“This group of players want to get to a final. Everyone at the club does.”

EA SPORTS CUP SEMI-FINAL
Dundalk v Bohemians
Monday August 19 2019, Oriel Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians boss Keith Long believes a strong vocal travelling support at Oriel Park tonight can help the club reach its first major final in nine years.

The Gypsies come into the game flying high after Friday night’s remarkable 10-1 win over UCD at Dalymount Park where goals from Andre Wright (4), Danny Mandroiu (3), Conor Levingston, Danny Grant and Ross Tierney left all in attendance stunned.

The result was the club’s record league win in its 129-year history and was the first time a club has scored 10 in a League of Ireland game since Cork Hibernians beat Transport by the same scoreline 59 years ago.

More importantly the win, coupled with Derry City losing at home to Shamrock Rovers, saw Bohs leapfrog the Candystripes and back into third position in the league.

Long said: “It was a great night for the players and fans. We moved back up into the European places and we improved our goal difference in doing so, which is important.

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“We started the game really well and played some really good stuff. The boys didn’t take the foot off the gas in the second half. They were hungry for goals.

“It was great for Andre to get his first goals for the club, which was important for him. Now that he’s off the mark in the league that will help him going into future games.”

It exorcised the demons too of when Bohs and UCD last met when the Students claimed a 1-0 win at Belfield in July.

Long asked questions of his side that night and again in the 1-0 defeat away to the UCD’s survival rivals Finn Harps at the beginning of the month.

The character shown in the nature of the 3-2 comeback win over Shelbourne in the FAI Cup 10 days ago coupled with Friday’s performance suggests a determination within the squad to answer those questions.

But it will be an altogether different challenge posed tonight against the champions and runaway league leaders.

Vinny Perth’s side bowed out of the Europa League last week with a disappointing 4-1 aggregate defeat against Slovan Bratislava.

Domestically, however, they are showing no signs of a let-up in their dominance and Bohs don’t need any reminding of just how ruthless they Lilywhites can be.

The Gypsies have twice gone up to Oriel Park on Monday nights this season and have matched the Lilywhites on their own patch for 90 minutes only to come home empty-handed after conceding injury-time penalties on both occasions.

For it to happen once was hard to take, for it to happen a second time was gut-wrenching for players, management and travelling support alike, who will all be hoping it is a case of third time lucky tonight.

Long said: “We played extremely well in both games and to lose them was hard to take. Tonight the most important thing is to get the result. The result is more important than the performance.”

Getting that result will be easier said than done but Bohs won’t be lacking in determination in their efforts to do so.

They came agonisingly close to getting to the final of the FAI Cup last season – they were 1-0 up their semi-final against Cork City in the 87 minutes until a controversial penalty decision forced a replay in Turner’s Cross, which they lost.

That heartbreak has reinforced the determination within the dressing room to go one better in the EA Sports Cup where Derry City await the winners of tonight’s game.

If they do, it would be the club’s first major cup final since winning the Setanta Cup in 2010.

Long said: “This group of players want to get to a final. Everyone at the club does.

“There is a hope and expectation there which brings its own pressures but we will go up there giving everything we’ve got to get us to a final.”

Despite the date for this game only being confirmed last Wednesday on account of Dundalk’s involvement in Europe, a large travelling support is expected.

Long said: “The supporters have got behind us up there this season as they have everywhere we’ve gone this season.

“I know the club has supplemented buses for this one. It’s good to be able to give the supporters back something for the support they’ve shown throughout this season, so hopefully we’ll have a big support up there behind us. That can be important if a game is in the balance.”

TEAM NEWS

Goalkeeper James Talbot is suspended due to accrued yellow cards. He is likely to be replaced by Michael Kelly, who was signed at the end of last month.

The 23-year-old most recently played a first-choice goalkeeper for Longford Town last season having previously been on the books at Cabinteely and Shamrock Rovers.

Earlier this year he was training with QPR.

While Talbot misses out through suspension, club captain Derek Pender returns from his.

Rob Cornwall played his first game since April on Friday as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury. He might not be risked again tonight.

James Finnerty, with whom Cornwall formed a formidable partnership at the heart of the Bohs defence in the early stages of the season, misses out once more with a calf injury.

