“THE LADS HAVE COME BACK DETERMINED TO PUSH FORWARD”

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
SSE Airtricity League
Friday June 29, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long believes Bohemians are back from the mid-season break refreshed and determined to put on a performance in front of their home fans.

The Gypsies went into the brief break on the back of two defeats, but two contrasting performances.

A 2-0 loss in what was a frustrating display at home to Derry City three weeks ago was followed up with a much-improved outing away to champions Cork City a week later.

But, agonisingly, Long’s side ended up empty-handed again after a last-gasp winner for John Caulfield’s team.

Long said: “I thought we were very good in Cork. It was necessary that we put in a performance after we felt we let ourselves down against Derry.

“We were very unlucky down in Cork. We had a goal disallowed and a one cleared off the line.

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“Conceding so late in the game was very disappointing. But overall it was a good performance.

“If we play like that every week, we will be fine. But we all know we have to be more consistent.”

While Long was disappointed with some recent results, opposite number Liam Buckley will also be frustrated with his side’s recent form, which has seen them drop into the bottom half of the table.

But Long is only concerned with improving the form of his own team, which has been buoyed by the return to fitness of Darragh Leahy and Karl Moore.

Long said: “The break has maybe come at a good time for St Pat’s too as they’d lost five in a row before that.

“But we can only focus on ourselves. Our lads have gone away for a few days and they’re back determined and with a renewed energy to push forward.

“We know we have to be better on the pitch. But everyone is back looking forward to that challenge. They’re chomping at the bit.

“With the league going to ten teams this year, this was always going to be tough.

“Other clubs have increased budgets exponentially. We knew it was going to be a challenging season.

“But we’re not going to shy away from that challenge – we’re looking forward to it.”

As Irish temperatures today soared to 30 degrees again today, Long hopes football fans will take advantage of the first break day in the World Cup to come along to Dalymount for a Dublin derby.

He added: “It’s going to be a great evening for football. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd in early.

“We want to give our fans something to shout about and repay the faith they’ve shown in us.

“Our home form has let us down at times and that’s something we are striving to put right.”

Darragh Leahy (knee), Karl Moore (ankle) and Colin McCabe (shoulder) are all available for selection once more.

Cristian Magerusan, out with a broken metatarsal since pre-season, played 45 minutes and scored for the U19s in a friendly against Glentoran on Saturday as he continues his recovery.

Ryan Swan (cruciate) remains out.

“We can’t shy away from where we are”

​CORK CITY v BOHEMIANS
Friday June 15 2018, Turner’s Cross, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians they need more than fighting spirit to steer clear of danger this season.

A below-par performance in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Derry City leaves the Gypsies in seventh place, three points above the play-off zone.

Things don’t get any easier as they travel to Turner’s Cross to face top-of-the-table Cork City.

Long said: “Cork is a very tough place to go. We’re playing against the champions and they’re a really strong side.

“It was a disappointing performance last Friday and a tough defeat to take.

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“But we’re not going down feeling sorry for ourselves – we’re going down with the aim of getting something from the game.”

Bohs’ fighting spirit this season has been rightly lauded.

They have come from behind to earn points seven times – three wins (Shamrock Rovers twice and Bray) and four draws (Limerick twice, St Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers).

But last Friday it was too little, too late. JJ Lunney’s 86th-minute goal gave the Gypsies a sniff of snatching a point.

But the damage was already done in the first half when Derry scored twice in the space of three minutes and Bohs struggled to get back into the game thereafter.

Such defensive frailties have seen the Gypsies fall behind in games far too often for Long’s liking.

He said: “We can’t shy away from where we are.

“We need to be better from the start and stop giving ourselves an uphill battle in every game

“We’ve been praised for our fighting spirit this season but people who went to Dalymount last week would not have seen that from us.

“We need to build on having a never-say-die attitude anyway. We have to become more difficult to play against and stop conceding.

“If we keep things tight at the back, we’re in completely different territory. We have a chance of nicking a goal and getting a result.”

TEAM NEWS

Both Darragh Leahy (knee) and Karl Moore (ankle) are back training but this game will come too soon for them.

They are targeting a return after the mid-season break when St Patrick’s Athletic come to Dalymount Park on June 29.

Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

“We have to play to our maximum”

BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
Friday June 8 2018, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians they need to be at the top of their game when Derry City come to Dalymount Park tomorrow.

Early-season form has deserted the Candystripes of late and they have won just once in their last eight league games.

But given Bohs’ record against Derry in recent seasons, they cannot afford to take them lightly.

Long said: “They’ve done well against us but that doesn’t come into it, it’s all about tomorrow night’s game.

“We know we have to be at our very best against a good team with good players. We have to play to our maximum in order for us to win the game.

