“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.”

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.

“The squad is really stretched but the lads continue to stand up and fight”

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
SSE Airtricity League
Friday October 11, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long says his depleted Bohemians side need to continue to stand up and fight to consolidate their place in third.

Two of Bohs, Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic will claim the final Europa League qualification spots and Long’s side seized the advantage with a 1-0 win over Cork City at Dalymount Park last week.

That, coupled with Derry City losing to tonight’s opposition, saw the Gypsies move back up to third, while fifth-placed St Patrick’s Atheltic’s defeat to Waterford gave some further breathing space.

But as Bohs found to their benefit last week, the table can change very quickly. Long is not a manager who allows his team to get carried away but with three games remaining, Bohs are on 53 points, Derry on 51 and St Pat’s on 48.

A slice of luck was all that separated Bohs and Cork last week as visiting keeper Tadhg Ryan fumbled Derek Pender’s cross over the line.

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With a squad ravaged by injury and devoid of any luck in recent months, Bohs were entitled to feel we were due that bit of good fortune.

Long said: “We got a little bit of luck in terms of the goal but I felt we managed the second half quite well and James Talbot in goal was not overly tested.

“With so many injuries, the squad is really stretched but the lads continue to stand up and fight.

“The emergence of some of our younger players has been a real plus and while at this time of the year it’s all about results, the performances of the young lads have been fantastic which gives you great hope.

“We are a young, vibrant team and if we can continue to grow together who’s to say what we can’t achieve?”

The strength in depth of Bohs’ squad will be put to the test once more when runaway champions Dundalk come to Dalymount Park tonight.

Long said: “I admire Vinny Perth and his management team for what they have achieved this season.

“Stephen Kenny moving into the Irish international set-up left a void at the club, one that was quickly filled by Vinny who had worked in tandem with Stephen for many years and gained invaluable experience.

“Dundalk are clearly the best team in the land with many talented players operating in a culture rich, player-driven environment.”

As Long mentioned, his team are once again missing some of this season’s star performers.

Danny Mandroiu is away on international duty with Ireland U21s, while Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Conor Levingston (groin) are serious doubts once again.

Full-backs Darragh Leahy (ankle) and Andy Lyons (knee) are out alongside long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate).

Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney have been excused from the Ireland U19s’ game against Denmark tonight and will instead link up with Tom Mohan’s side ahead of Monday’s friendly against the same opposition.

Mandroiu’s absence is all the more frustrating given that the fact he is away on international duty with the Ireland U21s this week means that his one-game additional ban for his red card against Shamrock Rovers will now not be served until next week’s Dublin derby away to St Patrick’s Athletic.

That frustration was perhaps compounded further by the fact he remained on the bench for the Ireland U21s’ 0-0 draw with Italy last night.

Long added: “The FAI rulebook continues to be a source of frustration. Danny should serve his additional suspension tonight but because he is deemed ineligible due to his involvement with the Ireland U21s, this suspension rolls over into next week. This is a ludicrous situation.

“We are effectively being punished for having players involved in international set-ups. In the case of Danny, he came back from the last U21 squad injured and missed three games before returning to play against Rovers.

“He served his automatic game on Friday last v Cork and will now miss tonight’s game and next week’s game v Pats, meaning he misses three games instead of two.

“This is not correct or fair on clubs who put a heavy emphasis on youth development. It is in fact anti-development. If we are serious about moving forward with a new FAI, the rulebook is a good place to start. It needs to updated and modernised so it is fit for purpose and doesn’t punish clubs that are doing their business correctly.”

“At times it may get tough and we might need a little help over the line from our fans”

UEFA YOUTH LEAGUE
Bohemians v PAOK
Wednesday October 2 2019, Dalymount Park, 7.30pm

Craig Sexton has called on Bohemians to make the most of home advantage on and off the pitch against PAOK in the first leg of their Uefa Youth League tie at Dalymount Park tomorrow.

Admission is free for all and Sexton is hoping that will help get the Dalymount Roar behind his side from the off and bring a positive result over to Thessalonica for the second leg in three weeks’ time.

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy took time out of his squad announcement press conference earlier today to wish Bohs good luck in the tournament – and Sexton is banking on that goodwill to be echoed from the Jodi Stand.

Sexton said: “We are going in with a positive mindset that we want to win the game. We’re not going in to contain them or to see how the game goes – we want to win it.

“We want to bring a positive result to Greece, so that means we can’t just sit back and see how things happen. We are at home so the onus is on us to win.”

PAOK, whose senior team have a strong European pedigree in recent years but lost both Champions League and Europe League play-off this season, have a superior pedigree in this competition.

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They progressed through two rounds of the Uefa Youth League last season – beating AEL Limassol and FC Minsk – before narrowly losing out 1-0 to Tottenham.

This is Bohs’ second successive year in the competition. In their debut season, they lost out out 4-2 on aggregate to Danes FC Midtjylland, but were up against a side with designs on winning the competition and who subsequently knocked out giants Roma and Manchester United before bowing out against eventual winners Porto.

