“I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!”

SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League

Saturday July 27 2019, The Showgrounds, 8pm, live on eir

Rob Cornwall’s determination to play for Bohemians ended up contributing to a longer spell on the sidelines.

But back in training and ready for selection once more, he is ready to redouble his efforts to win back his place in the team.

Unusually, the famous story of Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing through the 1956 FA Cup final with a broken neck drove Cornwall on to play through the pain barrier.

Cornwall was a mainstay in the heart of the Bohs defence alongside James Finnerty at the start of the season, playing 11 games of which he contributed greatly to James Talbot keeping a clean sheet in eight of those.

After a somewhat stop-start and injury-interrupted 2018 compared to the high standards he had set a year previously in his debut season for the club, Cornwall was determined to keep that run going.

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That drive ended up costing him, however.

An Achilles injury has kept him out of action since the end of April and with Talbot keeping three clean sheets in his last four games, those who have come into the team in his place have fared pretty well of late.

Cornwall, 24, admits: “I had tendinitis in my Achilles. It just felt a bit sore, so I played on with it.

“I felt it about ten days before the Derry game away in April. Then I felt it again playing against Derry but I didn’t want to come off, I just wanted to keep playing.

“I kept thinking ‘what’s wrong with me?’ It’s just a bit sore.’

“I don’t know why this went through my head but all I could think about was that goalkeeper who played on in the cup final with a broken neck, so I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!

Bert Trautmann

Bert Trautmann

“I just wanted to get on with it and that probably made it worse.

“The staff have been great at the club. Our physios Paul Kirwan – Paul is an expert in this particular area – and Robbie Murray have been first class with me, so I have to thank them, Cathal Murtagh (strength and conditioning coach) and Remy Tang (club sport scientist).

“I’m back training now and my objective is to get fit and back into the team when an opportunity comes. I’m back training since last week and fully back this week.”

But winning back his place in the team now will be trickier than one would have expected earlier in the year.

His form then was such that he was probably one of the first names on Keith Long’s teamsheet each week.

His absence was felt too – Bohs went on a run of six league games without keeping a clean sheet. But they’ve shored up since with those tasked with filling his place in the side stepping up to the plate.

Cornwall admits: “The lads have done really well. I’ll have to bide my time to get an opportunity.

“We’ve some very good defenders at the club. With myself and Aaron Barry being injured, Michael Barker has come into the team and has done really well.

“He’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my opinion but he’s done so well people are starting to realise just how good he is now.

“Barks was unlucky at the start of the season getting injured himself but he’s got into the side now and has done really well. I’ve seen it in training, so it’s no surprise to me.

“Then you’ve had Darragh Leahy play centre-half recently. To move from left-full to centre-half and do so well is impressive.

“He was brilliant against St Pat’s… I was cursing him. I might have to change position to get in the team they’ve done so well.. maybe there’s room in midfield.”

Bohs travel to Sligo buoyed by 3-0 Dublin derby win against St Patrick’s Athletic on Sunday.

It was an encouraging performance from Bohs, particularly in the second half, but certainly not as emphatic a performance as the scoreline suggested.

Sligo beat the Gypsies in their last meeting with a sucker-punch in the 89th minute to win 2-1 in Dalymount Park back in May, so they too are not a side that Bohs will underestimate.

The previous meeting between the sides at The Showgrounds in April saw Bohs travel home happy with three points and a 2-0 win in a game that Cornwall was sent off in for a clumsy last-man challenge.

“We still kept a clean sheet though,” he is at pains to point out and adds: “Every game for us from now until the end of the season is a tough one. We’ve got ourselves into a good position but we have to be at it every game to stay there.”

“Sligo have already beaten us this season. Liam Buckley has won everything there is to win as a manager in this league so we know we are in for another tough game.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender and Danny Mandroiu return from suspension.

Aaron Barry (hamstring), Rob Cornwall (Achilles) and Danny Grant (hamstring) all returned to full training last week, with Grant coming off the bench against St Pat’s on Sunday, and all are in contention against Sligo.

Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

Andre Wright could be included in squad for first time after international clearance came through on Thursday.

Andy Lyons has returned following Ireland’s exit from the Uefa U19 European Championships but is likely to be rested.

“We need to show our character now – on and off the pitch”

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
SSE Airtricity League
Sunday July 21, Dalymount Park, 3pm

Match sponsor: Bonobo Bar

Keith Long has told Bohemians to go out and show their real character in this afternoon’s Dublin derby against St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park.

