PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY

SSE Airtricity League
Monday September 20 2021
Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Exclusively live on LOITV

Bohemians assistant manager Trevor Croly has urged Bohemians to turn their games in hand into wins as they aim to break into the top three to secure European football for 2022.

The Gypsies are currently in fifth on 37 points with 24 games played.

They are eight points off third-placed Sligo Rovers who have 45 points from 27 games.

In between the two sides is tonight’s opposition, Derry City, who have 38 points from 26 games.

It makes for an intriguing clash at Dalymount Park tonight with both sides gunning to close the gap on the Bit O’Red.

It also sees the return of all members and season ticket holders to Dalyer for the first time in 564 days.

Croly said: “It’s a huge game.

“We have games in hand but you have got to go and win them and this is a big one.

“Our games against Derry have been tight this season and last. Ruaidhri Higgins has gone in and he has done a good job, so we know it is going to be tough again.”

There is a hectic fixture schedule between now and the end of the season as a result of postponements from international call-ups and clashes with European games.

But there was a brief reprieve on Friday as the favourable half-time 3-0 scoreline allowed manager Keith Long the opportunity to substitute key men Keith Buckley, Andy Lyons and Dawson Devoy.

Bohs had taken advantage of the visitors going down to ten men – the ex-Bohs U19 captain Alex Kelly saw red for a late challenge on his former team-mate Devoy – with Conor Levingston and Keith Ward adding to Buckley’s opener to put the game beyond doubt at the break.

The Gypsies went on to add a fourth, with Roland Idowu bagging a goal on his debut off the bench.

Croly added: “It was great to win on Friday and great to get four goals. It was important that we were focused and ready to go.

“It was a shame that the sending-off somewhat killed the game.

“But it was great for Roland to score on his debut, and to have the young lads in the team – Jamie Mullins and Aaron Doran from the start, and Robbie Mahon from the bench.

“It’s difficult trying to recover having played on Friday night but the good thing was we were able to make a few changes at half-time being 3-0 up and with Maynooth being down to 10.

“We were able to get some bodies off and manage minutes, spread minutes out a little bit, which normally you can’t do.”

TEAM NEWS

Georgie Kelly returns from suspension. Ali Coote (hamstring) and Liam Burt (groin) are doubts.

Promise Omochere, a late withdrawal from the starting XI on Friday with a hamstring strain, is ruled out alongside Stephen Mallon (hip).

Preview: Bohemians v Maynooth University Town

Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final
Friday September 17 2021
Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Exclusively live on LOITV
(Please note FAI Cup games are not included on LOITV season passes)

Keith Long believes his players are feeding off the renewed support they are getting from increased attendances at games and hopes that continues when Bohemians host Maynooth University Town at Dalymount Park tonight.

Long said: “What a difference it has been to have supporters back in greater numbers at games.

“The atmosphere was electric in the last round of the cup and that support was vital in helping us progress.

“Equally so the support away from home in Drogheda and in particular Donegal on Monday night in the lashings of rain was magnificent.”

That hard-fought 2-1 win against Shamrock Rovers in the previous round of the Cup has teed up tonight’s tie.

Facing non-league opposition, Long’s men are the overwhelming favourites but it is not in his make-up to take any team for granted.

Long said: “Our reward for beating Rovers in the last round is a home tie against Maynooth University Town who will come to Dalymount looking to cause an upset and will be well set up.

“I have no doubt that they will have done their homework and will be well organised. However we must focus on ourselves and try to put in the best performance we can.”

Bohs come into the game on the back of a mixed bag of results over the past week.

First they travelled to Drogheda last week where they fell apart in the first half, going in 3-0 down at the break. They were much improved in the second half, but still went home empty-handed with a 3-2 defeat.

Long said: “It was an awful first half display in which we conceded three goals from a combination of poor decision-making and neglecting the basics of the game.

“You cannot give goals away as cheaply as we did and despite totally dominating and creating chances in the second half, we didn’t have enough to get something from the game.

“We have been striving for a level of consistency and performance but the first half against Drogheda was nowhere near good enough for this team. We all have to take responsibility and must do better.”

They bounced back from that loss with an impressive win away to in-form Finn Harps. A result in Ballybofey is never easy, but particularly against a Harps side that won four and drew one of their last five games.

At 2-0, Bohs had chances to put the game beyond doubt but allowed Harps pull one back, which led to a nervy final ten minutes of the game, which tested Bohs’ resolve.

Long said: “I am glad we bounced back against Harps with a good performance and the players gave the perfect response. It was a deserved victory and despite conceding a goal ten minutes from time, we held on for the win.

“We probably should have won by more as we created several opportunities playing some really good football and it was the perfect response after falling flat against Drogheda.

“Unfortunately we lost Ali Coote early in the first half. Ali has been in superb form for us and has been pivotal to how we want to play so hopefully it’s not too serious.

“The introduction of Promise Omochere provided us with a different attacking dynamic scoring the first goal and causing problems throughout the game for Harps defence.

“It has been a difficult time for Promise but he has been training exceptionally well since his return from injury and has contributed well from the bench in recent games.

