“WE NEED WINS”

DROGHEDA UTD v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, United Park, Friday 16 May, 7.45pm

Bohemians are looking to turn near-wins into victories as they go to Drogheda on Friday writes BRIAN TRENCH. With three draws in their last three league games Bohemians have proven hard to beat, including with ten men last week.

Manager Owen Heary takes comfort from his side’s strong defensive performances but insists they need to get wins.

“The good thing about last week is that, with ten men, we kept a clean sheet. That’s a positive.

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“We took the game to UCD, we didn’t sit back, and on another night Jason [Byrne] could have had two or three goals. We can build on that, knowing that we’re playing well, we’re doing things right.

“We need wins, and we go out for every game aiming to win. Friday’s game will be no different.

“If we can get a win it changes the table around, as there’s not much between the teams in the middle.”

Heary considers his side to have been unlucky in several recent games and is hoping for a change of fortune.

“We’ve had a few things go against us, even going back to the [Shamrock] Rovers game where a goal was disallowed that shouldn’t have been. Little things seem to have turned games against us.

“We’re hoping that this will change, even if we get goals off Jason’s behind, or the bounce comes for us and the ball goes in.”

Earlier this season, Bohemians went 2-0 up in Dalymount against Drogheda, but were then pegged back for a 2-2 draw.

“We’re going up there on a positive note, even though we’re missing a few players. There’s an opportunity for other players to step up to the mark,” said Heary.

Bohemians’ defence, already shuffled to move Derek Pender to the left and bring Steven Beattie in at right back, will need to be changed again for Friday.

Central defender Roberto Lopes is suspended following his contested sending-off against UCD and Aidan Price (quad tear) is unlikely to be fit for selection.

Meanwhile, Anto Murphy (hamstring) is back in full training and made a brief subsitute appearance against St Patrick’s Athletic in the EA Sports Cup ten days ago. But he may not be fit to start.
Two younger players, Eoin Wearen and Dan Byrne, may form the central defence against Drogheda.

Bohemians have been finding goals hard to get in league games, with the established goal-scorers all having near-misses. “The chances are coming but we’re not putting the ball in the net,” said Heary.

Striker Dinny Corcoran will miss Friday’s game, serving the first additional suspension of two for his sending-off against Derry City two weeks ago. Jake Hyland, 18, scored twice in the EA Sports Cup win over St Patrick’s but Heary is being careful not to over-expose him.

“He’s still on a learning curve, and he’s just come off a long season with the under-19s. The last thing we want to do is just to throw him in and then he’s wrecked before we’ve started.

“We’ll continue to put him in and take him out, and show him what it’s all about. He’s definitely one for the future.”

“WE CAN’T LET OUR STANDARDS SLIP”

BOHEMIANS v UCD
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 9 May, 7.45pm

Bohemian manager Owen Heary has warned his side not to let their recent high standards drop as his predecessor Aaron Callaghan takes his place in the opposition dugout at Dalymount Park for the first time since parting company with the Gypsies in July of last year.

Bohs are unbeaten in three games in all competitions and Heary said: “We’ve turned good performances into decent results. We’ve drawn away to Cork, drawn against Derry and pushed on to get the win against St Pat’s in the EA Cup. The challenge now is to push on further and get that first win at home in the league, which is long overdue.

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“After good results against strong teams, fans can sometimes think ‘ah it’s only UCD’. It’s important that the players don’t think that way. UCD have very good players – some of the best young players in the league, so you can never write them off. We can’t let our standards slip.”

Bohs kicked off the 2014 league season with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against the Students at the UCD Bowl and matched that scoreline at the same venue three days later in the EA Sports Cup, but Heary believes Callaghan’s side will pose a much greater threat this time around.

“Aaron had only just come in then,” he said. “He’s put his own stamp on things now and has them playing the way he wants them to play. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the games we had against them at the start of the season.

“They have kicked on since. They’re coming here on the back of two good results themselves having beaten Drogheda after a good point against Derry in the Brandywell. We’d be focusing on those performances rather than looking back to how they played against us two months ago.”

Bohs’ 3-2 EA Sports Cup win against St Pat’s on Tuesday provided a platform for some of the players on the fringes of Heary’s squad to stake a claim for regular inclusion with 18-year-old Jake Hyland making the most of the opportunity as he netted twice from midfield.

Heary said: “They were two great goals and both of them on his weaker foot. Aside from the goals, he held his own in there up against real quality in Greg Bolger and Killian Brennan. Starting two games in four days at this level would be a big ask at this stage but he’s definitely played himself into contention now.”

