PREVIEW: Bohemians v St Patrick’s Athletic

Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup final
Sunday November 12 2023, 3pm, Aviva Stadium

Declan Devine has said his side are determined to give a performance in today’s sold-out Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup final that will live long in the memory of every Bohemian.

Devine said: “The FAI Cup final is the pinnacle of every player, coach and manager’s career and we as a backroom team, squad and club are absolutely delighted to be participating in the this year’s showcase event.

“Every coach, player and club watch on every year in the hope that they can be the next team to reach this fantastic occasion. Since the move to the Aviva Stadium in 2010, the FAI Cup final has taken on even more prestige and this magnificent stage has become a very fitting home for the biggest day in the Irish football calendar.

“Today will be my fifth FAI Cup final and having played in one in Dalymount Park, been a coach in both the old Lansdowne Rd and RDS, and having managed in the Aviva in 2012, it is very much an appropriate venue for Irish football to give the talent in our league the opportunity to perform in the elite stadium their talents deserves.

“The FAI Cup final is a day for family, friends, supporters old and new to attend a game that by the end has the potential to be a day to be remembered for the rest of their lives.

“The difference in winning and losing can be a very fine margin and again it’s a game of football to be treated with the utmost respect.

“As a team we have had to work extremely hard to make it this far and hope that today we can perform to our highest levels in pursuit of finishing the job off against a very good St Patrick’s Athletic side.

“The squad, which we have assembled in the last 12 months, have been an absolute pleasure to work with.

“I feel our squad have prepared for the game really well and have shown a great desire to embrace the opportunity to bridge a 15-year wait for a major trophy to fill the cabinets of Dalymount Park again.

“I would like to thank an incredible backroom team for everything they have given the club over the last 12 months. Gary Cronin, Derek Pender, Chris Bennion, Martin Doyle, Graham Norton, Colly O Connor, Sinead Wixted, Fiona Dennehy and Aaron Fitzsimmons bring so much quality, expertise and knowledge and, of course, with Pat Fenlon as Director of Football I feel the club is in an outstanding place to achieve success.

“Bohemian Football Club is a club with an amazing history and has seen an incredible growth over recent years and today is testimony to the people behind the scenes who helped the club survive over its recent past to see the club back at this pinnacle of Irish football.

“We have obviously suffered a heartbreaking setback in losing our inspirational club captain Keith Buckley to injury over recent weeks and as hard as today will be without Bucko, it is also an opportunity for us as a group to give him a huge lift in his recovery to be able to lift a trophy at the end of today’s game.

“Another player who misses out today is Kacper Radowski due to his sending-off in our semi-final win against Galway United. Kacper has been fantastic for us this season and again as a group we would love nothing more than to see him with a winners medal around his neck this afternoon.

“Over recent years, the club has lost many valuable friends, colleagues and supporters and today we remember every single Bohemian who has passed away and who won’t be in attendance in body but hopefully they are here in spirit. Today these people are also very much in our thoughts.

“Finally, a massive thanks to our incredible supporters that have followed us throughout Ireland in huge numbers over the last 10 months. We could never have got here today without your help and backing. Hopefully we can give you a performance today that will live long in the memory of every Bohemian.”

Team news

Keith Buckley (knee) is out and Kacper Radkowski is suspended.

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v CORK CITY

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday November 3rd 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Tickets: tickets.bohemians.ie

Declan Devine is bitterly disappointed with how Bohemians have slipped down the table in recent weeks but has called on his side to pull together as they still have an opportunity to write themselves into the history books.

Defeats at home to St Patrick’s Athletic and away to Dundalk saw Bohs slip out of the top four and down to sixth.

Devine’s side now rely on an unlikely combination of results elsewhere to break back into the top four. All they can do now is to finish the league season as strongly as they can in that hope, and aim for glory in the FAI Cup final next week.

Devine said: “Our final league position is no longer in our hands but we are still in with a shout, so we have to take care of our own results and ensure we finish strongly.

“The last couple of weeks have been bitterly disappointing because we have put so much effort into our league campaign. We have spoken openly and honestly about points that we have left behind this year.

“There have been a lot of twists and turns. To think that 14 days ago we were targeting a win with the aim of moving up to second place, and then two defeats down the line we are in sixth fighting for our lives trying to finish fourth. That is obviously a bitter blow for everyone.

“But the reality for us is that European qualification is still very much in our hands, and we can’t lose sight of that. We are still one game away from qualifying for Europe through the Cup despite not being where we wanted to be in the league.

“We certainly feel we have left points behind us in the league. It has been difficult. We are 12 points better off than we were last season, and hopefully we can make that 15 against Cork City. But it’s absolutely not where we want to be.

“A club of this magnitude has got to be pushing for the top four. There is no shying away from that. It’s my job to achieve that, so there is no hiding place.”

