“It was a special, special moment for me”

Swan breaks his duck - Stephen Burke

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League
Dalymount Park, Friday June 14 2019, 8pm, eir Sport

His debut arrived 12 months later than he had anticipated and even since then, Ryan Swan has had to patiently bide his time.

But having broke his duck in the 5-3 win over Finn Harps a fortnight ago, helping himself to a second goal for good measure, Swan is ready to take flight.

It has been a long, hard road to get to this point but the 23-year-old feels he is ready to make the most of the opportunity afforded to him since filling in for the injured Dinny Corcoran.

Swan signed for Bohemians in December 2017. But the dream of following in his father Derek’s footsteps and becoming a Gypsies goal-scoring hero turned sour as he suffered a torn cruciate in only his second training session.

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Swan and Long – Stephen Burke

The former UCD striker said: “It was only our second training session of pre-season. It was really unfortunate. Even the way it happened, it wasn’t even a bad tackle.

“It was just from the way I landed after crossing the ball. I’ve never had a serious injury before that but I knew something wasn’t right.”

It was a cruel blow and one that tested Swan’s strength of character.

But, with the support of manager Keith Long, assistant manager Trevor Croly and a strong dressing room, Swan persevered.

Croly and Swan – Stephen Burke

He said: “The first few weeks were hard, really hard. They were probably the hardest few weeks of my life.

“You’re watching on as all the lads prepared for the season opener against Rovers knowing you wouldn’t even get to play a game in the season.

“But as the rehab progressed, I was more positive. Keith and Trevor keep you going and make you feel a part of it.

“You’re never left drift away just because you’re injured and all the lads in the dressing play a big role in that too.

“When the lads went on that really good run of form in the second half of last season, it inspired me even more to want to be a part of that.”

Swan gets off the mark against Harps – Stephen Burke

That determination continued over the closed season period, with the Finglas man determined to knuckle down and make up for lost time.

He said: “All over Christmas I couldn’t wait to get started, I think it’s the first pre-season I’ve ever looked forward to!”

He finally made his Bohs debut in a 10-minute cameo appearance in the opening day of the season 1-0 victory against Finn Harps but found game-time hard to come by due to the early-season form of Corcoran.

Similar appearances from the bench followed but he had to wait until the tenth game of the season to get his first league start, benefiting from Long’s decision to rotate his squad during a congested month in the fixture calendar, playing 86 minutes against Dundalk in Oriel Park in a game Bohs should have won but lost 1-0 in injury time.

He said: “I knew I would have to bide my tine. It was never going to be easy the way Dinny started the season and the impact.

“I just had to keep my head down and take my chance when it came.”

And that he has done. Getting up to speed after a season on the sidelines is easier said than done but he has equipped himself well in the appearances he has made so far.

With Corcoran suffering a serious ankle injury in last month’s defeat to Sligo Rovers, Swan now has the chance to stake his claim.

And he did his chances of getting an extended run in the team no harm when he nabbed a brace in Bohs’ last outing against Finn Harps.

Swan said: “It was a special, special moment for me after the year I had. To grab a second was great too.

“I was just delighted to get off the mark and I hope I can go on and get more now.”

Ryan, front, with Derek and family – Sportsfile

Seeing the surname Swan appear on the Bohs scoresheet 19 years after his father Derek scored his final goals in red and black leads to inevitable and probably unavoidable comparisons between the two.

But Ryan take that in his stride, adding: “It doesn’t faze me at all, we’re different people and different players. To me he’s just my da!

“But I do love reading stuff about him when he crops up in the programme from time to time.”

While he is unmoved by those comparisons, he admits he relishes the fact that supporters have reworked the Derek Swan Blue Moon chant regularly sung on the terraces two decades ago to include his name instead.

He said: “When I signed I wondered would they sing it. I heard it for the first time up in Oriel Park and I love the fact they sing the same song that they sang about my dad.

“It felt special hearing that, but a bit strange too!”

Ryan, front, and family at Derek’s testimonial v Tranmere Rovers in 2000 – Sportsfile

If he manages to get on the scoresheet against Rovers, those father-son comparisons will continue but again the young hitman is taking tomorrow’s game in his stride.

He added: “For me you have to look at it as just another game. I’ve prepared for it like it’s no different to any other game. You eat, sleep and train the same way and focus on what is required of you.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are without Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Dinny Corcoran (ankle), Danny Grant (hamstring) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) as well as the suspended duo of skipper Derek Pender and James Finnerty and Darragh Leahy who is on international duty with the Ireland U21s in Toulon.

Keith Buckley (leg) and Robbie McCourt (ankle) return to the fold.

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