Dinny Corcoran grabbed the winner against St Pat’s, which served to highlight what a loss he will be as he begins a three-match ban tomorrow for the red card he received for an off-the-ball incident with Derry City’s Cliff Byrne last week.

“He probably owed us that goal,” Heary said. “It was such a silly sending-off last Friday and losing him for the next few weeks is frustrating for me and hopefully frustrating for him. It’s a learning curve. As a striker, defenders are going to annoy you and wind you up. You answer them back by scoring goals, not by getting involved off the ball.”

Corcoran isn’t the only absentee tomorrow. Aidan Price remains out with a quad injury, while Paddy Kavanagh is struggling with an ankle knock. Anto Murphy made his first appearance of the season as he was introduced from the bench on Tuesday after a lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury, but he is not yet ready to start a game.

“It’s great to get Anto back into the squad,” added Heary. “But he only got 20 minutes or so against St Pat’s so he still has a way to go before we consider him ready to start a game. With Aidan also out, we’ve looked at other alternatives at the back. Dano Byrne and Eoin Wearen were solid together against St Pat’s and Jack Memery really grew into the game at left-back too, so we’ve decent options there now.”

“OUR LUCK WILL CHANGE”

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
EA Sports Cup Rd 2, Dalymount Park, Tuesday 6 May, 7.45pm

Bohemians go into the second of three home games in eight days still searching for that elusive win at Dalymount Park but manager Owen Heary is adamant his side will get their just rewards if they continue playing and working as hard as they have done in recent weeks.

Heary believes Bohs’ performances have deserved to yield better results and is encouraged that, after a run of three league defeats in a row, much-improved displays in 1-1 draws away to Cork City and against Derry City in Dalymount can now provide the platform for his side to change their fortunes at home, starting with tomorrow’s EA Sports Cup clash against the league champions.

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With a third of the league season gone, the Gypsies have failed to register a victory at Dalymount Park since beating Bray Wanderers 5-1 in the Leinster Senior Cup in February, while you have to look as far back as September for Bohs’ last home league win (2-0 v Derry City).

“The performances over the last couple of weeks have been very good,” Heary said. “I look at the last two league games as four points dropped, but it’s hard to fault the players’ performances in either of them. We went down to Cork and battered them, in the second half in particular. Against Derry, it was similar – we had all the chances yet they scored a great goal against the run of play to get a point.

“The lads know that if they keep playing the way they are, working as hard as they are and delivering the kind of performance they have in the last two games, their luck will change. The positive is they’re creating more than enough chances to win these games, we just need to be a bit more composed in front of goal.

“Having said that, we are scoring too. We’ve only failed to find the net in two league games. Last year, we were getting turned over by two or three goals at home without scoring ourselves. So while we’re not where we want to be, there are signs that we’re moving in the right direction. We need to keep at it, not let the heads drop and our luck will change.”

Cup competitions are Bohs’ only realistic chance of silverware, but Heary still has one eye on Friday’s SSE Airtricity League visit of UCD to Dalymount Park.

“We want to win every game and every cup,” he said. “But of course you have to look ahead too when you’re selecting your team for a game in this competition. We’ve already lost Dinny Corcoran through suspension for the UCD game, so we can’t afford any more silly bans or risk players carrying a knock. That gives a chance to a couple of others – young lads like Jake Hyland and players on the fringes – tomorrow night to play themselves into contention for Friday too.”

Heary will have to plan without the experience of Aidan Price, who was forced off at half-time against Derry City after he aggravated a thigh injury. He was replaced by 21-year-old debutant Eoin Wearen and the former West Ham youth is likely to keep his place in the side. Anto Murphy, targeting his first appearance of the season after a hamstring injury, is also in line for some game-time.

Heary added: “Eoin was thrown in at the deep end on Friday and while he didn’t have a lot to do, he did everything that was asked of him very well. Anto should feature too. He’s been out for too long to risk him from the start but he should come off the bench at some stage.”

Craig Walsh returns from suspension, while the ban Corcoran received for his red card against Derry City does not kick in until Friday’s league clash against UCD.

“I HAVE NO DOUBT WE CAN WIN”

BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
Friday May 2, SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Bohemians welcome Derry City to Dalymount, determined to secure a first home win of the season against a side seeking their first away victory.

“There’s more pressure on us playing at home, especially now as we haven’t won. We just need to put in a good performance as we did last week, and to be as good defensively as we were in set-pieces and facing a physically bigger team,” said Bohemian manager Owen Heary.

“It will no different against Derry, who are also big and strong. We have to keep our concentration and be ready for the physical end of it. If we can keep a clean sheet, I have no doubt we can win the game because we’re creating enough chances.”