Bohs are still licking their wounds after a frustrating few days.

An uncharacteristic performance saw them beaten 1-0 away to UCD on Monday, a defeat that was compounded by regrettable post-match scenes between both sets of players and the result being overturned with Collie O’Neill’s side instead being awarded a 3-0 walkover after it emerged the Gypsies fielded a suspended player, Danny Mandroiu.

Mandroiu will instead serve that suspension today alongside skipper Derek Pender, who received a ban for his part in the unnecessary post-match scuffles, which were initiated by UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns goading and deliberately inciting Bohs fans.

Long was visibly and understandably angry by those scenes and conceded: “Monday wasn’t good enough. We need to show our character now – on and off the pitch. We need to improve our discipline, it has to be better than that. What went on after the game wasn’t good enough, that wasn’t us.

“It was a bad week for all of us in the club. UCD deserved to win. We struggled to break them down. They were well organised and got men behind the ball but our performance was lacking.

“It was to me our worst performance in 12 months, going back to when we lost to Sligo at home last season. We didn’t play to our strengths but perhaps there were some warning signs in previous weeks since the break.

“Maybe this was coming. We needed at last-minute goal to beat Waterford a few weeks ago and our performances in the draws against Derry City and Cork City weren’t where we want them to be.”

But Long is never one to dwell on the past. He had his side knuckle down in training the following day and determined to make amends against St Pat’s who by all accounts impressed in their 2-1 defeat away Norrkoping on Thursday night.

While Long will be without key men in the suspended duo of Pender and Mandroiu, there was some good news with Danny Grant, Rob Cornwall and Aaron Barry all taking part in full training this week and all now available for selection.

Long said: “We have to take our medicine and get on with what we do. We have refocused since Tuesday on St Pat’s, who are a good side and have good players.

“We are missing Derek and Danny but have options elsewhere coming back with the three lads training this week, which is a positive. They’ve had a frustrating time coming back, with a few set-backs along the way, so it’s great we finally have them back and in contention.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender and Danny Mandroiu are suspended.

Aaron Barry (hamstring), Rob Cornwall (Achilles) and Danny Grant (hamstring) all returned to full training this week.

Whether all three will be risked remains to be seen, but all are likely to return to the matchday squad.

Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out.

“We showed people there is quality in our league”

UCD v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Monday July 15 2019, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm

Keith Ward hopes newcomers to League of Ireland grounds in recent days will have been suitably impressed to make a return trip.

Bohemians and St Patrick’s both entertained Europa League winners Chelsea this week.

First they came to Dalymount Park on Wednesday in Frank Lampard’s first game in the charge of the visitors.

Keith Long’s side found themselves a goal down inside ten minutes.

But the assured response perhaps caught the Londoners somewhat off-guard and Bohs’ endeavours eventually paid off with an equalising goal a minute from time, scored by trialist Eric Molloy, which 14-year-old debutant Evan Ferguson helped to set up.

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Wardy, 28, said: “It was a great night on Wednesday for the club. As a team I think we gave a very good account of ourselves.

“The way we played, I think outsiders to the league at the game will have been impressed.

“We kept the ball and we went at them when we could. We know it was only a friendly but hopefully we showed people there is quality in our league and that we can play.”

Eric Molloy celebrates equaliser v Chelsea – Thomas McCormack

Bohs emptied their bench on Wednesday – it was very much an exhibition game. But it is back to real business tomorrow when they face a resurgent UCD in Belfield.

Collie O’Neill has seen key men Conor Davis, Neil Farrugia and Gary O’Neill leave the club in recent weeks but has also seen his team move off the foot of the table in the same period.

First they beat Finn Harps in a relegation six-pointer. And on Friday they both helped Bohs’ bid to stay in third but also provided Long’s men a reminder – if one was needed – that they are capable of getting results as they drew 0-0 away to fourth-placed Derry City.

Ward said: “You can’t underestimate UCD, they’ve got good young players. We know they’ve lost some players but they still have quality and they’ve brought in Jack Keaney from Sligo too.

“They’ve got a win and a draw in their last two games and we are in for a tricky game. We’ve done our homework and we know it will be difficult.”

To get a result, Bohs will need to be more potent in front of goal than they have in recent weeks. James Talbot has claimed three clean sheets from four but up front, Bohs have fired blanks in recent 0-0 draws against Derry City and Cork City.

