Preview: Bohemians v St Patrick’s Athletic

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
SSE Airtricity League
Saturday April 3 2021, 6pm
Live on WatchLOI.ie

Keith Long has urged his Bohemians side to show their mettle after they shot themselves in the foot in the opening two games of the season.

There was plenty to be encouraged about by both performances but the Gypsies will be kicking themselves with just one point to show for their efforts.

In the season opener a fortnight ago away to Finn Harps, Bohs had by far the more chances to win the game but a defensive error in the first half was punished by Adam Foley who was allowed in one-on-one with James Talbot to score the only goal of the game.

But last week’s collapse was altogether more frustrating. Bohs were 2-0 ahead against Longford Town at Dalymount Park at half-time thanks to goals from Georgie Kelly and the lively Ross Tierney.

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In reality, the interval lead could have more than double that such were the opportunities the home side created in an exciting first half performance, and Bohs continued to dominate proceedings until the 65th minute or so.

Ultimately, it was another unfortunate lapse in concentration that turned this game on its head – Bohs’ efforts to clear the ball from a dangerous position were too casual, which allowed Longford Town supersub Conor Davis in to claw one back.

From a position of being outplayed for much of the game, Longford’s tails were up and they sensed blood – and it was Davis again who swooped in at the back post to claim a share of the spoils for the visitors.

Long said: “Tomorrow’s game is a chance now for us to show our mettle. There is no doubt that we are all disappointed with our results and performances in the opening two games and there would be no better way to get our season fully up and running with a win against St Pat’s.

“We squandered a two-goal lead last week despite having the better of the play for most of the game. We should have been a goal or two more to the good before conceding the first goal.

“We looked nervous after that and Longford to their credit took advantage. We will need to improve and it is important that we do not come away from the values that have served us well in recent seasons.

“It will take time for new players coming to a new club with different demands being placed on them but the basics of the game remain the same, and need to be respected.

“There have been some positives in the form of Ross Tierney over the opening two games and it was great for Georgie Kelly to open his account for the club – on another day he could have had a hat-trick.”

Bohs will be aiming to build on those signs of encouragement when Stephen O’Donnell’s Saints come to Dalymount Park.

St Pat’s have started well with four points from their opening to games – a draw away to Shamrock Rovers on opening night and a win at home to Drogheda United last Saturday.

Long added: “We know it will be very difficult against a Pat’s side who will be brimming with confidence after their last-minute winner against Drogheda last week.

“But we understand the task ahead. Our focus is on trying to win the game. We must do the basics well, work hard, be aggressive and function as a team. If we can do that we will give ourselves a chance to win.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without Stephen Mallon (metatarsal) and Promise Omochere (knee).

Conor Levingston (calf) and Bradley Rolt (hamstring) are back in contention.

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v TREATY UNITED

BOHEMIANS v TREATY UNITED

Saturday March 27
Oscar Traynor Centre, 2pm

Bohemians took their first baby steps in the senior Women’s National League in 2020 and are looking to build on that this season.

Bohs have been playing catch-up to give women’s football the platform and attention it deserves as securing the very existence of the club took priority for much of the last decade.

But great strides have been made in recent seasons – talented and dedicated volunteers and coaches built a girls section from scratch in 2017, which now has eight grassroots girls teams up to U18 level.

The next step was entering our first WNL U17 team at the beginning of 2019 before making history in our 130th year by entering the senior Women’s National League for the first time in 2020. Bohemians will have a third WNL team this year with the creation of the U19 WNL.

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The senior squad, managed by Seán Byrne, was hastily assembled last season after the club’s application to join the WNL was belatedly accepted.

It was the first part of a building process he hopes will grow further this season as Bohs aim towards being the club of choice for women footballers in this country.

While they finished bottom of the table last term, they did so with one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the league.

It was a tough learning curve but one he hopes will stand to them this season.

Tomorrow, they host Treaty United, who finished one place and four points above them last season, at Oscar Traynor.

Byrne said: “This is a very strong league with the likes of Peamount, Shelbourne and Wexford ahead of the rest last year.

“We are one of four clubs in Dublin – UCD Waves have strengthened too – and our team is still very young.

“It is a long process to get up to those standards – we still have a lot of building to do. But the experience they had last season will stand to them.

“We have to be realistic but we want to build an environment where our players can fulfil their potential.

“We had a very young team but the likes of Chloe Darby, Abbie Brophy, Ciara Mulligan and others were thrown in at the deep end and showed what they are capable of.”

Bohs’ ranks have been bolstered by new arrivals: Goalkeeper Niamh Coombes, defenders Erica Byrne, Claire Conlon, Jade Reddy, defender/midfielder Isobel Finnegan and striker Naima Chemaou.

