“A MOMENT OF MADNESS OR A MOMENT OF GENIUS”

CORK CITY v BOHEMIANS
FAI Ford Cup Rd 3, Turner’s Cross, Friday 22 August,  7.45pm

Bohemians go to Cork with a draw and a win this season against Friday’s FAI Cup opponents. And they go determined to crown this league record with a victory that would take them into the last eight of the cup.

Manager Owen Heary says his team takes confidence from the results against Cork. “But, on the other side, Cork will be well up for it, particularly as we beat them in Dalymount.

“They’re a good team, a strong, physical team. They’re up at the top of the table on merit and they will have massive support down there.

“But cup games can go any way. They can be decided by a moment of madness or a moment of genius.”

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Heary insists his side is not one to play for a draw and a replay – not least because Bohemians face a very busy league programme with two postponed matches to be rescheduled.

“We’re part-time, with a lot of lads who work night-times or early mornings. It’s going to be Friday and Monday games for a while and we’ve a lot of tough games coming up.”

The postponement of Monday’s league match brought no gain to Bohemians, said Heary.

“We were looking forward to the game. The players were ready to go, particularly after the result on Friday [2-1 against Drogheda United]. They were well set up for the game.

“I’m sure we would have given them a good game and possibly come away with the points.”

However, the extra days without a match have given defender Derek Pender more time to recover from a bout of flu, and striker Dinny Corcoran more time to recover from a knock received last Friday.

Steven Beattie is available for the Cork cup-tie, although his sending-off against Drogheda United rules him out of the next two league games. He will return to right-back in the absence of Anto Murphy (ankle injury), while Pender moves to left back. Roberto Lopes is suspended (yellow cards) and Jack Memery is still tied up with college exams.

Heary says his squad is training like a group of players who sense they can get something tangible from the season, whether it’s qualification for the Setanta Cup or an FAI Cup winner’s medal, or even both.

“The cup is important for us. We got beaten in the semi-final of another competition. If we can finish on a cup final this year, it will be a tremendous achievement.

“But we don’t want to be just a cup team. If we win our two league games in hand, we will shoot up the table.

“If we do get to the cup final, it could be a passage to Europe and it’s a medal for the players. That has to be an incentive for the players, that they have something in the hand at the end of the season to show for their hard work.”

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

“WE’LL CONCENTRATE ON TRYING TO GET THREE POINTS”

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Monday 18 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians’ derby with Shamrock Rovers brings the first clash between Owen Heary and Pat Fenlon as managers. The two fought side-by-side over many years for Bohemians and Shelbourne. Now, they are scrapping for points from each other, writes BRIAN TRENCH.

Heary expects his old boss to bring a winning mentality to his new charges. “Pat is a winner in my eyes. He’ll look to get European football at least and maybe to get his hands on a trophy.

“He’s the best manager around and he will make it a tough test for us.”

Bohemians come to Monday’s game looking for their third successive home win in the league. Friday’s 2-1 victory over Drogheda United was “definitely deserved”, according to Heary.

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“We had a few chances that we missed but we won with two very good goals and, more importantly, we got the three points.”

The goal-scorers, Karl Moore and Jason Byrne (pictured), had been on the bench more often than starting in recent weeks, and Heary is delighted how they and Dave Mulcahy took their responsibilities when they were called up.

“They’re three experienced players and it was great to see how they stepped up to the plate.”

The EA Sports Cup tie two weeks ago, when Shamrock Rovers beat Bohemians 2-0 at Dalymount, has little bearing on Monday’s match, Heary believes.

“It will be a totally different game, with different teams out. We’ll put that earlier result out of our minds. That was a cup game, a one-off, and we’ll concentrate on trying to get the three points.”

Those points would help bring Bohemians towards a finishing position in the top half of the league. “If we win and other results go for us we’re right back in the hunt for a Setanta Cup spot, and that’s the aim for us for the rest of the season,” said Heary.

But Bohemians are struggling with injuries and suspensions, particularly affecting their defence. Anto Murphy (ankle) is likely to be out for 6-7 weeks. Derek Pender was battling flu when he played on Friday and Steven Beattie, who was drafted into the back line on Friday, is suspended following his sending-off. Left-back Jack Memery is ruled out due to exams.

Roberto Lopes is suspended for accumulated yellow cards. However, his midfield partner of recent weeks, Eoin Wearen, returns from his one-match suspension. Dinny Corcoran took a knock against Drogheda United, but should be fit for selection.

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

A CHANCE FOR PLAYERS TO ‘STEP UP’

BOHEMIANS v DROGHEDA UTD
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 15th August, 7.45pm

Bohemians are looking to break a winless and goal-less streak of three games when they welcome a rejuvenated Drogheda United to Dalymount Park on Friday night, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

The Boynesiders have been revitalised by the appointment of League of Ireland veteran Damien Richardson, and Bohs boss Owen Heary is expecting a stern test. “I expect a tough, physical game,” he said. “But I’m sure that we can respond after a good performance last week and try get the win.”

Drogs have frustrated the Gypsies this season. In March, Bohs squandered a two-goal lead and conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 in Dalymount. In May, Heary’s side conceded against the run of play for an unlucky 1-0 defeat at Hunky Dorys Park.

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Heary said: “We dominated the game up there in May, had loads of chances, but they got the goal. Obviously with Eoin Wearen and Anto Murphy out, other players have a chance to step up and fight for a place in the team.”

After doing all-but score against UCD last Friday, Heary believes the team just need a bit of luck as they strive for a second home league win of the season. “We played very well, but just didn’t take our chances. The longer the game went on, the more frustrated we got in front of goal.