Long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

“Everyone was buzzing last week and we need to bring that confidence into tonight’s game”

BOHEMIANS v UCD
SSE Airtricity League
Friday August 16 2019, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

On and off the field, you get the feeling that Andy Lyons is a young man with the world at his feet.

Off the field, like 56,000 students across the country, the self-assured 19-year-old received his Leaving Cert results last week and yesterday, before training in the evening, he sat down to digest his first CAO offer and consider the next steps.

On the field, it has been such a whirlwind few months for the young full-back that it is hard to fathom how he combined his Leaving Cert studies at Blackrock College.

But just like how he took to being thrust into the demands and spotlight of first-team football, not a lot seems to faze him on that front either.

He said: “It was great to get it over and done with and I’m very happy with how I’ve done.

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“I haven’t quite decided what course I want to do yet but I’m looking at courses in business, sport and communications and I’ll have a good think over the next while.”

He will put those considerations to one side once more tonight when he is likely to line out at right-back again when Bohemians host UCD at Dalymount Park.

Lyons, who came through the Bohs system and U17 and U19 level, broke into the first team last season, making four starts and one substitute appearance in the league having initially been tested in the Leinster and EA Sports cup competitions.

But he has come on even further this year. He has been involved in nine league games of which he has started eight and played the full 90 minutes.

And after his Leaving Cert, there was the small matter of starring for his country as Tom Mohan’s Ireland reached the semi-finals of the European U19 Championships.

His performances in Armenia didn’t go unnoticed, with Bohs manager Keith Long acknowledging: “Andy had a great tournament and the feedback from Tom has been top notch. He has coped well with any challenges he’s come up against so far.”

Lyons, who joined Bohs from Long’s former club St Joseph’s Boys, is grounded and appreciates the role his manager and backroom team have played in getting him to that point.

And having captained Craig Sexton’s Bohs U19s to league and cup glory last season, he is now hungry to progress even further in the first team now too.

He said: “I’m really grateful to Keith and Trevor for trusting in me and giving me the opportunity to play first-team football. It’s been an unbelievable year for me.

“Playing the league had me in good stead going to the Euros. We were playing against the best players in the world at that age group, players at some of the biggest clubs and leagues in the world but first-team football prepared me well.

“I was pleased with how we fared and how I did myself personally too. We were unlucky to be playing a really good Portugal team in the semi-finals. Losing that game was disappointing. On another day we might have done better but overall the tournament was an amazing experience.”

Lyons’ most recent game-time has seen him make the most of the opportunity afforded him in the absence of suspended skipper Derek Pender.

‘Detser’ sits out again tonight as he completes a four-match ban for the part he played in post-match scenes when Bohs faced – and lost to – tonight’s opposition in Belfield last month.

Those unnecessary scenes were instigated by the provocations of UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns, who also remains suspended for tonight’s game as a result of his idiocy.

Lyons said: “I was away at the time at the Euros so I didn’t see the whole incident but I know there was a bit of handbags at the end.

“Detser is a hugely important person to the team and at the club so it’s never going to be easy for me to stay in the team but when I get an opportunity to play I want to make the most of it.”

While Lyons is bidding to do enough tonight to keep Pender out of the team on his return from suspension, he is quick to point out the huge influence his captain has had on his development as a player.

He said: “Detser has been great to me as he has been to all the younger players and squad as a whole. He looks after all the younger players.

“You learn so much from him all the time both on the pitch and off the pitch but because we play the same position, he has taught me so much on top of that.

“He makes you a better player every time you train with him. He’s been marking some of the same players for 8/9/10 years and he will always help me by giving me little snippets of information on them if I’m playing and how to mark them.”

Having come unstuck when the sides last met and having lost to Finn Harps in their last league outing, Bohs know there will be no room for error if they are to regain the third place position they ceded to Derry City with that defeat in Ballybofey.

Lyons said: “We’re under no illusions going into any game that we have to be at it. We lost to them out in the Bowl and even when they came to Dalymount the last time they gave us a really good game in the first half.

“They’ve already beaten us so will feel confident again so we have to be at our very best.”

But Bohs are confident too. Poor defensive lapses saw them 2-0 down in last week’s Extra.ie FAI Cup tie against Shelbourne but the manner of their six-minute turnaround to win the tie has their tails up.

