Preview: Dundalk v Bohemians

Declan Devine wants to send Bohemians fans home from Oriel Park tonight with smiles on their faces.

While the new manager is using the remaining games of 2022 to assess his squad ahead of a closed season rebuild, he also wants Bohs to get back to winning ways.

His managerial reign kicked off with a 2-2 draw against Finn Harps at Dalymount Park last week but he wants to go one better tonight against Dundalk.

Tickets for tonight’s game remain on sale and can be purchased here.

Devine said: “I want to see who has the characteristics for when we rebuild but we cannot look down our noses at two games when our supporters are there to see us perform.

“We want to provide the platform for our fans to have a good weekend!

“We haven’t been able to beat Dundalk this season, which is not good enough. We have got to be challenging the top teams.

“Oriel Park can be a notoriously difficult place to go but over the years Bohemians have had a good record there, and we want to get that back.

“Things haven’t gone as well this year as previous years but there are still two games to play for and from my point of view when you represent this club, you have got to give everything to get results.

“That will be no different in Oriel Park. Dundalk are in good form chasing that European place. But we want to see from our players whether they have the characteristics I need for them to be here next season.

“I’m looking forward to the game. I will expect a reaction after what was a relatively poor performance last week but one that was full of determination, full of effort and full of people working hard for one another.

“We need to step up from what we have dished up the last couple of weeks. We need to work harder than the opposition. When you go away from home, you have got to make sure you stay in the game.

“Over the last two games, we have made basic mistakes that have really cost us, so we have to nullify those mistakes.

“But we have also got to be brave and enjoy our football. We want to go and perform well.

“We have to make, first and foremost, ourselves hard to beat, which hasn’t been the case.

“But it is a new day. I want players to show leadership and moral courage in terms of getting on the ball in a difficult venue and trying to play.”

Devine knows he has a big job over the coming months to assemble a squad for 2023 capable of competing with the teams ahead of them this year. Every current player is on trial for the final two games of the season.

He said: “We have got good footballers – there are good players in the team lacking confidence. But it’s a new dawn for the team so they need to put the past behind them and go and show that the club means something to them.

“Pressure is to be embraced. Players have got to enjoy the fact that they are at the top level of Irish football. The pressure that comes with that is a privilege.

“When things have not been going well, it tells you a lot about character and who is going to roll their sleeves up.

“We have some very talented young players too who, over the next two games, will get opportunities.

“I have come down with an open mind and to assess where we are at in terms of the playing side of things.

“That is something that will continue between now and until the end of the season.

“I will be sitting down with all the players seeing what their thoughts are and what my thoughts are. But ultimately my main concern this week is to go and try to win a football match.”


Bohemians are without the injured Jon McCraken, James Talbot, Ryan Burke, Laurenz Dehl, Tyreke Wilson, John O’Sullivan, Chris Lotefa, Johnny Afolabi and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, but Liam Burt is available once more.

Declan Devine: This is the People’s Club – we have to get a team that reflects that

Ahead of his first game in charge of Bohemians, Declan Devine has said that he wants to build a team that reflects its people.

The Derry man, 49, was announced as manager of the men’s first team this day last week, started in the role on Monday and, tonight, he will take his place in the home dugout at Dalymount Park for the first time when Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps provide the opposition.

Devine said: “I am very privileged to be here as the footballing figurehead of such an amazing club with such history and tradition. This is something that I am extremely proud of, but, as I said already, it’s something that I do not have time to celebrate.

“There is a huge amount of work to do over the coming days and weeks to get a team ready for next season, but we also want to finish this season on a positive note.

“I’ve only been in the door for four days, but I have loved absolutely every angle that the club is coming from. People are stopping me on the street to wish me good luck. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

“I’m planning on being here as long as I possibly can. I’m going to surround myself with people who want success. I’m going to surround myself with good people – people who love the club – and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to fill this stadium on a regular basis.

“We have got to make this a really difficult place for everybody to come to and enjoy our success in terms of winning individual games and building towards winning trophies, producing our own players and entertaining our supporters.

“I want that rapport; all as one with the players, the fans, the backroom team, the board, everybody. And we drive this place on to get the success we need.

“I have met people who have the heart and soul of this club in their own hearts, and that is something that really appeals to me and that I can relate to.

“I want passion and the people behind the scenes here have so much passion. I want work ethic and the people behind the scenes here have so much work ethic.

“This is the People’s Club – we have to get a team that reflects that.

“We have to have a team that is ready to fight for every inch out here. We have to have a team that represents the people paying their hard-earned cash and the people doing all these hours behind the scenes. They are the lifeblood of this club.

