PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v ATHLONE TOWN

SSE Airtricity Women’s National League
Saturday March 12 2022
Dalymount Park, 6pm

Abbie Brophy cannot wait to finally play in front of a big crowd at Dalymount Park this evening.

Bohemians play their first WNL home game of 2022 and the teame hope fans get out in numbers at the Home of Irish Football where they will host Athlone Town.

For Brophy, who has been with Bohs since their debut WNL season in 2020, it is a huge step forward for women’s football at the club and beyond.

Although Bohs played three games in Dalyer last season, Covid-19 crowd restrictions were in place, while the rest of their home games in their first two years of WNL football were played at the Oscar Traynor Centre.

Members, season ticket holders and children can all attend Bohs’ WNL home games for free this season, while general admission is just €5. All games will also continue to be streamed live on LOITV.

Winger Brophy said: “It’s brilliant. It is something we have all wanted to build towards since the club entered the league.

“We can’t wait to have our first game in front of a real crowd at Dalymount, we are really excited about it.

“I know for myself, I can’t remember how long it has been since my mam was able to get to one of my games so it makes a real difference that we will have that support behind us.

“It’s the same for all the team, everyone is looking forward to having their friends, family and supporters behind them.

“It’s uplifting for the women’s game in general, not just for Bohs, it will make it a proper occasion for Athlone Town too.”

Bohs kicked off the 2022 season with a 1-0 defeat away to champions Shelbourne last Saturday.

Some felt aggrieved at that result, with claims the ball crossed the line for what should have been a Bohs goal before Shels took the lead.

But Brophy is determined to look forward, not back, and added: “Shels are a good side but we were disappointed that we couldn’t get something out of the game.

“We played well and it was a good start. I don’t know if the ball went over the line or not, I was too far back to tell.

“But that is all in the past now. The important thing is that we learn from last week’s game and look to try win all three points this evening.”

Preview: SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS

SSE Airtricity League
Friday March 11 2022
Tallaght Stadium, 8pm
Live on LOITV

The last time Kris Twardek faced Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, Bohemians were aiming to leapfrog their rivals to move top of the table.

But an early Danny Lafferty goal in that September 2020 encounter was enough to seal victory for the home side and set Rovers on their way to winning the league.

Now in his second spell at Bohemians, Twardek, who turned 25 earlier this week, is aiming to make amends with an early-season victory over Stephen Bradley’s side.

He said: “The importance of the games when I was here last time was really high.

“Aside from the clear rivalry it was a case of us being second and Rovers being top of the league. We had a chance to move top after our game in Europe.

“Unfortunately they won that game 1-0 and we went on to finish second.

“But it is all to play for us now. It’s the start of the season and you have two teams with optimistic views for the year ahead. Rivalries aside, you just want to win at this stage of the season.

“It is too early to make judgments as to where teams are at. Things will shape up after 15 games or so. For us, if we can beat the top teams – obviously St Pat’s was a great result – then it is a great confidence boost for us to move forward.”

Twardek was grateful for some extra time on the training ground this week, but faces another quick turnaround with Bohs hosting Shelbourne in another Dublin derby at Dalymount on Monday.

He said: “It has been a good week and we have been able to lock in on what is an important game.

“I feel good and fresh. It’s nice to get a full week’s preparation for this game rather than the back-to-back Friday-Monday games we had last week, which was more about trying to recover than working on things on the pitch.”

Twardek is also grateful that among the 1000 travelling supporters roaring on Bohs tonight will be his brother and sister-in-law. Covid-19 has denied him such family support over the last two years.

He added: “My brother is coming over to the game with his wife, which will be nice! It’s rare for me to be able to have family at the games, so it’s great that they get to go to such a big one!”

For team-mate Ciarán Kelly, tonight could be an opportunity to stake his claim at centre-back with James Finnerty set to miss out with a knee injury.

Kelly replaced Finnerty during last Friday’s 1-1 draw away to Finn Harps and said: “It was a long trip up and it was not the result we wanted but it is nice to come away from there still undefeated for the season.

“Obviously now this is a huge game against Rovers. I played a good bit last season and this year I expected to come in and play but obviously that hasn’t been the case so far.

“I will try my best every time I get on the pitch. I was given some time against Finn Harps with James Finnerty going off. I want to play every minute I can.

“Rovers is a big Dublin derby but we have to treat every game the same. We know they have a talented squad with some great players but we are going there looking to win.”

He has also backed Bohs’ frontmen to click despite the absence of Promise Omochere, who is suspended for this game following his ludicrous red card against Finn Harps.

Kelly added: “Promise has been outstanding the last few games and towards the end of last season as well.

“He is a big strong boy who puts himself about but we have a good squad and everyone is chomping at the bit to be involved, so whoever comes in up front will be sure to do a good job for us.”

TEAM NEWS

Promise Omochere is suspended, while James Finnerty (knee) and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (ankle) are ruled out.

Liam Burt returned (groin) to training this week and is available for selection for the first time this season.

Preview: FINN HARPS v BOHEMIANS

SSE Airtricity League
Friday March 4 2022
Finn Park, 8pm
Live on LOITV

Ali Coote is happy with his new central role with Bohemians – even if those who have replaced him on the wings have been the centre of attention so far.

Bohs have amassed four points from their opening two games of the 2022 SSE Airtricity League season with a 2-2 draw against Dundalk last Friday and a 1-0 win against St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday.