It was a commendable effort by a Bohs side depleted due to the tournament’s complex and unfamiliar eligibility rules, something they have learned from this season.

Sexton said: “Preparations have been great this time around. They’ve been a lot better than last year.

“That’s not a negative towards how we prepared last year but they’ve run a lot smoother in terms of player availability. We are without three of our older guys – Marlon Marishta, Peter Adigun and Mikey O’Keane – but we found out a lot earlier who we’d have, so we’ve had a lot more time to prepare.”

When the draw was made last month, Sexton admitted he knew little about the opposition but he and his backroom team have been working hard gathering information since.

He said: “By hook or by crook, we’ve got information on them! We’ve had to beg, borrow and steal to get as much information as you can but we’ve managed to our hands on footage.

“We’ve done our homework. We’ve watched them. They’ve seven players who played for Greece against the Ireland U17s in the European Championships in Dublin over the summer too.

“That’s an indication of the level of player. That finished 1-1, Greece scored late on. They are a strong outfit.

“They played the likes of Spurs. They’ve played top quality opposition in this tournament already so that could be a challenge. They’re more used to this, perhaps more comfortable with it than some of our boys but that’s fine.

“But they are coming to Dalymount – they won’t be used to that! We need to take advantage of that.”

The level of support for Bohs’ second leg tie against FC Midtjylland last year gave Sexton’s side a noticeable lift.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Bohs briefly led on away goals after Ali Reghba’s first-half penalty put them ahead on the night.

It was also something of a celebration and coming together of all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes at youth level at Bohemians and through the club’s partnership with St Kevin’s Boys, with whom many of the current U19s have cut their cloth.

Sexton sad: “It was a massive plus for us having our players exposed to that environment with a big crowd behind them. The lads were really able to feed off the fans in what was a new experience for most of them.

“We need that again against PAOK. We need the place full, noisy and boisterous. We need that and more. At times it may get tough and we might need a little help over the line from our fans.”

The likes of Reghba and Andy Lyons made their mark in this tournament last year and with a first-team manager in Keith Long willing to give youth a chance, more will be looking to follow them and, most recently, Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy, into his thoughts.

Sexton added: “This is a chance for them to showcase what they can do. They’re putting themselves on a stage. Instead of playing in Blanch IT they are playing, hopefully, at Dalymount Park in front of a couple of thousand people.

“As a group they get to show how good they are. A lot of them have been around the first team now which is a big help. They’ve seen big nights in Dalymount.

“Hopefully that will make them a bit more comfortable. A lot of them have experience from last year too which they can carry into this year. They shouldn’t be overawed. They might be but they shouldn’t be!”

WATCH: Alex Kelly, Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy talk to FAI TV

“How these players have come in and performed gives me great hope”

DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
September 20 2019, 7.45pm

Keith Long is hoping Bohemians can deliver some teenage kicks in Derry City tonight.

Bohs come into the game with a continuing injury crisis. Keith Ward (knee) returns but the Gypsies are set to be without Darragh Leahy (ankle), Danny Mandroiu (hip), Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Conor Levingston (groin) once more as well as long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate), while Robbie McCourt has decided to leave the club.

The mounting injuries have seen young guns such as 19-year-old Ryan Graydon, 18-year-old Ross Tierney and 17-year-old Dawson Devoy fast-tracked into the first team.

All three have come through the Bohs-SKB League of Ireland youth teams and started in the 2-1 defeat at home to Waterford a week ago, retaining their places for the 2-0 FAI Cup quarter-final win against Crumlin United
Long said: “We have had our hand forced with the number of injuries we’ve had. These lads are playing out of necessity.

“As I said before we know this is the business end of the season and the priority for us is results at this point and not development.

“But how these players have come in and performed gives me great hope for the future.

“They will be better players from this experience and we will be all the better for it as a club as well.

“We’ve had so many players out that it can be difficult to put a shape or structure to things at times but the lads have come in and coped really well with the demands put on them.

“It shows we are progressing as a club. We have quality young players who really want to play for Bohs. They have an affinity for the club and they want to express themselves. They are all working extremely hard but we have to be patient with them.

“As well as the lads coming in for the first time now, it is easy to forget the age of some of the others because they have been around the first team for so long.

“Danny Grant 19, Luke Wade-Slater 21, Andy Lyons 19. Scott Allardice looks older but he’s only 21. Rob Cornwall is an elder statesman in the team and he’s only 24!

“They put in a professional performance against Crumlin. We could have scored more but they are a good side and it was a potential banana skin so I was pleased with the result.”

While the performances being put in by the young guns are a source of great pride, youthful inexperience can also be punished. That was the case against Waterford and would a concern against a team of Derry’s quality.

Long said: “We have to eradicate mistakes at the back. Our early-season run was build on being solid at the back and being hard to beat. We’ll need that again tonight to get a result in the Brandywell.”

It is a mammoth two weeks for Bohs. They are currently in third on 49 points but have played one more game than the Candystripes, who are just two points behind.

And next week Bohs host Shamrock Rovers in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup looking to make the final having gone so close to reaching it last season.