Ward concedes they are missing key man Dinny Corcoran, out with an ankle injury. But he has backed Bohs’ attacking players, himself included, to come up with the goods.

He said: “When any team loses their main striker it can be difficult. It’s up to us as attacking players to step up.

“When we don’t keep clean sheets, we’re at our defenders so as attacking players we know we need to chip in at the other end too.

“We’re working hard in training to do that and I know we can improve.”

One man in midfield who has chipped in at various stages this season is Danny Mandroiu.

Up until this season, Ward tended to occupy the role of attacking midfielder sitting in behind the lone striker.

But Mandroiu’s form in that position has seen Ward moved out to the left wing, while they both also vie for set-piece duties.

Ward laughs: “I nearly scored a free-kick against Derry! Our rivalry is a healthy one, but I’m older and better looking.

“The fans have taken to him, he’s been great for us. Obviously, everyone was talking about the goal against Rovers and he deserved to win Player of the Month.

“But he’s been one of the standout players in the league and they’re the kind of players you want to play with. I don’t mind playing on the wing, the main thing is I’m playing and contributing to the team.”

TEAM NEWS

Aaron Barry (hamstring), Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Danny Grant (hamstring), Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remain out. Andy Lyons is away with the Ireland U19s.

Michael Barker and Kevin Devaney (both concussion) returned to the fray against Chelsea.

“It was a special, special moment for me”

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League
Dalymount Park, Friday June 14 2019, 8pm, eir Sport

His debut arrived 12 months later than he had anticipated and even since then, Ryan Swan has had to patiently bide his time.

But having broke his duck in the 5-3 win over Finn Harps a fortnight ago, helping himself to a second goal for good measure, Swan is ready to take flight.

It has been a long, hard road to get to this point but the 23-year-old feels he is ready to make the most of the opportunity afforded to him since filling in for the injured Dinny Corcoran.

Swan signed for Bohemians in December 2017. But the dream of following in his father Derek’s footsteps and becoming a Gypsies goal-scoring hero turned sour as he suffered a torn cruciate in only his second training session.

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Swan and Long – Stephen Burke

The former UCD striker said: “It was only our second training session of pre-season. It was really unfortunate. Even the way it happened, it wasn’t even a bad tackle.

“It was just from the way I landed after crossing the ball. I’ve never had a serious injury before that but I knew something wasn’t right.”

It was a cruel blow and one that tested Swan’s strength of character.

But, with the support of manager Keith Long, assistant manager Trevor Croly and a strong dressing room, Swan persevered.

Croly and Swan – Stephen Burke

He said: “The first few weeks were hard, really hard. They were probably the hardest few weeks of my life.

“You’re watching on as all the lads prepared for the season opener against Rovers knowing you wouldn’t even get to play a game in the season.

“But as the rehab progressed, I was more positive. Keith and Trevor keep you going and make you feel a part of it.

“You’re never left drift away just because you’re injured and all the lads in the dressing play a big role in that too.

“When the lads went on that really good run of form in the second half of last season, it inspired me even more to want to be a part of that.”

Swan gets off the mark against Harps – Stephen Burke

That determination continued over the closed season period, with the Finglas man determined to knuckle down and make up for lost time.

He said: “All over Christmas I couldn’t wait to get started, I think it’s the first pre-season I’ve ever looked forward to!”

He finally made his Bohs debut in a 10-minute cameo appearance in the opening day of the season 1-0 victory against Finn Harps but found game-time hard to come by due to the early-season form of Corcoran.

Similar appearances from the bench followed but he had to wait until the tenth game of the season to get his first league start, benefiting from Long’s decision to rotate his squad during a congested month in the fixture calendar, playing 86 minutes against Dundalk in Oriel Park in a game Bohs should have won but lost 1-0 in injury time.

He said: “I knew I would have to bide my tine. It was never going to be easy the way Dinny started the season and the impact.

“I just had to keep my head down and take my chance when it came.”

And that he has done. Getting up to speed after a season on the sidelines is easier said than done but he has equipped himself well in the appearances he has made so far.

With Corcoran suffering a serious ankle injury in last month’s defeat to Sligo Rovers, Swan now has the chance to stake his claim.

And he did his chances of getting an extended run in the team no harm when he nabbed a brace in Bohs’ last outing against Finn Harps.

Swan said: “It was a special, special moment for me after the year I had. To grab a second was great too.

“I was just delighted to get off the mark and I hope I can go on and get more now.”