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“They are fourth in the table for a reason and will come to Dalymount confident despite their recent run.”

Bohs come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw in Limerick last week.

The Gypsies struggled to get a hold of the game in the first half and had goalkeeper Shane Supple to thank for keeping the score down to 1-0 at half-time.

But the introduction of Paddy Kirk at left-back and Ian Morris moving to midfield after the break settled things down and Dan Casey’s third goal of the season saw them earn a point.

Long said: “Limerick really was a game of two halves. They’ll feel they should have been further ahead going in at the break.

“We changed things around at half-time and the balance of the team was better.

“We could have stolen the game in the end but we were disappointed with the first-half performance.”

Long was more enthused by the midweek display of his young guns against a strong Dundalk side in the Leinster Senior Cup, however.

On Tuesday night, an experimental Bohs side, which contained six players (Ali Reghba, Danny Grant, Dylan Thornton, Luke Nolan, Mitch Byrne and Steven Nolan) starting the Leaving Cert the following day, gave a good account of themselves, taking the lead before eventually losing out 3-1.

Long added: “It was a brilliant performance for what was, with the exception of JJ Lunney, Paddy Kirk and Rob Manley, effectively an U19 team against a Dundalk side that had experienced first-teamers players.

“They were excellent for 60 minutes but just ran out of legs.

“We suffer by not having a reserve league to bridge that gap between U19 and Premier Division football, so we have to use games like these to test players.

“The game was played at a tempo they wouldn’t be used to at U19 level so it was a great opportunity to expose them to a team of Dundalk’s calibre.

“They coped well and the experience will stand to them in their development as players.”

TEAM NEWS

Oscar Brennan (suspension) and Keith Buckley (groin) return.

Colin McCabe (shoulder), Karl Moore (ankle), Darragh Leahy (knee), Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

“We’re positive going into another big game”

LIMERICK v BOHEMIANS
SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE
Markets Field, Friday June 1 2018, 7.45pm

Bohemians go to Markets Field tomorrow positive, refreshed and determined to put some distance between themselves and Limerick in the table.

A late goal against Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park last week saw them extend their unbeaten run in the Dublin derby to four games.

Having fallen behind in the 82nd minute, Rob Cornwall’s leveller two minutes from time saw the Gypsies salvage a point from a game they did not deserve to lose.

Manager Keith Long said: “There wasn’t a huge amount between the sides. It wasn’t a game of great quality but we dug it out after going a goal down.

“We would have felt aggrieved had we not got something out of it. It means we’re positive going into another big game this weekend.”

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Against Tommy Barrett’s Limerick, Bohs face a side just three points behind them – albeit they have played a game more – and who they have already drawn with twice this season.

Long said: “The table doesn’t lie. There has been very little between ourselves and them, although we were a bit frustrated we didn’t go on and win it when they came to Dalymount.

“It’s a big game for us. We want to extend the distance between us and the teams below us.”

This is the third Friday running that Bohs have finally been able to settle into the normal routine of one game a week.

It’s a far cry from earlier in the season, which saw Long’s side play eight midweek fixtures in all competitions in a bizarrely front-loaded fixture list.

Long said: “It was a talking point for managers throughout the league. Fatigue and lack of recovery time all added up.

“But we’ve had a nice settled run and routine now the last three weeks. We’ve had another good week’s training now and a clear run focused on tomorrow’s game.

“The heavy schedule affected our team selections.

“You have players – the likes of Rob Cornwall with his back – who have ongoing niggles who can’t always play Friday, Monday, Friday, Monday.

“We lost our captain Derek Pender to injury because of the amount of games we were playing too.

“That was a massive loss. I made him captain when I came to the club and he’s captain for a reason. We missed his leadership on the pitch while he was out.

“But he’s back now. He was pushing for a start last week. He was desperate to play but I didn’t want to be killing him! He’s certainly in contention again tomorrow.”

In Detser’s place, Shane Supple has worn the captain’s armband.

The goalkeeper has had a busy week having been called up for Ireland’s friendly games against France last Monday and the USA this Saturday.

He didn’t see any game-time in Paris but Long is hopeful the 31-year-old will be rewarded against the States in the Aviva Stadium in two days’ time.

Long added: “Shane is pleased with how he’s got on in training and in training games. You’d like to think he will get a chance to show what he can do.

“It’s possible that our game in Limerick will be in the thoughts of Martin O’Neill.

“But goalkeeper is a specialist position. He’s not running around the place.

“Playing 90 minutes the night before is not going to overly affect his ability to play again on Saturday evening.

“I’m sure the Ireland management team have seen his qualities.

“They will do what they feel is right, but obviously all of us at Bohemians would love to see him play. He deserves that recognition.”

TEAM NEWS

Oscar Brennan misses out through suspension.