Despite that disappointment, Devine believes in his side’s ability, effort and willingness to dust themselves down and put those set-backs behind them.

He said: “We have a massive couple of weeks ahead of us. We have an opportunity to bring a major trophy back to the club for the first time in 15 years.

“The one thing all year for me has been the togetherness of everyone at the club. There is a real unity and willingness to succeed. Yes we have had our disappointments in the last two weeks, but you only have a chance of winning things when everyone is together pulling in the same direction.

“The first thing I was told when I came in was that people at this club wanted effort, willingness and desire. I think we have had that over the course of the year, but have come up short in our last two games.

“We can’t do anything about past results, we have to accept them. But what we can do is understand that we have two games left, and an opportunity to achieve something for the club that has not been achieved in a very long time, and I know the fans will be right behind us as we try to do that.”

They must do that without Keith Buckley, who faces a lengthy time on the sidelines, and Devine has challenged his players to step up and show leadership in the absence of their captain.

He added: “We are so disappointed that we have lost Bucko but we have players in the group who aren’t kids, players in the group who have been involved in football for a very long time.

“We have players who have won things, and players who know the last two results, and particularly our performance in Dundalk, have not been acceptable. We have players who need to step up. But we have players who I believe are big-match players.

“There is no point looking back, and we cannot afford to. It is a terrible blow not to have Bucko for these games. It’s unfortunate for him personally and for us as a team. But he will be very much involved right through. His know-how and his ability to communicate and talk to players will be invaluable.”

Team news

Keith Buckley (knee) is out and Kacper Radkowski (foot) is a doubt.

Preview: Dundalk v Bohemians

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday October 27 2023, Oriel Park, 7.45pm
Tickets: https://eventlist.store/dundalkfc/awayfans2

Declan Devine says Bohemians must knuckle down and treat each of their three remaining games this season as cup finals as they come to terms with losing inspirational captain Keith Buckley to a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

With Shelbourne and tomorrow’s opposition Dundalk breathing down Bohs’ necks, Devine knows his side need maximum points from the final two league games to qualify for Europe through the league ahead of the FAI Cup final against St Patrick’s Athletic.

That task was made all the more difficult following the confirmation that he will be without his valued skipper for the foreseeable future.

There was great concern when Buckley uncharacteristically went down in clear discomfort during Bohs’ 2-0 defeat to St Pat’s last Friday.

And those worst fears were confirmed the following day when scans confirmed that anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament damage would rule Buckley out for several months.

Devine said: “It is devastating news for us. It was a tough weekend. When you see Keith Buckley stay down and then hobble off, you know something serious is wrong because he’s simply not a player to do that.

“I knew at the time that it looked very serious, and when we got him looked at and scanned on Saturday morning, he rang me straight away and it was devastating for him.

“It is very hard on Keith but on the whole group too because what he has brought back to the club this year has been invaluable.

“He is an integral part of the group, not only because of his incredible leadership qualities but also his playing qualities as well, which get overlooked at times. He is very good on the ball, his awareness of danger, and everything he brings.

“We had a good chat as a group on Monday, and we certainly owe Keith Buckley a result this week, and we owe it to the club.

“What I will say is that the one thing you are guaranteed with Keith Buckley is that he will be back. Bigger, stronger and better.

“His mindset is as strong as anybody I have ever worked with. His attitude to the game, and to the club and his team-mates, is second to none.

“He is already thinking about when he can come back. He is putting plans in place already in terms of his body and his conditioning.

“That is incredible, that he hasn’t let the pain and hurt creep into him. He has been very positive, and it is important now that as a club that we give him the support, treatment and care that he deserves and that is required.

“He is an inspiration to so many, and it is our turn to get the club over the line in our next three games, which for me are three cup finals.”

Buckley’s loss was compounded with defeat to St Pat’s last week, a result that has increased the importance of tomorrow’s trip to Oriel Park, with both the host and Shels looking to leapfrog Devine’s side and into the European positions.

It was a particularly frustrating result given that Bohs bossed the first half, and the early exchanges of the second period, but failed to find the back of the net before defensive errors left them completely empty-handed.

Devine said: “We played very well at times last week, but we didn’t take our chances, and got punished for two defensive lapses.

“Everyone was really devastated, both with the Bucko news but also that we lost such an important game having been so dominant in parts.

“We now have a chance to rectify that, and we want to make sure we get maximum points but to do that we need to defend and attack so much better than we did last week.

“I cannot fault our effort but when we present ourselves with chances and when we have been as creative as we have been, the final product has to be better.

“To be fair, last week, the St Pat’s goalkeeper made two or three really top saves. But I believe we have goals in us. We are a very attack-minded team and it is up to us to go out there and show that.

“We now have three cup finals coming up, starting with this one. The players are really hungry.

“We know it is going to be difficult as Dundalk have the second-best home record in the league this year, just in front of ourselves.