Ryan, front, with Derek and family – Sportsfile

Seeing the surname Swan appear on the Bohs scoresheet 19 years after his father Derek scored his final goals in red and black leads to inevitable and probably unavoidable comparisons between the two.

But Ryan take that in his stride, adding: “It doesn’t faze me at all, we’re different people and different players. To me he’s just my da!

“But I do love reading stuff about him when he crops up in the programme from time to time.”

While he is unmoved by those comparisons, he admits he relishes the fact that supporters have reworked the Derek Swan Blue Moon chant regularly sung on the terraces two decades ago to include his name instead.

He said: “When I signed I wondered would they sing it. I heard it for the first time up in Oriel Park and I love the fact they sing the same song that they sang about my dad.

“It felt special hearing that, but a bit strange too!”

Ryan, front, and family at Derek’s testimonial v Tranmere Rovers in 2000 – Sportsfile

If he manages to get on the scoresheet against Rovers, those father-son comparisons will continue but again the young hitman is taking tomorrow’s game in his stride.

He added: “For me you have to look at it as just another game. I’ve prepared for it like it’s no different to any other game. You eat, sleep and train the same way and focus on what is required of you.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are without Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Dinny Corcoran (ankle), Danny Grant (hamstring) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) as well as the suspended duo of skipper Derek Pender and James Finnerty and Darragh Leahy who is on international duty with the Ireland U21s in Toulon.

Keith Buckley (leg) and Robbie McCourt (ankle) return to the fold.

“What we have is togetherness and trust from Keith”

BOHEMIANS v FINN HARPS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday May 31, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” is a well-worn phrase in sport. It’s all well and good saying it, but actions speak louder than words.

At Bohemians, it reflects a commitment from the top that drives players coming through across at all age groups at underage level.

On Monday, another Bohs-SKB academy graduate, Ross Tierney, seized the opportunity afforded to him in the EA Sports Cup.

Fellow Bohs U19 Dawson Devoy tasted first-team football as a substitute for the final 25 minutes, while Alex Kelly made the bench.

Starting his Leaving Cert next Wednesday, Tierney’s teachers at St Aidan’s CBS in Whitehall might not have been best pleased by the distraction.

But for Tierney, it was a moment to savour and a reward for his ability and for years of hard work at underage level with St Kevin’s and Bohemians.

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Ross Tierney gives Dan Casey the runaround – Stephen Burke

It was his first start for the seniors, his only previous first-team minutes coming as a substitute in the Leinster Senior Cup win against First Division Shelbourne earlier this year.

But the diminutive teen put it up to a physical Cork City side.

His opener set Bohs on their way to a 2-0 victory – fellow ex-Kevin’s man Danny Mandroiu added the second from the spot – and settled what could have been a period of nervy uncertainty after the home side spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot moments earlier.

Tierney, 18, said: “I was actually preparing for the U19s’ game in Longford on Sunday at the weekend but Craig Sexton, the U19s manager, rang me saying that I would be in the first team squad on Monday instead.

“I trained with the first team expecting just to be in the squad but Keith Long pulled me aside and said “You know why you’re here?” and then told me that I’d be starting. It was a bit of a surprise.

“I was delighted to get the chance to show what I can do. I don’t think I started as well as I would have liked but the intensity was always going to be higher from what I’m used to and I knew that. Keith says it will take time to adjust to that.”

He is perhaps overly self-critical. While there was a rawness to his game, he settled quickly considering and his goal contributed hugely to Bohs progressing to the last four where they will meet Dundalk away on the August Bank Holiday Monday.

Tierney in full flight – Stephen Burke

One man in attendance who missed Tierney’s goal, however, was Ross’ brother Dean.

The bars at Dalymount Park are one of its selling points in attracting fans. But their draw has seen many a supporter miss kick-off or goals either side of half-time as patrons finish up their drinks or go to the bar early to beat the queues.

Dean had no such excuse – his brother’s goal game on 33 minutes! Ross laughed: “We had just had a penalty saved, so he went in to get a pint. It took longer than he expected, they had to change the keg or something.

“The next thing he hears over the PA that No 26 Ross Tierney had scored and he said he just went “Ah Jaysus!”

Tierney’s progression comes as no surprise to those who have worked with him. The Ballymun man’s association with Bohs’ partners St Kevin’s began a decade ago and he has represented Ireland internationally up to U18 level.