Used mainly out wide on the right in 2021, Coote impressed in his debut season at Dalymount Park, so much so that he picked up the SSE Airtricity/SWI August Player of the Month Award following the starring role he played in Bohs’ European run.

This year so far, however, Coote has played in the central role behind the striker that was vacated by Ross Tierney following his closed season move to Motherwell.

And 23-year-old Coote is happy to be given an opportunity in a position that he feels comes more naturally to him.

The Scotsman, who lives with team-mates Liam Burt, Stephen Mallon and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, said: “I am really enjoying the role so far. It is more my position.

“Last season, when I was playing on the right, I was more plugging a hole.

“I think I did quite well there, but I am happy to show what I can do in a different role this season.”

The role Coote himself has vacated for now has seen Kris Twardek reclaim the right-wing berth he occupied in 2020 season before he departed for stints in Poland and Czech Republic, while Burt’s absence through injury has afforded fit-again Mallon an opportunity to impress on the opposite flank.

Twardek’s performances in the opening two games have earned great plaudits, while Mallon claimed the headlines on Monday with his Dublin derby winner.

Coote said: “We all knew what Stephen was capable of. We saw it in training last season and in the few minutes he got last season.

“We are delighted he finally has a chance to show that properly now, and that he got his first goal as well. Long may that continue.

“We all know what Kris is capable of as well from his time with Bohs and the league previously. He is a really quick and physical threat, and has come into the team and has done really well so far.”

While the season is only in its infancy, the attacking performances so far bode well for the time ahead, particularly when you consider the talent of Burt and Junior are yet to come into contention.

Coote said: “You need that element of healthy competition in the squad so that in every game and training session we keep returning a high level performance.

“I think we have been good so far. We built on our performance in the first game to get a good result against St Pat’s. To be honest, we felt we could have been more clinical in that game too, so there is plenty to work on.

“The whole team is young. It will take time to get exactly where we want to be but we seem to be clicking quickly so far.

“We are fully aware that we need to keep that going, and that we need to keep on improving now, but the signs are positive so far.”

Coote and Co will look to build on their opening two outings when they make the long trip to Donegal to face Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps.

Coote added: “Finn Harps is another big challenge for us to see where we are at – we all know how tough a place it is to go, and that they have a unique direct style. We will need to be at our very best.”

TEAM NEWS

Liam Burt (groin) and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (ankle) remain unavailable.

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK

SSE Airtricity League
Friday February 25 2022
Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Live on LOITV.ie

Keith Long wants Bohemians to start as they mean to go on by making a good first impression and getting a sold-out Jodi Stand behind them from the off this evening.

Long said: “All clubs look forward to the beginning of the season every year with high hopes, great anticipation and expectations.

“We are no different as we seek to kick off our campaign with a positive performance and result at home in front of our fans.

“Dalymount is a special place to play football and it is important to try and make a good first impression, get the crowd behind us and play to our capacity.

“We know the importance of getting a good start and we hope to do that tonight with a positive display.

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“The boys have worked extremely hard throughout pre-season and are looking forward to playing competitive games. Not playing last weekend has added to boys’ eagerness to play and we cannot wait to get our season underway.

“We hope to give supporters every reason to get behind the team, we want to get them excited about coming to watch this team play, and we will be doing everything we can to produce a team that upporters can be proud of.

“That support has always meant so much to us and, at the outset of this campaign, with many new faces at the club, it is important that we get behind the boys and show them what a special club this is to play for.”

Tonight’s game sees Bohs renew acquaintances with Dundalk manager Stephen O’Donnell, who got the better of Bohs when in charge of St Pat’s in the FAI Cup final in November.

Long said: “Dundalk have undergone significant change in the off-season, recruiting plenty of quality and experience to add to their squad.

“With Stephen back at Dundalk, this time as manager, his team will provide us with different challenges but we know we will have to perform to a really high level to overcome those.”

Finally, in a difficult week when Long’s mother sadly passed away, he expressed his gratitude for the support he has received from supporters of the club and the wider football community since.

He added: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank the players, ex-players, staff, supporters, the board and the Irish football community in general for their support in what has been a difficult time for me and my family after the passing of my mam last week. Sincere thank-you to all, it meant so much to us, and provided us with great comfort.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians have a full squad to choose from.

Preview: Sligo Rovers v Bohemians

SSE Airtricity League
Friday November 19 2021
The Showgrounds, 7.45pm
Live on LOITV

Keith Long has urged the expected large travelling support at the Showgrounds to do their bit to help his Bohemians side finish the league season on a high.

A victory would ensure a fourth-placed finish and European qualification for Bohs but having lost 4-0 the last time these sides met under the shadows of Ben Bulben in June, Long’s men will have their work cut out for them.

Level on points with Derry City but with a far greater goal difference, finishing fourth is firmly in Bohemians’ hands but they do not want to be relying on Dundalk doing them a favour against the Candystripes.

Long said: “It’s our final league game of the season and a very important game in terms of trying to finish in a European position through the league.

“We know what we have to do, the boys have prepared well, and are fully focused on putting in a good performance.

“It’s a big challenge. Sligo are a very good side and the Showgrounds is always a tough place to go.

“Hopefully we will have a large travelling Bohs support to help us over the 90+ minutes, and hopefully we can send our supporters home happy at the end of the night.”

TEAM NEWS

Andy Lyons, Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy return from international duty with the Ireland U21s, while Rory Feely returns from suspension.

Ali Coote is suspended, while Georgie Kelly (calf) remains out.

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