Byrne added: “We are happy that the players that we have brought in will add quality to the team. We are hoping to do well.

“They are good additions, Chemaou was with Peamount and an underage international. Erica played gaelic football for Kildare last year, switched codes last year and has looked excellent in pre-season.

“Jade is an underage international who has come in from Peamount, and Isobel is another ex-underage international who has returned from the US.

“We have the benefit of the U19 League starting this year too which will help with bringing players through by bridging the gap between U17s and senior football, and giving us an opportunity to give game-time to young players on the fringes of the team.”

Midfielder Sophie Watters, joint captain with defender Chloe Flynn this season, is already seeing a difference in the competition for places in the team this season.

The Dundalk woman said: “Last season, we were late coming into the league as a club, so we were late coming together as a team.

“We were young and maybe a little bit naive. We feel we can improve now with last season under our belts.

“With the new players coming in, you can already see the difference in training already – we have really good competition for places and we are all pushing each other.

“As a team we are going to try our best to improve on last season – we want to concede fewer goals and score more, and hopefully build from there.”

Prior to Watters’ stint with Crusaders in the north, her previous stint in the league here was with Shelbourne.

She believes the league, and women’s football in general, has come on leaps and bounds in that period.

She added: “You can definitely see that the profile within the three years since then has improved so much.

“The standard within the league keeps getting better and better, and the profile is growing too, with the live streaming this season adding to that.

“It is an exciting time to be a part of it.”

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v LONGFORD TOWN

BOHEMIANS v LONGFORD TOWN
Saturday March 27 2021
Dalymount Park, 4pm

Keith Long believes he has brought in players of the right character and quality to succeed at Bohemians.

Bohs had a disappointing start to the season last weekend when a defensive error allowed Adam Foley in the 38th minute to give Finn Harps all three points in Ballybofey.

It was a frustrating night for the Gypsies who were on top for long periods and had the lion’s share of goal-scoring opportunities with Georgie Kelly, Ross Tierney and Liam Burt all going close.

Prior to the game, vice-captain Rob Cornwall warned that, with nine new rivals this season, it would take time for the team to gel.

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Four of those started in Ballybofey with full debuts handed to Rory Feely, Ali Coote, Liam Burt and Georgie Kelly, while Thomas Oluwa was introduced in the second half.

And Long believes that the more competitive games they play together, the more cohesion we will see, as they look to get back to winning ways against newly-promoted Longford Town, who will come into the game confident after their opening night 2-0 win over Derry City.

Long said: “The relative stability of last season has been replaced this year with change.

“To finish second last season, qualifying for Europe for the second year running with the youngest team in the country is evidence that we are making progress.

“We try to look at change as a positive and an opportunity but there is no doubt that we lost some key players from last year, which are not so easy to replace.

“Time will tell, but we hope we have recruited well and brought the right characters to the club. It takes a certain type to fill a Bohs jersey and it will squeeze out those that look for shortcuts.

“But with nine new players in a squad it will take time for them to settle in. Pre-season went reasonably well but only competitive games can bring cohesion to a team.”

As well as the five who featured in Ballybofey last Saturday, Tyreke Wilson, Bastien Héry, Bradley Rolt and Stephen Mallon, who is currently sidelined, have yet to be thrown into the mix.

Long said: “Of the new players coming into the club, we have looked to try and strengthen all areas of the team if possible.

“Sometimes that can be difficult in this league and replacing so many key players can be an exhausting process but, as in many other seasons before, we hope that we have brought players to the club that can help us improve.”

As well as the new recruits, Long has also promoted from within.

He said: “We have made progress at academy level with Bohs-SKB with eight of our high potential young players signing their first professional contracts at the club.

“It is important for me as manager to have the ability to look within and I believe we have an exciting crop of young players coming through – that extends to some of the players that we currently have in our system not on professional contracts.”

While there has been a lot to be positive over the closed season as the club strengthens for the future, the continued but necessary absence of supporters from stadiums continues to simultaneously frustrate and motivate Long and his players.

He added: “We cannot forget the suffering that people have gone through in this pandemic with the loss of so many loved ones to this horrible virus, with the real toll on our society yet to be seen.

“But, in my view, football is the most important of the least important things. It is our promise that we will try and represent our club and its people as best we can on the pitch until such a time as we can get supporters back into grounds and filling out Dalymount once more.

“It is different, it is not the same, and is almost unnatural to a degree not having them behind us. We understand and are cognisant of how lucky we are to be in a position to do what we love.

“But I long for the day we see supporters, families, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, back where they belong – in Dalymount wearing the red and black of our great club.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without Stephen Mallon (metatarsal) and Promise Omochere (knee).

Conor Levingston (calf) and Bradley Rolt (hamstring) have both trained well and could come into the reckoning.