Long added: “It’s going to be a huge occasion. Derry are having a great season.

“We have great numbers travelling up behind us again, which is hugely appreciated by us all. We’ll need that support too as the Brandywell will be bouncing.

“We want to be involved in big games. It’s a difficult place to go at the best of times but there is a real enthusiasm at Derry City again under Declan Devine so we will have to be at our very best.

“Last year. We had momentum second half of the season which carried into the start of this season.

“We’ve faltered slightly at times in recent months. Injuries have come at bad times for us which has been frustrating.

“But we are third in the table, in the semi-final of the cup and everything is in our own hands.”

“WE NEED A BIG CROWD BEHIND US FROM THE START”

CRUMLIN UTD v BOHEMIANS
Extra.ie FAI CUP QUARTER-FINAL
Monday September 16 2019, Richmond Park, 8pm

Keith Long wants a big travelling support at Richmond Park tonight as they look to reach the semi-finals of the FAI Cup for the second year running.

Bohemians travel to Inchicore to take on Leinster Senior League side at the home of St Patrick’s Athletic with a home semi-final against Shamrock Rovers on Friday week at stake.

Kick-off is 8pm but congestion is expected so it is advised to arrive early.

Bohs have ridden their luck against First Division sides in this competition. That fact coupled with a mounting injury crisis means nobody in the first-team set-up will be taking tonight’s opposition lightly.

In the first round, Long’s men found themselves 2-0 down against Shelbourne as late as the 85th minute but grabbed the tie by the scruff of the neck to win it 3-2 in injury-time.

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The goalscorers that night – Keith Buckley and Danny Mandroiu – are among seven players likely to miss out tonight because of injury.

Mandroiu and Darragh Leahy’s involvement with the Ireland U21s’ Euro 2021 qualifiers against Armenia and Sweden was one of the reasons for this tie not taking place on the scheduled weekend of September 6/7/8.

Cruelly, their involvement with the U21s saw them both pick up injuries that now sees them miss tonight’s game anyway.

As well as difficulties against Shelbourne, in the last round, Bohs needed a penalty shootout to progress against Longford Town.

Crumlin are a side with League of Ireland pedigree throughout their team.

Dean Kelly – Bohs’ two-goal hero in the memorable 3-1 2015 Dublin derby win over Shamrock Rovers famously captured by Copa 90 – is in their ranks. So too are fellow former Bohs men Craig Walsh and Conor Murphy.

Other players of note include Robbie Brady’s brothers Liam and Gareth in midfield as well as John Sheridan, a consistent performer in the Premier Division for many years most memorably in spells with Bray Wanderers and Galway United.

Long said: “Crumlin have good players. They would more than hold their own in the First Division if not more. They’re a settled team who will fancy having a go at us.

“We are favourites and rightly so. It is a tie we are expected to win. But we have to give Crumlin the respect you give every team as they do have players who can hurt you. Our performance has to be right.

“It’s a cup quarter-final. We all want to progress. Crumlin will have a big support out for them and it’s vitally important that we bring a big crowd over behind us from the start as well.”


Bohs’ 2-1 defeat to Waterford on Friday was disheartening in respect of the side’s efforts to consolidate its position in third place.

They remain there for now thanks to St Pat’s drawing with UCD at home and Derry City not having a league game at the weekend due to their involvement in the EA Sports Cup final where they lost on penalties to Dundalk.

But while Friday’s result rankled, there were many positives to take from the performance.

Andy Lyons, 19, at right-back won the official man-of-the-match award from RTÉ but there was a starring role in the centre of the park from 18-year-old Ross Tierney and an encouraging full debut from 17-year-old Dawson Devoy alongside 19-year-old Ryan Graydon.

All four came through either the Bohs U19s and Bohs-SKB U17s.

Another man who came through the Bohs U19s was Danny Grant, who despite not training all week due to a viral infection, made an immediate impact off the bench, receiving a pass from Devoy to set up Tierney to slot home for Bohs’ only goal of the game.

The average age of the starting Bohs team was 21½. Take captain Derek Pender out, it was 20½.

While Bohs and St Kevin’s have rightly earned plaudits for the progression of young players coming through from Bohs-SKB LOI teams through to the U19s and on to the first team, on this occasion the extent of youth and inexperience on show was by necessity rather than design.

Long said: “We’re at the business end of the season when results matter more than development. But with the injuries we have at the moment, our hand was forced.

“Our defending for the goals wasn’t good enough but I was proud of how many of the lads did. A lot of the players unavailable are across midfield. It’s a big step-up from U19s to first-team football and it takes players a while to adapt but the lads who have played did very well.

“Ross has come in a few times and he’s done very well for us and Dawson is only a boy at 17 but did well and this will stand to him. They tired a bit towards the end but that is to be expected. They are not yet used to the tempo and intensity of first-team football.

“Scott Allardice was excellent too. He’s had to be patient to get a chance in the team but he showed what he is capable of on Friday.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are without Darragh Leahy (ankle), Danny Mandroiu (hip), Keith Buckley (hamstring), Keith Ward (knee), Conor Levingston (groin), Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate).

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