SSE Airtricity League
Friday September 10 2021
Head In The Game Park, 7.45pm

James Finnerty has been a victim of Bohemians’ strength in depth this season but now hopes to benefit from it.

The centre-back started the first five games of the season but suffered set-backs then as first a controversial red card in a defeat to Shamrock Rovers in April and then a fracture in his wrist allowed others stake their claims to start ahead of them.

He has started just four games in all competitions since returning from that injury, but has also featured regularly off the bench.

With vice-captain Rob Cornwall suspended for tonight’s short trip north to face Drogheda United, Meath man Finnerty is hoping he can be afforded an opportunity from the off once more.

As a result of rescheduled fixtures due postponements during Bohs’ European run and international call-ups, games will be coming thick and fast between now and the end of the season, with six between now and the end of September for starters.

With James Talbot returning from international duty with the Ireland senior team, Andy Lyons, Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney returning from international duty with the Ireland U21s, and Bohs winning the SSE Airtricity SWI Player of the Month for three months running through Georgie Kelly, Devoy and Ali Coote, the talent in this Bohs team is there for all to see.

But now those who have been waiting patiently are looking to use the challenge of a congested fixture schedule to show what they are capable of too.

Finnerty said: “We have a lot of games coming up but we are looking forward to them. That is why we have a good, strong squad.

“I started most of our games at the start of the season but then when I got injured and missed a few games, the lads came in and did very well.

“Ciarán Kelly and Rory Feely have both been excellent.

“We have good competition for places as we have throughout the team, and that is what we will need during this period – players ready to step in when called upon.

“For me personally I am ready for whenever that next chance comes, whether that is tonight, Monday or Friday.”

The memories created from that run in the European Conference League has refocused the squad’s ambitions to be back on that stage again next year.

Finnerty said: “Those nights at the Aviva were special and something that has to spur us on now. It showed what we are capable of, and we are determined to get back and compete at that level again.

“We have to take it one game at a time with so many games coming up we can’t look any further than tonight.

“But with every game we play, we go out determined to move up the table and to progress in the cup.”

For tonight’s game, Bohs will be roared on by travelling fans for an away game for the first time since the onset of the pandemic as another bit of normality returns.

All 200 of Bohs’ away allocation were snapped up online in 15 minutes, and Finnerty was keen to stress how much having supporters back in the stands and on the terraces has meant to the team.

Finnerty added: “The fans have been first class. It means everything having them back in the grounds behind us again. The atmosphere at the Rovers game was unreal, and even the Sligo game before it meant a lot.

“At the three Aviva games, it felt like we had 20,000 or 30,000 fans behind us.

“They made so much noise. It was unbelievable, so it’s great to have them back on the road with us again now too.”


Vice-captain Rob Cornwall is suspended for accumulated yellow cards.

New signings Roland Idowu and Cole Kiernan join up with the squad for the first time.

Preview: Bohemians v Sligo Rovers

SSE Airtricity League
Sunday August 15 2021
Dalymount Park, 3pm
Live on

Bohemians have now proven they can compete at a higher level but manager Keith Long has warned that they need to prove they can do it domestically once more if they want to dine at the top table again.

The Gypsies’ European journey came to an end in Thessaloniki on Thursday night as PAOK won 2-0 on the night, wiping out Bohs’ remarkable 2-1 win in the first leg at the Aviva Stadium nine days previously.

Having run the Greeks so close in both games, management and players viewed the tie as a missed opportunity to progress further and test themselves again once more.

But they and fans alike will look back on the past six weeks as one of the most enjoyable periods at the club, becoming the first League of Ireland side to win four consecutive games in Europe delivered with it immeasurable highs that will live long in the memories of all involved.

After an uncertain 16-month absence, the sheer joy of fans and the team being together as one for the first time since the onset of the pandemic under the roof of the Aviva Stadium will be cherished forever.

And for supporters to witness three successive victories at the Aviva against quality European opposition is something none of them will ever forget.

The challenge now is to attempt to put all of that firmly out of mind as Long’s side look to claw back lost ground on the chasing pack as they aim to qualify for Europe once more.

That will be easier said than done as they face Sligo Rovers, who are seven points ahead of them in third place.

Liam Buckley’s men, despite being on a bad run currently, have had Bohs’ number this season too with a 3-1 win at Dalymount Park in April and a 4-0 win at the Showgrounds in June.

Long said: “We want to play in European competition, it is very important for the progression and direction of the club that we learn from nights like Thursday.

“Everybody has enjoyed the journey in Europe. Now we have to get back to basics domestically and make sure we get back into Europe next season.

“We are good enough, the squad is good enough. We have to try and bounce back now. We can’t let a set-back set us back any further.

“We have dropped points now after European games against Longford and Waterford already so cannot dwell too much on Thursday.

“We are playing Sligo, a team we haven’t beaten yet this season, and a team that is a competitor of ours looking for a European spot.

“We have to refocus, rechannel our energies and get the team as motivated as we possibly can.”