Captain on the night Keith Buckley led by example and his goal sparked the comeback on 85 minutes, while some magic from Danny Mandroiu saw him equalise three minutes later before sealing the deal injury time.

Lyons added: “We shouldn’t have been 2-0 down in the first place so that was disappointing from a defensive point of view. But the most important thing was we showed our character as a team to dig deep and turn the game around.

“Even at 2-0 down, we believed we could get back into it and at least bring the game to extra time… but to win it in normal time was special.

“I think fans are getting used to seeing a bit of magic from Danny but Bucko’s goal was excellent too. Obviously the fans, everyone at the club and in the team were buzzing all week and we need to bring that confidence into the UCD game now.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender serves the final game of his four-match ban for the part he played in a post-match flare-up the last time these sides met.

Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Ryan Swan (hamstring) and Kevin Devaney (hip) are all available for selection once more, but James Finnerty (calf) is a doubt.

Long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

“We know them, they know us. So the knowledge probably cancels each other out.”

BOHEMIANS v SHELBOURNE
Extra.ie FAI Cup, Friday August 8 2019, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Match sponsor: AW Ennis.
Matchball sponsor: Celtic Whiskey Shop and Wines on the Green

It has been six years since Dublin’s oldest rivals faced each other in a game of note.

But despite that void, there will be many faces familiar to Dalymount Park lining out for Shelbourne tonight.

A far cry from the ding-dong title-deciding derbies of the noughties, Bohemians and Shels last faced off in a game that really mattered in 2013 when both were fighting relegation.

Shels’ 3-0 win at Dalymount in June of that year was the beginning of the end for then Bohs boss Aaron Callaghan.

That result was reversed three months later when the Gypsies, then under the guidance of Owen Heary, made amends at Tolka Park.

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Bohs fans in Tolka Park in 2013. Pic: Paul Reynolds

Bohs fans in Tolka Park in 2013. Pic: Paul Reynolds

Bohs went on to beat the drop, while Heary’s former side slid out of the division once more. Both clubs were at a low ebb at the time with multi-million debts and uncertain futures.

But with those debts largely cleared now and with a groundshare at a redeveloped Dalymount on the horizon, there is renewed belief and optimism in both camps.

Bohs, under the dedicated stewardship of Keith Long, are pushing for a place in Europe, while Shels, in former Gypsy Ian Morris’ first season in management, are on course to win promotion back to the Premier Division.

There have been insignificant meetings in the EA Sports and Leinster Senior cups in the intervening years, but tonight sees Dublin’s oldest derby elevated to top billing once more.

Bohs had the bragging rights the last time the sides met in this competition – Paddy Madden scoring the only goal of the game at Dalymount Park in 2010.

But Shels had the more significant victory a decade earlier in 2000, with Pat Fenlon – a Bohs cup winner as a player in 1992 and as a manager in 2008 – scoring the winner in Dalymount Park the last time a cup final replay was used to determine the winners of the competition.

Bohs vice-captain Keith Buckley is a veteran of those relegation six-pointers in 2013 and so too are some of the players likely to line out for Shels tonight – albeit they donned the red and black of Bohs six years ago.

Dean Delany, Dan Byrne, Luke Byrne and Karl Moore all played their part in keeping Bohs in the top flight that season.

But tonight they and a total of nine ex-Bohs men in the Shels first-team squad – Colin McCabe, Lorcan Fitzgerald, John Ross Wilson, Derek Prendergast and Oscar Brennan being the others – will come to Dalymount with a point to prove against their former employers.

Throw in the fact Shels manager Morris and his assistant Jason McGuinness are also formerly of this parish, you could field an entire Shels XI made up of former Bohemians.

Bar his one season with Bray Wanderers in 2017, Bucko has been with Bohs since 2010 and has played alongside most of them during that time.

He said: “There are a lot of familiar faces. More than half their squad have been with us at some point.

“We know them, they know us. So the knowledge probably cancels each other out. There’s no advantage there for either side.

“I haven’t been talking to any of them, even lads I’d be close to like Luke Byrne. Once the draw was made you want to focus on the game, you don’t want distractions.

“But I know both sets of fans were delighted to draw each other, it has the makings of a good cup tie.

“It should be a great atmosphere. It’s been a long time since the clubs played each other in a big game like this so hopefully the place is hopping.