Derek Pender (calf), who returned to the matchday squad last week, could replace Keith Buckley (groin) who is a doubt.

Colin McCabe (shoulder), Karl Moore (ankle), Darragh Leahy (knee), Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

“Our attitude, our discipline and our desire has got to be right. If it is, we have a good chance.”

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
Dalymount Park, Friday May 25 2018, 7.45pm

MATCH SPONSORS: Community Credit Union – serving Dublin 7 & 15
MATCHBALL SPONSORS: Hedigan’s, The Brian Boru

The build-up at both Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers to this week’s Dublin derby has unusually been dominated by talk of Ireland call-ups.

For a fixture that tends to generate considerable hype as it is, it’s unchartered territory for both camps.

Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers did enough in his appearance for the Ireland XI against Celtic in Scott Brown’s testimonial last week to convince Martin O’Neill he was worthy of a place in the squad for a full international.

Likewise, when O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane came to Dalymount to see Bohs face Dundalk last Friday, he was suitably impressed by goalkeeper Shane Supple’s performance to believe he too merited a call-up for Monday’s friendly away to France and Saturday’s friendly against the USA at the Aviva Stadium.

Both players are available for tomorrow’s game but given the pressures and attention that derby weeks bring, rival managers Keith Long and Stephen Bradley could be forgiven for thinking the call-ups are an unwanted distraction.

But Long won’t entertain such a suggestion.

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It’s nearly nine years since a Bohs player last received an Ireland call-up.

Coincidentally it was also a goalkeeper and coincidentally it was also against France as Brian Murphy hooked up with Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for both legs of that infamous World Cup play-off.

You have to go back even further to 2003 for the last time a Bohemians player received game-time in an Ireland shirt.

Brian Kerr handed Glen Crowe the second of his two senior caps off the bench against Norway at Lansdowne Road after the striker made his debut as a starter under caretaker boss Don Givens, assisted by Bohs legend Billy Young, five months previously away to Greece.

Long said: “It hasn’t been a hindrance to us in the run-up to tomorrow’s game. The call-ups are a pleasant surprise for both clubs, particularly in the week leading up to the derby.

“We see Shane’s quality week in week out. We feel it’s a deserved accolade for him. He is an extremely level-headed bloke and he wouldn’t allow it to become a distraction.”

For Supple to be on the verge of international recognition at 31 years of age is remarkable.

His journey has been well-documented: Regular starter at Ipswich Town in the Championship, returning home to concentrate on his GAA career with St Brigid’s and Dublin, returning to soccer with Crumlin United, signing for Bohs 18 months ago and, as recently as last month, deciding to quit GAA to focus on his soccer career once more.

Long said: “You could say he’s had a journey, a back catalogue… a story to tell!

“We were delighted to be able to sign him when we did. He’s a natural leader and a massive figure around the club.

“Shane was destined for a career in the UK and walked away from it of his own accord.

“The likelihood is international recognition could have come his way a long time ago.

“So this is great for him. At 31 years of age playing in the League of Ireland, it doesn’t happen that often. We are all delighted for him.”

But all talk of Ireland recognition will be put to one side as Dublin’s great rivals come head to head at Dalymount Park tomorrow night.

The Gypsies have had the bragging rights the last three times the sides have met, yet Long is keen to hammer home once more that previous victories count for nothing.

He said: “I watched Rovers against St Pat’s on Wednesday. They looked very strong and have some good players on form.

“Previous games and results between us don’t matter tomorrow.

“They’ve shown they are capable of getting result against anyone in the league so we have to be at our very best.

“Our attitude, our discipline and our desire has got to be right. If it is, we have a good chance.”

Bohs are buoyed by the return of Derek Pender to the squad.

Supple has worn the captain’s armband in recent months in Pender’s absence. But the man of the moment could be forced to surrender that if Long deems his skipper ready to start.

Long said: “Derek’s in the squad tomorrow. It’s great to have him back as he is a leader and a quality player.

“He’s missed a full series of game and had a couple of set-backs along the way when he was nearing return.

“That was frustrating for him and frustrating for us but hopefully we’ll have him for the rest of the season.”

Bohs come into this game on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Dundalk.

Long watched that from the stands as he served a one-match ban for being sent off against Waterford last month.

He added: “We were reasonably pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result.

“We had chances and if we’d taken them, it could have been a different game.

“Dundalk are that bit more experienced and clinical.

“But there were positives to take from it. Paddy Kirk, who came through our U19s, making his first start and he was there on merit.

“He’s been knocking on the door for a while now and he stood up for the challenge.

“It wasn’t a token gesture. It’s a justified reward for his attitude and hard work.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender (calf) returns.

Colin McCabe (shoulder), Darragh Leahy (knee), Karl Moore (ankle), Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal), Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

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