Long and his players are keen to deliver for the supporters too. That much is clear from his comments on Thursday night.

Speaking shortly after the game, Long said: “The supporters have been absolutely unbelievable for us, particularly in the Aviva Stadium where we have been able to get them back in their numbers.

“The support that they have given the team has been absolutely fantastic and it is appreciated by everybody and it is not lost on us.

“We have given the supporters a little bit of hope and we don’t want to take that away from them. We want to give them belief in this team and we want to make sure that we are right back where we want to be next year and that’s in European competition.

“We have lots of targets and objectives still to meet. There is plenty of the season still to play for. There are a lot of games to play, and there is plenty to be won and lost.

“Our number one objective is to bounce back against Sligo.”

Reflecting on Thursday’s defeat immediately afterwards was no mean feat, but Long was brutally honest in his initial assessment.

He said: “We had every chance to go through. When we analyse the game and look back on our performance, we gave away two bad goals.

“Yes we were playing against top quality players, worth a lot of money. But we are disappointed with the goals we conceded and the chances that we gave away.

“We are disappointed we didn’t progress. We can’t defend like we did in key moments against a team of PAOK’s ability.

“In the second half we had two really good chances to get back into the game which would have really changed the atmosphere in the stadium and perhaps the outcome of the game.

“For all the talk the head didn’t affect us too much, our fitness levels were good but ultimately we didn’t take the game to extra time.

“Overall, ultimately as a collective, we are going to look back and feel we lacked a bit of belief in ourselves to win the tie.

“We can look back in the future with a bit of pride with how we have played over the campaign, but we had chances ourselves and we will look back at it as a missed opportunity too.”

The challenge for Long and his team now is to make sure they are in the hat for further opportunities in European competition next season.


Stephen Mallon (hip) returned for a role off the bench against PAOK on Thursday. But Promise Omochere (quad) remains out, while Ciarán Kelly is unavailable.

PREVIEW: Waterford v Bohemians

SSE Airtricity League
Saturday August 7 2021
The RSC, 2pm
Live on LOITV

While fans might be looking ahead to Thursday’s Europa Conference League qualifier return leg away to PAOK in Greece, Bohemians players have pushed that out of their thinking and are fully focused on getting a result in Waterford today.

Tyreke Wilson has enjoyed a healthy battle for the left-back berth this season with Anto Breslin -. the duo push each other all the way.

When it comes to the Europa Conference League games, Wilson got the nod for the first two games against Stjarnan, but Breslin has been the starter for the past three since.

Like everyone in this Bohemians squad, however, Wilson is a real team player.

He came on against PAOK on Thursday for the final few minutes and, after that whetting of the appetite, is hoping he will get another opportunity to display what he is capable of against his former club Waterford at the RSC today.

Wilson said: “It was a great feeling on Tuesday. We fully respected them but we had our own game-plan and we stuck to it.

“We said before the game that we had to focus on our own performance and we did that. We are going over there with something to play for but we are not getting carried away.”

That is about as much as Tyreke or any Bohs player wants to talk about Thursday’s game at this stage.

Having dropped points against Longford Town the last time a league game was sandwiched between a European tie, they do not want to leave anything to chance.

Wilson said: “Whatever team Keith puts out, we have players in every position who are determined to go out and get the right performance to get the right result.

“If Keith makes changes, it is up to everyone who is given an opportunity to seize it. It is not going to be an easy game. Waterford are a much-improved side from the team we played earlier in the season.

“They have won their last four games, so they are one of the form teams in the league at the moment.”

As well as wanting to deliver on the pitch, Wilson is delivering off it too.

He said: “Yeah! I started with An Post a few weeks ago as a postman and I am really enjoying it.

“I’ve clocked up some mileage over the last few weeks! It has given me a better routine too.

“With us training in the evening, you can fall into bad habits during the day so I am enjoying the discipline of having to get up early and having that routine. I think it’s good for me and I am enjoying it so far.”

Manager Keith Long echoed the need to focus fully on today’s game and to push out any distractions thinking ahead to Thursday.

Long said: “We said at the end of the game on Tuesday that our focus had to shift to Waterford.

“The boys came off the pitch on Tuesday full of adrenaline. They were pleased. But that is over now and we cannot dwell on that too much.

“That might sound boring when people are getting excited about European games, but we want more nights like we had on Tuesday. That doesn’t happen unless our league form is looked after.

“Waterford have made significant changes over the past month or so, and they have won their last four games, so we are in for a real game and we need to deliver a big performance.”


Promise Omochere (quad) and Stephen Mallon (hip) are doubts.


Europa Conference League Third Qualifying Round First Leg
Tuesday August 3rd, 2021
Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm
Live on LOITV (€10)

Keith Long has done his homework on tonight’s opponents PAOK but says the focus is on Bohemians’ own game-plan and not that of the visitors.

The Bohs manager has encouraged his side to relish the challenge of testing their abilities against a team of great European pedigree, and urged them to be true to themselves.