“It will do him the world of good scoring and it would be nice to see him produce the performances that he is capable of on a more consistent basis providing he can remain injury free.

“We must remember he is still young and whilst he has been at the club a long time now he is still learning the game and developing.

“A consistent run in the team and the avoidance of injuries will go a long way towards helping him fulfill his potential.”

TEAM NEWS

Georgie Kelly suspended following his red card in the previous round, so Promise Omochere could start up front against the university he attends. Stephen Mallon (hip) is out and Ali Coote (hamstring) is a doubt.

PREVIEW: DROGHEDA UTD v BOHEMIANS

DROGHEDA UNITED v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday September 10 2021
Head In The Game Park, 7.45pm

James Finnerty has been a victim of Bohemians’ strength in depth this season but now hopes to benefit from it.

The centre-back started the first five games of the season but suffered set-backs then as first a controversial red card in a defeat to Shamrock Rovers in April and then a fracture in his wrist allowed others stake their claims to start ahead of them.

He has started just four games in all competitions since returning from that injury, but has also featured regularly off the bench.

With vice-captain Rob Cornwall suspended for tonight’s short trip north to face Drogheda United, Meath man Finnerty is hoping he can be afforded an opportunity from the off once more.

As a result of rescheduled fixtures due postponements during Bohs’ European run and international call-ups, games will be coming thick and fast between now and the end of the season, with six between now and the end of September for starters.

With James Talbot returning from international duty with the Ireland senior team, Andy Lyons, Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney returning from international duty with the Ireland U21s, and Bohs winning the SSE Airtricity SWI Player of the Month for three months running through Georgie Kelly, Devoy and Ali Coote, the talent in this Bohs team is there for all to see.

But now those who have been waiting patiently are looking to use the challenge of a congested fixture schedule to show what they are capable of too.

Finnerty said: “We have a lot of games coming up but we are looking forward to them. That is why we have a good, strong squad.

“I started most of our games at the start of the season but then when I got injured and missed a few games, the lads came in and did very well.

“Ciarán Kelly and Rory Feely have both been excellent.

“We have good competition for places as we have throughout the team, and that is what we will need during this period – players ready to step in when called upon.

“For me personally I am ready for whenever that next chance comes, whether that is tonight, Monday or Friday.”

The memories created from that run in the European Conference League has refocused the squad’s ambitions to be back on that stage again next year.

Finnerty said: “Those nights at the Aviva were special and something that has to spur us on now. It showed what we are capable of, and we are determined to get back and compete at that level again.

“We have to take it one game at a time with so many games coming up we can’t look any further than tonight.

“But with every game we play, we go out determined to move up the table and to progress in the cup.”

For tonight’s game, Bohs will be roared on by travelling fans for an away game for the first time since the onset of the pandemic as another bit of normality returns.

All 200 of Bohs’ away allocation were snapped up online in 15 minutes, and Finnerty was keen to stress how much having supporters back in the stands and on the terraces has meant to the team.

Finnerty added: “The fans have been first class. It means everything having them back in the grounds behind us again. The atmosphere at the Rovers game was unreal, and even the Sligo game before it meant a lot.

“At the three Aviva games, it felt like we had 20,000 or 30,000 fans behind us.

“They made so much noise. It was unbelievable, so it’s great to have them back on the road with us again now too.”

TEAM NEWS

Vice-captain Rob Cornwall is suspended for accumulated yellow cards.

New signings Roland Idowu and Cole Kiernan join up with the squad for the first time.

Preview: Bohemians v Sligo Rovers

BOHEMIANS v SLIGO ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League
Sunday August 15 2021
Dalymount Park, 3pm
Live on LOITV.ie

Bohemians have now proven they can compete at a higher level but manager Keith Long has warned that they need to prove they can do it domestically once more if they want to dine at the top table again.

The Gypsies’ European journey came to an end in Thessaloniki on Thursday night as PAOK won 2-0 on the night, wiping out Bohs’ remarkable 2-1 win in the first leg at the Aviva Stadium nine days previously.

Having run the Greeks so close in both games, management and players viewed the tie as a missed opportunity to progress further and test themselves again once more.

But they and fans alike will look back on the past six weeks as one of the most enjoyable periods at the club, becoming the first League of Ireland side to win four consecutive games in Europe delivered with it immeasurable highs that will live long in the memories of all involved.

After an uncertain 16-month absence, the sheer joy of fans and the team being together as one for the first time since the onset of the pandemic under the roof of the Aviva Stadium will be cherished forever.

And for supporters to witness three successive victories at the Aviva against quality European opposition is something none of them will ever forget.

The challenge now is to attempt to put all of that firmly out of mind as Long’s side look to claw back lost ground on the chasing pack as they aim to qualify for Europe once more.

That will be easier said than done as they face Sligo Rovers, who are seven points ahead of them in third place.

Liam Buckley’s men, despite being on a bad run currently, have had Bohs’ number this season too with a 3-1 win at Dalymount Park in April and a 4-0 win at the Showgrounds in June.

Long said: “We want to play in European competition, it is very important for the progression and direction of the club that we learn from nights like Thursday.