“Going back through the years when I was growing up, Bohs v Shels was a huge fixture but it’s been a long time since it was this big.

“It’s a one-off game. They’ve a lot of ex-Bohs lads who might feel they have a point to prove so we have to be at our best.

“And it’s not just that. They’re a good side too. They’ve players who have won leagues and cups, the likes of Ciaran Kilduff, Conan Byrne and Lorcan, so we expect a tough game.”

Shels come into the game five points clear at the top of the First Division. Confidence will be high, despite stuttering with a 1-0 defeat away to Cobh Ramblers last week.

But Bohs have faltered themselves. Having occupied third spot for 15 weeks, they were leapfrogged by Derry City having come undone away to Finn Harps last Friday.

Manager Long described the defeat as ‘not good enough’ and Buckley, who missed the game with a hamstring injury, agrees.

He said: “We’ve had a bad result ourselves so we have to prove a point ourselves too. It wasn’t an acceptable result. Harps are a very good side at home to be fair but we have to step up in those kind of games.

“We all need to step up, every one of us, no matter who is playing.”

Bucko celebrates magical quarter-final in the Brandywell last season. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Bucko celebrates magical quarter-final in the Brandywell last season. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Bohs had a memorable run to the semi-finals of this competition last term.

They were 1-0 up against Cork City and moments from reaching the final until a controversial penalty decision forced a replay.

But they didn’t have enough against the then reigning league champions in Turner’s Cross, despite a wonder goal from the man sitting in the hotseat in the opposition dugout tonight.

Fans are still dreaming of ending an 11-year wait to win the competition once more. But Bucko says the players won’t fall into the trap of thinking that far ahead.

He added: “Every year you want to get to the final but this is only the first round.

“If you look too far ahead, you’ll end up on your arse. It’s the first round – one game – and that’s all we are thinking about right now.”

TEAM NEWS

Skipper Derek Pender remains suspended but Paddy Kirk returns from his one-match ban.

Keith Buckley returns from a hamstring injury, while Rob Cornwall (also hamstring) is available for selection also having been named on the bench against Harps last week after a lengthy lay-off.

Ryan Swan (hamstring) and Kevin Devaney (hip) are sidelined.

Long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

Keith Buckley visited his local Pearse Area Recreation Centre for the launch of the #ThisIsMyDublin campaign this week promoting Dublin City Sportsfest 2019 – a week-long celebration of sport & physical activity from September 23-29: dublincity.ie/sportsfest 

“We’ve got ourselves into a good position and we want to stay there”

FINN HARPS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday August 2 2019, Finn Park, 8pm

Keith Long says Bohemians will focus on getting their own results right as they begin the final series of league games tonight.

Bohs have been in third position for 15 weeks and are determined to further consolidate that when they travel to face Finn Harps.

They face a dogged Harps side who under the guidance of Ollie Horgan have caused Long’s men plenty of problems at Ballybofey in seasons past.

Second from bottom Harps come into the game resurgent and on the back of 1-0 wins against Waterford and rivals Derry City, who in fourth place are breathing down Bohs’ necks.

Long said: “Harps are a well organised and honest bunch of players who are fighting for everything at the moment.

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“They work extremely hard for one another but we have our own ambitions so our own performance level has got to be right

“We have to look after our own results first. We’ve got ourselves into a good position and we want to stay there.

“We’ve nine games left, there will be plenty of ups and downs between now and the end of the season but we need to win games to stay where we are.”

Bohs come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers.

Long said: “A draw was a probably a fair result. They haven’t lost at the Showgrounds since we beat them earlier in the season, so it was a good point but we could have won it in the second half.”

TEAM NEWS

Captain Derek Pender begins his three-match additional suspension tonight for the part he played in post-match flare-ups against UCD last month, which were instigated by the Students’ goalkeeper Conor Kearns.

Pender is likely to be replaced at right-back by Andy Lyons, who returns to the squad after being away on international duty with Ireland at the Uefa European U19 Championships.

Long added: “Andy had a great tournament and the feedback from Tom Mohan has been top notch. He’s coped well with any challenges he’s come up against so far and now is another opportunity for him.”

Paddy Kirk is suspended for accumulative yellow cards, Keith Buckley (hamstring) is a doubt, Rob Cornwall (Achilles) remains a doubt, while Ryan Swan, a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury ahead of the Sligo game, also remains a doubt.