“But the top of that pyramid is the first team and we have to improve all aspects of the footballing side. I’m here full pelt to work and help everybody make the club a complete success.”

Devine is driven to recapture that work ethic and determination – a hallmark of Bohs teams throughout his predecessor Keith Long’s tenure but that has fallen far short this season – with the ultimate goal of bringing success back to Dalymount.

He said: “We’ve got to strive to bring silverware to this club. We are in a position this year where it hasn’t been good enough; a position in the league that we should never be in.

“I’m here to build a squad over the next year or so that’s really going to compete at the top end of the table.

“You see the investment that some of the clubs at the top are investing in the game at the minute but, for me, it’s about good people; having good people around you, who want to represent this football club and leave everything on the pitch.”

Devine will use the final three games of the season, starting with Harps this evening, to assess this season’s squad ahead of a rebuild in the closed season.

He said: “Right now, all I’m interested in is the next three games. I want to see that we have people here willing to stay here and fight for the jersey, fight for the fans, fight for their careers and be here long term. And if we can do that we can certainly build towards winning silverware.

“There are good lads who have maybe been dragged down a little bit this year and have lost a bit of confidence and lost a lot of self-belief.

“There are very good players here that, yes, we want to keep and we will assess that over the coming weeks.

“But the games and results don’t lie. So I need to look at who wants to stay at this club first, why they want to stay, and also who I want to stay and build my team around.

“I want to play the most attractive style of football that we can but we have got to get the right players to do that. We have got to have good recruitment. We have got to make sure that the players fit into the way that I want to play. We want to entertain, but we have to get the right people in who fit the mold.

“It’s a new dawn in January when we go properly full time. We have got to improve, we have got to get better. We have got to make sure that everybody who is here, whether it be staff or players, buys in 100,000,000%.”

One of those who will give that in spades is prodigal son Keith Buckley, who Devine yesterday announced as his first signing for 2023 on a three-year contract.

Buckley, 30, previously amassed 318 appearances for the first team in all competitions and will come back home this winter after a year abroad in Australia and be reinstated as captain straight away.

Devine added: “I’ve spoken to Keith on numerous occasions over the last week. His appetite, his love and affection for this club is everything I want.

“He’s coming straight in as my captain from today even though he’s in a different country. He is going to be on the WhatsApp groups. He’s going to be talking to the players.

“But look, that’s the type of DNA I want. This club has to mean more than just picking up a wage. It has to be ingrained that it’s about winning.

“Keith Buckley brings that in abundance. To say I’m delighted that he’s going to be here is an understatement. He’s everything that I want in my team.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have him as my first signing and I think it’s a statement of intent of where we want to go.

“I’ve said we want people who will fight for the club, and there is no better man.”

Please note that while the Jodi Stand is sold out for tonight’s game, tickets for the Des Kelly Stand remain on sale at


Bohemians are without the injured Jon McCraken, James Talbot, Ryan Burke, Laurenz Dehl, Tyreke Wilson, John O’Sullivan, Johnny Afolabi and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, while Chris Lotefa is a doubt.

Declan McDaid and Josh Kerr return from injury, while Jordan Flores is available again following his one-game suspension.

Preview: Bohemians v UCD

Bohemians got back to winning ways in the league against Finn Harps last weekend following their FAI Cup capitulation against Shelbourne – now Rory Feely says Bohs are determined to build on that and finish the year in form.

With little left to play for other than pride, six games remain for what has been a disappointing season.

Tonight Bohs, with a lengthy absentee list of nine players, face UCD with the Students scrapping for survival, one point off the bottom of the table.

Jodi Stand tickets are sold out, but Des Kelly Stand tickets remain and can be purchased online from or supporters can pay at the turnstiles.

Goals from Declan McDaid and a wonder strike from Jordan Doherty gave the Gypsies a 2-0 in Ballybofey on Saturday and Feely said: “We got back winning ways.

“Our main goal coming off the week previously against Shelbourne was that we needed performance and hard work, and with that hopefully the result would follow. It did in the end.

“It was a rough first half but much better in the second. We got to play some good football and scored a really good goal.”


That FAI Cup quarter-final against Shelbourne was seen as a golden opportunity for Bohs to salvage something from their season, so the manner of the 3-0 defeat against a team that had failed to beat them in four previous attempts this year was all the more galling.

Fans made their feelings known at the full-time whistle, while many others left the ground long before the game finished.