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Heary’s side gained a point last week from Cork City in Cork, where the league leaders remain undefeated. “It was a very good performance considering the conditions and the crowd against us. We outplayed Cork for the majority of the game, and we created numerous opportunities.”

Bohemians now have three home games in eight days, including next Tuesday’s visit of St Patrick’s Athletic for the second round of the EA Sports Cup and Heary is aiming to have his team turn playing at home into an advantage. “You should enjoy playing at home, but we have to get that first win and then build on it.”

Bohemians’ busy schedule has given the manager an opportunity to test all of his players in senior-team competition. ‘Fringe players’ Lee Whelan, Jake Hyland and Philly McCabe started in last Monday’s Leinster Senior Cup defeat to Shamrock Rovers, while Paddy Collins and Keith Mahony came on as subs. Meanwhile, Jack Memery returned from knee injury to play the 90 minutes.

“We were well in the game until [Daniel Byrne’s] sending-off. Even then, the team kept trying to do what we wanted them to do, getting on the ball and passing well,” said Heary.

“Lads who had been left out previously showed their character by doing their job well. You could see their mental toughness. Anybody can have a bad game, but you can sink or swim after that and I think the lads clearly showed they wanted to swim.”

However, Byrne’s sending-off on Monday has reduced Heary’s selection options for Friday. Byrne is automatically suspended for this match, while Craig Walsh serves a one-match suspension for accumulated yellow cards.

Striker Dinny Corcoran is again available for selection following knee injury, but Anto Murphy’s return from hamstring injury will likely be delayed until Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup fixture. Central defender Aidan Price has a late fitness test for a quad injury incurred in the Cork City game.

A new name in the Bohemian squad is that of central midfielder/defender Eoin Wearen, 21, who was most recently with West Ham. He was previously a “hot property” with St Kevin’s Boys and has played at under-17 and under-19 for Ireland. Wearen has been training for some weeks with Bohemians and is awaiting international clearance to be eligible for selection.

HEARY SEES FRINGE BENEFITS

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Monday April 28, Leinster Senior Cup Quarter-final, Tallaght Stadium, 7.45pm

Bohemian boss Owen Heary has vowed to give youth a chance in tonight’s Dublin derby in the Leinster Senior Cup.

The Gypsies enjoyed a much-improved performance in the 1-1 SSE Airtricity League draw away to Cork City on Friday, but expect to see a much-changed line-up as Heary uses this competition to give game-time to players who have been on the fringes of the first team.

“We’re not like Rovers where we’ve a team in the First Division to blood young players and give game-time to others,” he said. “We want to win this competition but we also have to use it as a chance to look at other players.

“You’re going to see a young team tonight. Players have to learn somewhere and it’s a great opportunity for the likes of Jake Hyland (pictured) and Lee Whelan, who’ve both come through the Under-19s, and Paddy Collins, who’s still only 17.

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“Rovers will always have a strong team out, so it gives our younger players a taste of what it’s like at this level and shows them the level they should be aspiring to play at week in, week out in a few years’ time.”

Although he was happy to see Bohs’ run of league defeats come to an end, Heary was frustrated not to have come away from Turner’s Cross with all three points against a top-of-the-table Cork City side still unbeaten this season.

“I was very happy with the performance but I’m disappointed not to have won it. Ryan McEvoy and Jason Byrne went close, and Kevin Devaney hit the crossbar. We were the much stronger team and created more than enough chances to win it, particularly in the second half.

“In saying that, we did get out of jail at the end when Cork were denied what looked like a legitimate goal and we were handed a free-kick out, so I won’t complain too much!”

Heary was pleased to have been able to pick the strongest line-up available for the trip to Leeside as recent Monday league fixtures have necessitated much tinkering to his line-ups.

“Being able to play the kind of football we want to play is obviously much easier when we’ve our strongest team out and they’re not knackered. With Dinny Corcoran injured, we obviously would have liked Jason to start against Sligo Rovers on Monday but he wasn’t physically capable of playing having played the full game 2½ days previously against St Pat’s.

“Asking Dave Mulcahy to play two games in such a short space of time after being out for so long was a big ask too. You have to remember that players are part-time too – they have jobs or go to college – so they benefited from having a full week’s training with no game in between going down to Cork. There shouldn’t be the same problem this evening as most of the players who will be playing are players who haven’t been getting regular game-time”

Jack Memery, out for over a month with a knee injury, is expected to feature tonight. Corcoran (knee) has also returned to training, while Heary revealed Anto Murphy (hamstring) is targeting next Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup tie against St Pat’s for his long-awaited first appearance of the season. Aidan Price (quad) will not be risked tonight, but Philip McCabe, who came off with a knock against Sligo on Monday, is available to play.

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