“But we have prepared well all week. It’s like a cup game. A defeat or a draw is no good to us. We need to go and win.

“It’s a game we are looking forward to though, it is not a game that should bring us fear. Our performance levels have to be right, we have to be ruthless in both boxes, and do everything in our power to come away with three points.

“We want to get over the line for everyone at the club. We have three cup finals. We have two opportunities to get to Europe but we want to try and make sure that, before the cup final, we are already in Europe through the league.”

Team news

Bohemians are without captain Keith Buckley (knee).

Preview: Bohemians v St Patrick’s Athletic

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday October 20 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine has demanded another energetic and dynamic performance from Bohemians in their penultimate home game of the season.

While tomorrow’s sold-out clash with St Patrick’s Athletic has been billed as a dress rehearsal for the cup final, neither team is looking at it that way as both look to secure European qualification through the league.

Very little has separated the sides so far this season with a win each and a draw from the three meetings so far this season.

Devine said: “The bottom line is that we have to take care of our side of the bargain, and make sure that we play to the intensity we have been here in Dalymount.

“Our form at home has been very good. This is our second last game in Dalymount of the season, and we want to give a real account of ourselves with positive performances and positive results.

“We have put so much blood, sweat and tears into our league campaign that at this stage of the season it is vitally important for us as a group that we finish it off properly.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good place but we know that there are absolutely no guarantees. We have to be at our very best in every game.

“The positive for me is that we have quality players who are itching to play, which allows us to play different systems with different personnel, and we have a fully fit squad who are all raring to go.

“St Pat’s have had a fantastic season since Jon Daly came in. They are very a hard team to play against, and there has been very little between the sides in the three games we’ve played this season.

“We have been really energetic and dynamic at home this year. That is something that we are going to need between now and the end of the season. The team has trained really well since the UCD game and the focus of the group is really high.”

Bohs come into the game on the back of a 2-1 win over UCD last Thursday.

Devine’s side bossed the game, but were somewhat disappointed that their dominance didn’t yield more goals.

Devine said: “We played okay in the first half but the bottom line is we have got to take our chances and we can’t be as wasteful as we were in front of goal.

“We were very creative in our play but putting games to bed is something we really need to improve on when those opportunities come our way and when we are so on top in games.

“But again, I will repeat that it is a new group this season and I am absolutely delighted with them. We are competing at all levels.

“To go to UCD is tough, no matter what. Only Derry City have given them a real scalping this season. There was pressure and expectancy on us to go there and win, and thankfully we did that.

“The scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of our performance. In reality we should have been out of sight after an hour or so. But the fact that we allowed them back into the game in the last few minutes needs to be a wake-up call for us. We need to be solid at the back.”

A positive from that win at Belfield was Danny Grant’s first goal since rejoining the club in July.

Devine said: “Danny has been great since he came in. He didn’t have a proper pre-season but now you can really see that he is up to speed and showcasing the talent he has.

“Him and Ali Coote have really had a good auld scrap for that left side position in recent weeks, and Ali’s form has been exceptional too.

“That’s Danny’s first goal since he came back but he has been really important in winning points for us in other ways too. There have been games where he has been chopped down for penalties, so it was really pleasing for him to get his name back on the scoresheet.

“It was pleasing for the group as well as it’s yet another different goalscorer. Our record for our spread of goals this season has been sensational. There are only three players who haven’t chipped in with a goal so that’s something for them to aim for over the next few games!

“But I’m delighted for Danny. Danny is going to be an important player for us for the rest of the season and next season as well.”

And Devine is also delighted Dylan Connolly is also finally getting the credit he deserves.

He added: “Dylan’s mentality has been absolutely brilliant. His impact on the team right throughout the course of the season has been really high level, even at times when the goals and assists weren’t coming. He drives us up the pitch. He scares people in terms of his natural pace and power.

“He has got himself into the best condition of his life, and he has really lit the place up in recent weeks. He has been sensational, but there is still more to come from Dylan and that’s the reality.

“He has a lot of years left to have a top, top level career, and I think we are very fortunate to have him here.

“He loves playing here too, and he loves the connection with the fans, which I think is obvious to see. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and the final product now has been absolutely brilliant in terms of his creativity and his final balls. Hopefully that can continue now until the end of the season.”

Team news

Bohemians have a full squad to choose from with James McManus back from international duty.

Preview: UCD v Bohemians

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Thursday October 12, 2023, UCD Bowl
Tickets: ucdfc.ticketco.events/ie/ie

Declan Devine says Bohemians need to show their cutting edge if they are to get past UCD in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division at Belfield tomorrow.

Bohs come into the game buoyed by Saturday’s Sports Direct FAI Men’s Cup semi-final win away to Galway United, which set up a final date against St Patrick’s Athletic in the Aviva Stadium next month.