Feely believes that reaction was justified, and that it is up to the team to try win back support with performances on the field.

He said: “The reaction from supporters was deserved. The performance against Shels was by no means good enough.

“There was nothing we could look back at from that game that was positive. Nothing went right. The work-rate wasn’t there which is something we pride ourselves on.

“The fans’ reaction was justified. We had to react to that going up to Finn Harps. That was the only thing in our minds.

“We wanted to try and redeem ourselves, to ourselves as well. Coming off that pitch embarrassed, we had to change our mindset.”

The remaining six games will determine whether they have succeeded to do that.

Feely added: “All we can do now is try to keep the pressure on the teams above us and try to move up the table that way.

“UCD is a must-win game that we are expected to win. We have six games left to prove to ourselves our own ability. We know each other well enough now, we should be clicking.”


Bohemians are without Jon McCraken, James Talbot, Ryan Burke, Laurenz Dehl, Tyreke Wilson, James Clarke, Liam Burt, Johnny Afolabi and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.


Derek Pender is urging Bohemians to seize the day when they face Shelbourne in this afternoon’s FAI Cup quarter-final at Tolka Park.

Bohs’ league form has disappointed this year but they have a huge opportunity to salvage their season today.

Pender said: “Our morale is good despite the upheaval there has been in recent weeks. The players are excited about the games ahead.

“They are all determined to look forward instead of looking back.

“We know it is a massive game but the lads have trained well and are really looking forward to it.

“Shels are a good side. They are aggressive and they are a team that is together and that works hard for each other.

“This will be a difficult game as we know from our last game against them that they never give up. We will have to be at our max.”

Following the departure of Keith Long as manager, Bohs rallied and beat rivals and league leaders Shamrock Rovers 1-0 at Dalymount.

But they could not find a way past Derry City nine days ago despite a positive second half display following an unusual first half where both sides struggled to get a hold of the game, which was disrupted by a long stoppage due to an injury to Candystripes defender Ciarán Coll.

Pender added: “The first half against Derry was strange with the long stoppage.

“Neither team really got going – that bit of magic from Michael Duffy was the only bit of play anyone will remember from that half.

“But our second half performance was pleasing. We had chances to get something out of it. Ethon Varian forced a great save and Rory Feely went extremely close.

“The team worked extremely hard for one another, and they need to continue doing that.”


Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Johnny Afolabi (quad) and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (knee). Jordan Flores (hamstring) is available for selection once more.


Derek Pender has challenged Bohemians to prove last week’s win over the league leaders was not a flash in the pan.

Having struggled for consistency all season, Bohs face another tough task this evening when they travel to the Ryan McBride Stadium to take on second-placed Derry City.

They do so buoyed following an impressive 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers, courtesy of Liam Burt’s second-half strike, as Pender and Trevor Croly took charge of the team together for the first time following the departure of manager Keith Long.

Now Pender wants to see more of the same on Foyleside.

He said: “Last Friday was a great performance. There was a togetherness in our play that we felt had been missing. That was great to see and it was what we wanted from the players.

”Obviously it is one of those fixtures that it is easy for everyone to get themselves motivated for – the challenge now is to bring that into the next game.

”We need to see that. Each week for us between now and the end of the season is going to be another test of this group to see where they are at.

”We need to see performances like last Friday on a consistent basis. We need to keep going, and to keep trying to improve every week.”

Bohs went in at the break last Friday with the game scoreless. There was perhaps a fear in the stands that Rovers would go up a gear when the sides reemerged. Instead, it was Bohs who grabbed a hold of the game.

Pender said: ”There were signs in the first half that although we were playing well, that the players were playing with a little bit of a lack of belief because they were low in confidence after a difficult few weeks.

”We told them at half-time to go out in the second half and believe in themselves. Thankfully they did that, and thankfully we got that little bit of magic from Liam Burt to win the game.”

Bohs travel to the Brandywell with that much-needed confidence boost but know that they face another difficult challenge against Rúaidhrí Higgins’ side.

Pender added: ”We are under no illusions about this game. Derry have good players and are flying high in the league and aiming to win the league.

”We have been frustrated against Derry on occasions already this season where we’ve dropped points late in games where we felt we deserved more, so we know how difficult it will be.

”But this has been a much better week for us in terms of training and preparation.

”Obviously last week was difficult for everyone but Friday has given people a lift, and there has been great energy in the group in training all week. We want to build on that.”


Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Jordan Flores (hamstring) and Johnny Afolabi (quad), while Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (knee) and Jordan Doherty (hamstring) will be assessed ahead of the game.

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