Long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

“I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!”

SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League

Saturday July 27 2019, The Showgrounds, 8pm, live on eir

Rob Cornwall’s determination to play for Bohemians ended up contributing to a longer spell on the sidelines.

But back in training and ready for selection once more, he is ready to redouble his efforts to win back his place in the team.

Unusually, the famous story of Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing through the 1956 FA Cup final with a broken neck drove Cornwall on to play through the pain barrier.

Cornwall was a mainstay in the heart of the Bohs defence alongside James Finnerty at the start of the season, playing 11 games of which he contributed greatly to James Talbot keeping a clean sheet in eight of those.

After a somewhat stop-start and injury-interrupted 2018 compared to the high standards he had set a year previously in his debut season for the club, Cornwall was determined to keep that run going.

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That drive ended up costing him, however.

An Achilles injury has kept him out of action since the end of April and with Talbot keeping three clean sheets in his last four games, those who have come into the team in his place have fared pretty well of late.

Cornwall, 24, admits: “I had tendinitis in my Achilles. It just felt a bit sore, so I played on with it.

“I felt it about ten days before the Derry game away in April. Then I felt it again playing against Derry but I didn’t want to come off, I just wanted to keep playing.

“I kept thinking ‘what’s wrong with me?’ It’s just a bit sore.’

“I don’t know why this went through my head but all I could think about was that goalkeeper who played on in the cup final with a broken neck, so I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!

Bert Trautmann

Bert Trautmann

“I just wanted to get on with it and that probably made it worse.

“The staff have been great at the club. Our physios Paul Kirwan – Paul is an expert in this particular area – and Robbie Murray have been first class with me, so I have to thank them, Cathal Murtagh (strength and conditioning coach) and Remy Tang (club sport scientist).

“I’m back training now and my objective is to get fit and back into the team when an opportunity comes. I’m back training since last week and fully back this week.”

But winning back his place in the team now will be trickier than one would have expected earlier in the year.

His form then was such that he was probably one of the first names on Keith Long’s teamsheet each week.

His absence was felt too – Bohs went on a run of six league games without keeping a clean sheet. But they’ve shored up since with those tasked with filling his place in the side stepping up to the plate.

Cornwall admits: “The lads have done really well. I’ll have to bide my time to get an opportunity.

“We’ve some very good defenders at the club. With myself and Aaron Barry being injured, Michael Barker has come into the team and has done really well.

“He’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my opinion but he’s done so well people are starting to realise just how good he is now.

“Barks was unlucky at the start of the season getting injured himself but he’s got into the side now and has done really well. I’ve seen it in training, so it’s no surprise to me.

“Then you’ve had Darragh Leahy play centre-half recently. To move from left-full to centre-half and do so well is impressive.

“He was brilliant against St Pat’s… I was cursing him. I might have to change position to get in the team they’ve done so well.. maybe there’s room in midfield.”

Bohs travel to Sligo buoyed by 3-0 Dublin derby win against St Patrick’s Athletic on Sunday.

It was an encouraging performance from Bohs, particularly in the second half, but certainly not as emphatic a performance as the scoreline suggested.

Sligo beat the Gypsies in their last meeting with a sucker-punch in the 89th minute to win 2-1 in Dalymount Park back in May, so they too are not a side that Bohs will underestimate.

The previous meeting between the sides at The Showgrounds in April saw Bohs travel home happy with three points and a 2-0 win in a game that Cornwall was sent off in for a clumsy last-man challenge.

“We still kept a clean sheet though,” he is at pains to point out and adds: “Every game for us from now until the end of the season is a tough one. We’ve got ourselves into a good position but we have to be at it every game to stay there.”

“Sligo have already beaten us this season. Liam Buckley has won everything there is to win as a manager in this league so we know we are in for another tough game.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender and Danny Mandroiu return from suspension.

Aaron Barry (hamstring), Rob Cornwall (Achilles) and Danny Grant (hamstring) all returned to full training last week, with Grant coming off the bench against St Pat’s on Sunday, and all are in contention against Sligo.

Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

Andre Wright could be included in squad for first time after international clearance came through on Thursday.

Andy Lyons has returned following Ireland’s exit from the Uefa U19 European Championships but is likely to be rested.

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