“Everybody has enjoyed the journey in Europe. Now we have to get back to basics domestically and make sure we get back into Europe next season.

“We are good enough, the squad is good enough. We have to try and bounce back now. We can’t let a set-back set us back any further.

“We have dropped points now after European games against Longford and Waterford already so cannot dwell too much on Thursday.

“We are playing Sligo, a team we haven’t beaten yet this season, and a team that is a competitor of ours looking for a European spot.

“We have to refocus, rechannel our energies and get the team as motivated as we possibly can.”

Long and his players are keen to deliver for the supporters too. That much is clear from his comments on Thursday night.

Speaking shortly after the game, Long said: “The supporters have been absolutely unbelievable for us, particularly in the Aviva Stadium where we have been able to get them back in their numbers.

“The support that they have given the team has been absolutely fantastic and it is appreciated by everybody and it is not lost on us.

“We have given the supporters a little bit of hope and we don’t want to take that away from them. We want to give them belief in this team and we want to make sure that we are right back where we want to be next year and that’s in European competition.

“We have lots of targets and objectives still to meet. There is plenty of the season still to play for. There are a lot of games to play, and there is plenty to be won and lost.

“Our number one objective is to bounce back against Sligo.”

Reflecting on Thursday’s defeat immediately afterwards was no mean feat, but Long was brutally honest in his initial assessment.

He said: “We had every chance to go through. When we analyse the game and look back on our performance, we gave away two bad goals.

“Yes we were playing against top quality players, worth a lot of money. But we are disappointed with the goals we conceded and the chances that we gave away.

“We are disappointed we didn’t progress. We can’t defend like we did in key moments against a team of PAOK’s ability.

“In the second half we had two really good chances to get back into the game which would have really changed the atmosphere in the stadium and perhaps the outcome of the game.

“For all the talk the head didn’t affect us too much, our fitness levels were good but ultimately we didn’t take the game to extra time.

“Overall, ultimately as a collective, we are going to look back and feel we lacked a bit of belief in ourselves to win the tie.

“We can look back in the future with a bit of pride with how we have played over the campaign, but we had chances ourselves and we will look back at it as a missed opportunity too.”

The challenge for Long and his team now is to make sure they are in the hat for further opportunities in European competition next season.

TEAM NEWS

Stephen Mallon (hip) returned for a role off the bench against PAOK on Thursday. But Promise Omochere (quad) remains out, while Ciarán Kelly is unavailable.

PREVIEW: Waterford v Bohemians

SSE Airtricity League
Saturday August 7 2021
The RSC, 2pm
Live on LOITV

While fans might be looking ahead to Thursday’s Europa Conference League qualifier return leg away to PAOK in Greece, Bohemians players have pushed that out of their thinking and are fully focused on getting a result in Waterford today.

Tyreke Wilson has enjoyed a healthy battle for the left-back berth this season with Anto Breslin -. the duo push each other all the way.

When it comes to the Europa Conference League games, Wilson got the nod for the first two games against Stjarnan, but Breslin has been the starter for the past three since.

Like everyone in this Bohemians squad, however, Wilson is a real team player.

He came on against PAOK on Thursday for the final few minutes and, after that whetting of the appetite, is hoping he will get another opportunity to display what he is capable of against his former club Waterford at the RSC today.

Wilson said: “It was a great feeling on Tuesday. We fully respected them but we had our own game-plan and we stuck to it.

“We said before the game that we had to focus on our own performance and we did that. We are going over there with something to play for but we are not getting carried away.”

That is about as much as Tyreke or any Bohs player wants to talk about Thursday’s game at this stage.

Having dropped points against Longford Town the last time a league game was sandwiched between a European tie, they do not want to leave anything to chance.

Wilson said: “Whatever team Keith puts out, we have players in every position who are determined to go out and get the right performance to get the right result.

“If Keith makes changes, it is up to everyone who is given an opportunity to seize it. It is not going to be an easy game. Waterford are a much-improved side from the team we played earlier in the season.

“They have won their last four games, so they are one of the form teams in the league at the moment.”

As well as wanting to deliver on the pitch, Wilson is delivering off it too.

He said: “Yeah! I started with An Post a few weeks ago as a postman and I am really enjoying it.

“I’ve clocked up some mileage over the last few weeks! It has given me a better routine too.

“With us training in the evening, you can fall into bad habits during the day so I am enjoying the discipline of having to get up early and having that routine. I think it’s good for me and I am enjoying it so far.”

Manager Keith Long echoed the need to focus fully on today’s game and to push out any distractions thinking ahead to Thursday.

Long said: “We said at the end of the game on Tuesday that our focus had to shift to Waterford.

“The boys came off the pitch on Tuesday full of adrenaline. They were pleased. But that is over now and we cannot dwell on that too much.

“That might sound boring when people are getting excited about European games, but we want more nights like we had on Tuesday. That doesn’t happen unless our league form is looked after.

“Waterford have made significant changes over the past month or so, and they have won their last four games, so we are in for a real game and we need to deliver a big performance.”

TEAM NEWS

Promise Omochere (quad) and Stephen Mallon (hip) are doubts.

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