Neither Andy Lyons nor Dawson Devoy featured for the Ireland U21s in Wales today so they may be included also.

“We do not want our season to be over tonight”

Preview: BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final
Friday November 20 2020, Dalymount, 7.45pm
RTÉ 2 and WatchLOI
Audio Described Commentary: access4all.bohemians.ie

Keith Long wants to repay the dedication of Bohemians supporters when Dundalk are the visitors to Dalymount Park for our final home game of 2020 tonight.

A place in the last four of the Extra.ie FAI Cup away to Athlone Town is the prize on offer to the winners of this evening’s game.

Long said: “The club and supporters have been immense this year. With all the uncertainty that surrounds us, the club has stood strong beside the team and supported its people.

“We also know fans are watching the games from home and are behind the team. We would love nothing more to be playing tonight in front of a packed Dalymount.

“Having no supporters has been a real challenge but I hope wherever you are tonight watching the game that we can make you proud to be a Bohemian.

“We do not want our season to be over tonight and the players I can assure you we will do everything to win and progress to a semi-final.”

That is easier said than done. While Dundalk have faltered this season, they are still a side oozing trophy winners.

But Bohs can take confidence by their second-place finish this season – their highest in a decade and one ahead of the Lilywhites, as well as the fact they have taken four points from the sides’ two meetings this year.

Long added: “Dundalk are a high quality side and they provide a big obstacle in our bid to get to a semi-final.

“I have great admiration for the consistency of Dundalk over the last six or seven seasons and despite not quite performing to the standards of recent seasons this year, they are still a very good side with many top quality players.

“All form as we know goes out the window in the cup and there is no doubt we will have to be at our very best tonight in order to progress.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without Anto Breslin (suspended) and Andy Lyons (arm). Keith Ward (Achilles) is a doubt.

Danny Grant and Danny Mandroiu are available having been away with the Ireland U21 squad last week.

“We want to finish the league campaign on a high”

St Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians
SSE Airtricity League
Monday November 9 2020, Richmond Park, 7.30pm
Live on WatchLOI

Bohemians head into their final league game of the season tonight with second place and European football long secured.

It has been 16 days since the team’s last game, but that time has allowed one of the club’s key performers this season recover from injury.

Rob Cornwall is expected to wear the captain’s armband this evening in the absence of the suspended Keith Buckley.

The centre-back, who has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in the 3-0 win over Cork City a month ago, said: “I’ve been training for the last few weeks, so I am looking forward to hopefully getting back out on to the pitch tonight.

“It was the same injury that I got out in the game in Hungary. On both occasions they were impact injuries so there is not a lot you can do to prevent that.”

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With other first-team regulars unavailable, the 26-year-old’s experience could prove invaluable to what is the youngest team in the league and 21st youngest top-flight team in Europe.

Cornwall joined four years ago as a 22-year-old but the retirements of the likes of Shane Supple, Ian Morris and Derek Pender in recent seasons have seen him become one of the more senior members of the squad sooner than he anticipated.

He said: “It feels weird being considered one of the older lads in the team now – some of them probably think I’m older than I am because of all my grey hair!

“With Bucko out tonight, it’s a chance for us to step up – not just me but other players too. There are leaders across the team.”

With five players ruled out through injury or suspension, it is also a chance for others perhaps frustrated by their lack of game-time to make their case for a starting place in Friday week’s FAI Cup quarter-final against Dundalk, but Cornwall said nobody is looking that far ahead.

He said: “We are not looking ahead to the Dundalk game yet.

“It’s very much all about tonight. Inchicore is a hard place to go at the best of times and St Pat’s are a good team. We’re fully focused on that and trying to get three points – we want to finish the league campaign on a high.”

Just over a year ago, Bohs headed to the same venue against the same opposition needing a point to guarantee European football for the first time in eight years.

Under the cosh for much of the game, Keith Long’s men held out for a 0-0 draw. In the era of games being played behind closed doors, the post-match scenes that followed are a distant memory but Cornwall insists fans still motivate the side every time they take to the pitch.

He added: “We all remember the scenes out there last season – James Talbot’s save, the ball being cleared off the line, and what it meant to the fans when the final whistle went.

“It’s been a strange year not being able to celebrate games with fans, but we are still spurred on in the knowledge that they are cheering us on from home, and we live in hope that next season we’ll be able to have fans back with us again sooner rather than later.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without captain Keith Buckley and Anto Breslin (both suspended) as well as Andy Lyons (arm), Danny Mandroiu (groin) and Keith Ward (Achilles).

Vice captain Rob Cornwall (ankle) and Dan Casey (head) both return, while Evan Ferguson and Gavin O’Brien have been promoted from the Bohs-SKB U17s.

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