Long said: “We are facing international players who have been in the Europa League group stages and are used to success at this level.

“The Greek League is not one of the biggest leagues in Europe but it is a very strong league with a big history and tradition with the likes of Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, AEK Athens and PAOK.

“We have given our players as much information as we possibly can without putting the fear of God into them!

“But can’t be overly preoccupied with the opposition. We want to remain true to ourselves and play the way that we want to play.

“There is no point in coming here if we are not prepared to test ourselves, if we just want to shut up shop, get bodies behind the ball and contain and counter.

“We can do all that type of stuff and we still might lose, so we’ve got to try and be true to ourselves, and we want to try and impose ourselves on the opposition.

“We believe we have good technical players who can take command of the ball and look for the ball in tight spaces.
“Obviously PAOK are a highly technical team, so we have to trust and believe in our processes and in what we do.

“We have to believe in our game-plan and the structure we play in. Outside of having the ball, we know what we want to try and do.

“There will be times when we have to absorb pressure and soak it up, but we have to make sure the team is organised.

“But when we have the ball, we have to be able to keep it and play through a press, and try to get our attacking principles and players into the game.

“Imposing ourselves on the opposition will be difficult but that is the challenge for us as a group.

“I shouldn’t be sitting here if I don’t have belief in the team and if I don’t have belief in myself as a manager. That’s the challenge for us.”

Leading the team out once more will be captain Keith Buckley, who dominates today’s newspaper coverage of tonight’s game after the 29-year-old, who has always sought to avoid the limelight and prefers to do his talking on the pitch, gave rare media interviews in the club’s pre-match press confrence yesterday.

The modest captain, making his 302nd club appearance tonight, has always led by example but has driven the team forward to another level in the Europa Conference League qualifier wins against Icelandic side Stjarnan and Luxembourg side Dudelange.
The respect and admiration Long has for his skipper, both on and off the pitch, is clear.

He added: “Where do you start? Fantastic work-rate and work ethic. He is a fantastic fella to have around the place.

“He leads by example, not just on the pitch, but how he behaves off it too.

“Bucko has a full-time job, but that’s neer been an excuse for him. He comes in ready, trains hard and he has improved as a player too.

“He’s in his 30th year now. He has had loads of games under his belt, he had a milestone last week of 300 appearances for the club, which is a huge testament to him and how he looks after himself.

“It is hard to put into words how influential he has been around the group.

“He is our captain, was vice-captain under Derek Pender, and he has been anboslutely integral to everything we have tried to do in my time at the club.”


Promise Omochere (quad) and Stephen Mallon (hip) remain doubts.

Preview: Bohemians (1) v Dudelange (0)

Second Qualifying Round Second Leg
Thursday July 29 2021
Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm
Live on 

Keith Long believes Bohemians need to raise the bar once more tonight if they are to get past Dudelange in the Europa Conference League.

Ross Tierney’s 11th-minute goal in Luxembourg last week gives Bohs a slender 1-0 lead going into the return leg at the Aviva Stadium.

Bohs were the better side in the first half on that occasion, particularly in the opening 20 minutes, but Dudelange piled the pressure on in the second half, so Long has an idea of what to expect from them tonight.

But he believes his side have more in the tank too.

He said: “The game is finely poised as we take a slim lead into this tie after a disciplined away performance from the boys.

“We started the game brightly in Luxembourg and went ahead through a Ross Tierney goal after a brilliantly-executed pass from Dawson Devoy to pick out a clever run from wide by Ali Coote.

“Ross was on hand to fire home after the ball spilled loose from their goalkeeper.

“Not for the first time this year, Ross was alert to give us the lead. He is thriving on the responsibility of contributing goals and assists but also benefiting from the foil that is Georgie Kelly whom again I felt provided us with a platform up front.

“It was a disciplined team display but we feel we can play better than we did on the night.
“That’s not to take anything away from the players – results in Europe are hard to come by, especially away from home so we can be nothing but pleased with the result.

“I feel, however, that we will need to raise the bar again with performance to progress as Dudelange will absolutely embrace coming to Dublin and will feel they have more than a fighting chance.

“They are a good team with some good technical players and plenty or European experience, so we will be taking nothing for granted and understand the size of the task we face tonight.”

The 6000 in attendance roared Bohs to a 3-0 victory against Icelandic side Stjarnan at the Aviva a fortnight ago as club members, season ticket holders and the wider fanbase were united under the one roof for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Long and Co are counting on supporters to raise the roof once more tonight.

He added: “It is absolutely fantastic to see we have sold out the 8,000 capacity and we are looking forward to the colour and atmosphere which was generated two weeks again.

“The supporters deserve nights like this and we as a group want to play in important games.

“That support is crucial tonight and will be vital if we are going to progress. The togetherness of this club is really something we can cherish and be proud of.

“The players will never underestimate what this club means to all Bohemians supporters and they will fight every minute as they represent you on the pitch.”


Stephen Mallon (hip) and Promise Omochere (quad) are doubts.

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