dawson Devoy, Jack Moylan (Evan Ferguson 55), Thomas Considine (Katlego Mashigo 55), Andy Lyons. Subs not used: Jamie Cleary, Jack Casey, Jack Funge.

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