“These things happen in games – the positive thing is we kept a clean sheet – but we were still disappointed that we didn’t take our chances and win the game comfortably. ”

The Bohs manager is hoping his side can find confidence in front of goal after a difficult period in which his side drew blanks against Derry (0-4), Shamrock Rovers (0-2), and the Students (0-0).

“We’ll keep plugging away. We’ve proved earlier in the season that we can score goals. The good thing is that we are creating chances (as against UCD), so hopefully we can take a few and come away with the three points on Friday.”

Despite the difficult run, Heary has been pleased with the support from the fans, who have been extremely positive throughout the season. “The fans have been great. Although it’s a totally different atmosphere (away to UCD), they saw we were dominating the game and I think they were happy that we were just unfortunate in front of goal and that was it.”

Bohs will have to plan without in-form midfielder Eoin Wearen, who is suspended after picking up four yellow cards. Also unavailable is Anto Murphy, who dislocated his ankle against UCD. Heary is hopeful that a scan today (Thursday) will reveal no ligament damage, and clear Anto to return in six weeks.

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

“WE HAVE TO BOUNCE BACK TOGETHER”

UCD v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, UCD Bowl, Friday 8th August, 7.45pm

Owen Heary is hoping his Bohemians team can get ‘back to basics’ following two disappointing Bank Holiday weekend defeats. A 4-0 league loss to Derry was shadowed by a disappointing 2-0 EA Sports Cup semi-final defeat to bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers, but manager Heary believes the Gypsies can get back to winning ways this Friday against UCD, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

“We shifted six goals last week, which is unlike us,” said Heary. “We’ve worked hard this week to try and rectify that. It’s about getting back to doing what we were doing. Last week in Derry we didn’t have the intensity or the work-rate that we had shown in previous weeks.

“It’s tough for the lads who are working heading up to Derry, and especially with younger players it’s hard to get consistency week in, week out. But in fairness to the lads, they’ve been brilliant for most of the season and we just have to get back to basics.”

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The UCD Bowl was the scene of an impressive opening night victory for Bohemians, but Heary is wary of a good footballing side under Aaron Callaghan. “In fairness to UCD, they are always looking to get on the ball and play out. We know it’s going to be a tough game, it’s a big pitch out there. UCD have had a couple of bad results of late but they’ve got all their players back for this weekend, so they’ll have a strong team out. But it’s important that we stick to our own game-plan, three points puts us right back up the table.”

Remarking on the unique atmosphere at UCD’s home games, the Bohs boss is hopeful that the ‘away majority’ at Belfield can spur his team on. “They are difficult games because the atmosphere is totally different – even when I was playing – you don’t get the abuse from UCD fans that you might get at Rovers or up in Derry. That could be a plus for us – if we get our fans behind us and cheering us on. Hopefully the fans get behind us like they have been all year, especially after the two bad defeats we have to try and bounce back together.”

Despite those defeats, Heary is still hopeful of a top-half finish and a Setanta Cup place for next season. He sees the next two fixtures against UCD and Drogheda as key games toward this target. “We know we need to beat these teams to stay ahead of the pack. UCD and Drogheda are at the level we’re at at the moment – so they’re two very big games in my opinion. We’re starting the last series of games and it would be great to get a win to hopefully put us in with a chance of a Setanta spot.”

Heary should have a full squad to choose from after Daniel Byrne’s recovery from tonsillitis. Kevin Devaney is also back in contention after a knock kept him out of Monday’s game.

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

DUBLIN DERBY THE PERFECT PICK-ME-UP

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
EA Sports Cup semi-final, Dalymount Park, Monday 4th August, 7.30pm

Bohemian manager Owen Heary believes ‘there is no better way’ to bounce back from Friday’s defeat in Derry than by beating rivals Shamrock Rovers to reach a cup final, writes LUKE O’RIORDAN

Bohs’ impressive six-game unbeaten run ground to a halt in the Brandywell as the clinical Candystripes ran out 4-0 winners. It was the heaviest loss of Heary’s reign to date and he has challenged his side to make amends when Bohs welcome Rovers to Dalymount on Monday.

“We had two good chances in the opening few minutes to take the lead ourselves and if one of those had gone in, it could have been a different game,” he said.

“We lacked the work ethic that we’ve shown over the last while and the players know that themselves. But it was also a case of the intensity and effort that they’ve put into the last few games catching up on the lads too.

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“It’s frustrating, as a result up there would have put us right in the mix to climb into the top half and also put us in contention for a Setanta Cup place.

“But there’s no better way to bounce back than by reaching a cup final and beating Rovers in the process. That should drive the players on.”

The build-up to Monday’s game has been dominated by managerial change and speculation at Shamrock Rovers, with Trevor Croly parting ways with the club after less than two years at the helm.

Croly’s former assistant John Gill is set to take the reins on Monday and Heary has warned his players to be ready for a backlash after Rovers’ shock 4-1 defeat in Limerick on Friday.

He said: “Rovers have so many players, it’s impossible to predict who’ll start, especially with the change in manager and after Friday’s result.

“For all we know, their next manager could be sitting in the crowd, so their players will be really looking to impress whoever that may be.”

As well as two league titles, Heary also completed a clean sweep of domestic cup competitions as Bohs captain, winning the FAI Cup (2008), EA Sports Cup (2009) and Setanta Sports Cup (2010).

And now he is determined to win his first trophy as a manager. He said: “Hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about.

“Everyone at Bohs – the players, the staff, the board, the fans – would love to have the club back where it belongs contesting finals and winning trophies. That has to be our aim.

“It’s been a tough few years and a trophy would mean so much to everyone.”

Despite a few players feeling ‘leggy’ and ‘sore’ after Friday’s game, Heary once again has a full squad to choose from. “We will freshen things up a bit but there are no major injury concerns,” he added.

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