He said: “I came to St Kevin’s when I was eight. I was with them from U9s up to U14s. I won five leagues and two All-Irelands. I left for a year and went to Belvo U14s and won and All-Ireland there but then have been at Bohs-SKB for U15s and U17s and on to the U19s.”

Then.. Tierney and Mandroiu at St Kevin’s in 2014

He echoes the growing sentiments that the transition from schoolboy football to men’s football has improved with the evolving League of Ireland pathway structure.

The likes of Warren O’Hora, Daniel Grant, Andy Lyons, Paddy Kirk, Ali Reghba and Ryan Graydon, all of whom came through Bohs’ U19s, are perfect examples of first-team success stories so far.

Tierney said: “The continuity helps. You get to know what is expected of you and you get to know people. You look at the team on Monday and there were nine ex-Kevin’s and then you had Andy and Paddy too who came through Bohs U17s and U19s.

“We’ve one of the youngest teams in the league but Keith Long always says that it doesn’t matter what age or height you are: if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

“It drives you on when you see players not all that much older than you playing regularly for the first team. I think Bohs have become the best club in the country for bringing players through.

“We are all one big club from first team down to U13s. We all want each other to do well. We don’t have money like other clubs but what we have that is more important is togetherness and trust from Keith.”

As well looking to progress with the first team, Tierney is hoping he will get another chance to represent Bohs in Europe later this year. Much like last season, Sexton’s U19s face another nervy wait to see if they will quality for the Uefa Youth League.

It is a complex qualification process and, due to Ireland’s low seeding, Bohs will once again be relying on results and games out of their control to nab a spot in the competition.

Bohs lost out narrowly 4-2 on aggregate to Danes FC Midtjylland last year, 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 Porto.

Due to Uefa’s rigid eligibility rules, Sexton’s team was depleted. Tierney was one of those to benefit and was promoted from Jimmy Mowlds’ Bohs-SKB U17s for the tie.

Tierney added: “Off the pitch they had amazing facilities and their players were in a full-time set-up. But on the pitch the difference wasn’t huge.

“If we had all our players available, you never know, we could have beaten them. I’m hoping we get another chance in the tournament this year as it was an amazing experience.”

Now… Tierney and Mandroiu both netted for Bohs on Monday

Tierney deserves that – he has had his set-backs too. He said: “Growing up I never shied away from tackles – I tore my MCL as a result! But sometimes it’s more dangerous to pull out when you’ve committed.

“It was in my last game for St Kevin’s at U15s. I missed the guts of half a season for the Bohs-SKB U17s but the manager Jimmy Mowlds always had confidence in me and gave me a chance when I got back fit.”

That no-fear side to his game was evident on Monday too. Tierney is small in stature, but didn’t shy away from a full-blooded challenge against the towering and imposing former Bohs man Dan Casey, although he came off worse with stud marks on his leg visible from the stand.

He said: “I saw the ball between me and Dan. I committed and I think if I’d pulled out I’d have ended up lying in the Jodi Stand!

“Robbie Murray, the physio, thought I’d need two stitches but I didn’t want to come off! He put vaseline on it instead and I played on.”

Whether he has done enough to keep his place in the squad for the visit of Finn Harps to Dalymount remains to be seen. But if not, it is only a matter of time before we see him lining out for the first team once more.

For now, Tierney is enjoying being part of the collective, adding: “Bohs have surprised a few people.

“Obviously we have had a few disappointing results lately in the league, losing to late goals. But at the start of the season, you’d have been delighted to have been third at this point and hopefully the lads can build on that.”

To do that, Bohs will need to end a run of five games without a win.

That will be easier said than done, with manager Long adding: “Harps have been on a good run of form and our previous games this season have been very close affairs and tonight we expect nothing different.

“Our performances in my view deserved more from recent games and the players are putting in a huge amount of effort and are playing well. Performances have been good and the bigger picture for us is that we currently sit in third place in the table going into the third phase of games.

” We have a young team who are developing very well. We know we can be better and we know what’s required to get more from games. We may not win every game but we understand what we need to do in order to try and win.”

TEAM NEWS

Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Dinny Corcoran (ankle), Danny Grant (hamstring), Robbie McCourt (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) are all out.

Keith Buckley (leg) is rated 50-50.

Conor Levingston returns from suspension but skipper Derek Pender remains suspended.

Darragh Leahy is away on international duty with the Ireland U21s.

James Talbot is also on international duty with the Ireland senior team but will be released to play against Finn Harps.

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