But Devine insists all attention has now turned to achieving maximum points between now and end of the league season.

Tomorrow’s game in hand offers his side the opportunity to leapfrog Shelbourne and move back to fourth in the league table.

The make-up of this year’s cup final means that whoever finishes the season in fourth will secure European qualification.

And Devine said: “It is vital that we put the cup to one side now, as fantastic as Saturday was for everybody involved.

“Our focus is firmly on our four remaining league games. We have put so much effort into our league campaign that we cannot look past that, starting with UCD.

“Finishing the league season as strongly as possible is massively important. We have worked hard all year in the league and we want to go now and qualify for Europe through the league.

“That is what we want to achieve and we will be giving everything of ourselves. I know the players, I know the staff and how hard they work. I have no doubt the application and hard work to do that will be there.

Bohs were frustrated by their last trip to the UCD Bowl in April, conceding a late equaliser to draw the game 1-1.

It is a performance that still rankles with Devine, and he wants his players to make amends for it against a UCD side who are still scrapping hard for pride despite already being relegated to the First Division.

He said: “We have to look at it as an opportunity to go out and perform. It’s a venue where we haven’t won this year and we want to put that right. Nothing else right now matters.

“It’s vitally important that we go there with the right mindset and I have no doubt that we will because we have a really strong bunch of players.

“We aren’t the only team to drop points against UCD. Rovers recently went and drew 0-0 with them. It was a game where Rovers dominated but couldn’t find the cutting edge they needed so that must be a lesson to us.

“We have got to go there with a real positive mindset and perform to the levels we are capable of, and move the ball as quickly as we possibly can.

“We have so many creative players in our team that against anybody, we can create problems. That has to be the goal.

“There are no gimmies in this league, so we have to be at it in every game between now and the end of the league campaign.”

Bohs’ resolve was truly tested in Saturday’s semi-final win.

A goal up and taking control of the game, things threatened to suddenly unravel when Kacper Radkowski, an ever-present this season, was inexplicably shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders.

Devine’s men dug deep to see out the game, but Devine could not hide his disappointment for his 22-year-old centre-back, who will now be suspended for the Aviva Stadium showpiece.

He said: “It was a disgusting thing to happen to such a young lad who has played every minute of every game for us this season.

“Not only do I think they weren’t yellow cards, I don’t even think they were fouls. He has only made two challenges in the game and to get two yellow cards and a sending-off for them, I think is just devastating for us and devastating for the boy.

“It is extremely harsh. The boy is absolutely devastated, he is really hurt. He will be a huge loss, and it is a real downer in terms of having our best players available.

“Thankfully Cian Byrne came on and did exceptionally well for us but the boy just didn’t deserve that.

“It was crazy stuff. The way the cards were being flashed about was reckless in my opinion. There wasn’t a bad challenge in the game.

“Neil Doyle is one of my favourite referees in the league.

“He is very experienced, and a very controlled and calm referee. But there was a big prize at stake on Saturday, and the amount of yellow cards was hard to understand.

“We spoke at half-time to the boys who were on yellow cards and told them not to make a second challenge that would give the referee something to think about, and Kacper didn’t make a challenge that should have given any referee something to think about. He didn’t do anything wrong.

“Some players might never have another opportunity to play in an FAI Cup final again, so for Kacper to miss out in this way put a real downer on it. It’s a squad game. One person’s pain is felt by everyone. It was totally needless.”

Despite going down to ten men, Devine was delighted with the resolve of his side who got over the line despite having to play half and hour of normal time and over ten minutes of injury time a man down.

Devine added: “It was a fantastic way to get to the final in a venue that was extremely difficult – the pitch was poor and opposition were a man up for 40 minutes.

“There were a lot of positives, particularly the team spirit and the natural willingness to dig in when we went down to ten men, while still creating opportunities to try and put the game to bed.

“I was absolutely delighted with Dylan Connolly’s contribution, not just the goal. He has been outstanding in recent months and for him to get his first goal, and such an important goal, was exactly what he deserved.

“It is a testament to the work he has put in. It was the perfect finish, and he arrived at the back post at the perfect time after a perfect ball from Johnny Afolabi.

“I also think Krystian Nowak deserves great praise. He was very commanding in the box, and very calm when things were getting a bit crazy towards the end. He really showed his experience.

“Keith Buckley was outstanding too. It was a real Keith Buckley performance. He was an inspiration to everyone around him.

“Calm and in control when he needed to be, and snarling when he needed to be, winning second balls and giving us a platform to play.

“We had a lot of great performers and big characters who dragged us over the line. But that is behind us now, and the aim must be to match that determination and desire in every game between now and the end of the season.”

Team news

Bohemians have no injury concerns going into this game but James McManus is unavailable as he is on international duty with the Ireland U19s.

Website by Simon Alcock