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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.


Bohemian FC wishes to thank all members, season ticket holders and supporters for their understanding with regard to the selling of tickets to Friday’s FAI Cup semi-final.

Members wishing to purchase additional tickets and season ticket holders took time out from their day to queue for considerable periods on Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Cross-checking of membership cards/season ticket numbers by club volunteers necessitated this being a drawn-out process.

The board and our volunteers present on the day want to put on record the respect shown by those queuing for the club’s efforts to distribute tickets as fairly as possible given demand far outweighed supply due to Dalymount’s current reduced capacity.

The aim was for all tickets to find their way as much as possible into the hands of our regulars. We do know that some people were left disappointed that they didn’t get a ticket and for that we can only apologise.

It had initially been stated that season ticket holders could buy an additional ticket. Due to the high turnout coupled with the fact tickets were also put aside to be purchased by our first-team players and our most loyal sponsors, there was a fear on the day that demand would exceed supply if season ticket holders could also purchase additional tickets than their own.

In hindsight this was probably unnecessary, but we felt it was better to be safe than sorry. We hold our hands up there and apologise to anyone who was inconvenienced by that precaution.

Similarly, it had originally been stated that general sales of tickets would commence at 3pm.

The decision, which we believe was the correct one, to bring this forward was based on counting the number of people queuing in Dalymount Lane and that figure outnumbering the remaining tickets left to sell.

We didn’t want those already queuing to have to wait any longer when it was unnecessary for them to do so nor did we want people travelling to Dalymount when there were no tickets remaining.

While it was a drawn-out process, the unprecedented queues in Dalymount Lane, the reaction of our members and supporters, captured so well by Stephen McCarthy of Sportsfile, added to the sense of community and to the growing sense of occasion for Friday’s game.

So once again, from all at Bohemian FC, thank you for your continued support. See you on Friday.

Bohemians supporters purchase tickets for their FAI Cup Semi-Final v Shamrock Rovers

“How these players have come in and performed gives me great hope”

SSE Airtricity League
September 20 2019, 7.45pm

Keith Long is hoping Bohemians can deliver some teenage kicks in Derry City tonight.

Bohs come into the game with a continuing injury crisis. Keith Ward (knee) returns but the Gypsies are set to be without Darragh Leahy (ankle), Danny Mandroiu (hip), Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Conor Levingston (groin) once more as well as long-term absentees Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate), while Robbie McCourt has decided to leave the club.

The mounting injuries have seen young guns such as 19-year-old Ryan Graydon, 18-year-old Ross Tierney and 17-year-old Dawson Devoy fast-tracked into the first team.

All three have come through the Bohs-SKB League of Ireland youth teams and started in the 2-1 defeat at home to Waterford a week ago, retaining their places for the 2-0 FAI Cup quarter-final win against Crumlin United
Long said: “We have had our hand forced with the number of injuries we’ve had. These lads are playing out of necessity.

“As I said before we know this is the business end of the season and the priority for us is results at this point and not development.

“But how these players have come in and performed gives me great hope for the future.

“They will be better players from this experience and we will be all the better for it as a club as well.

“We’ve had so many players out that it can be difficult to put a shape or structure to things at times but the lads have come in and coped really well with the demands put on them.

“It shows we are progressing as a club. We have quality young players who really want to play for Bohs. They have an affinity for the club and they want to express themselves. They are all working extremely hard but we have to be patient with them.

“As well as the lads coming in for the first time now, it is easy to forget the age of some of the others because they have been around the first team for so long.

“Danny Grant 19, Luke Wade-Slater 21, Andy Lyons 19. Scott Allardice looks older but he’s only 21. Rob Cornwall is an elder statesman in the team and he’s only 24!

“They put in a professional performance against Crumlin. We could have scored more but they are a good side and it was a potential banana skin so I was pleased with the result.”

While the performances being put in by the young guns are a source of great pride, youthful inexperience can also be punished. That was the case against Waterford and would a concern against a team of Derry’s quality.

Long said: “We have to eradicate mistakes at the back. Our early-season run was build on being solid at the back and being hard to beat. We’ll need that again tonight to get a result in the Brandywell.”

It is a mammoth two weeks for Bohs. They are currently in third on 49 points but have played one more game than the Candystripes, who are just two points behind.

And next week Bohs host Shamrock Rovers in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup looking to make the final having gone so close to reaching it last season.

Long added: “It’s going to be a huge occasion. Derry are having a great season.

“We have great numbers travelling up behind us again, which is hugely appreciated by us all. We’ll need that support too as the Brandywell will be bouncing.

“We want to be involved in big games. It’s a difficult place to go at the best of times but there is a real enthusiasm at Derry City again under Declan Devine so we will have to be at our very best.

“Last year. We had momentum second half of the season which carried into the start of this season.

“We’ve faltered slightly at times in recent months. Injuries have come at bad times for us which has been frustrating.

“But we are third in the table, in the semi-final of the cup and everything is in our own hands.”

Crumlin United v Bohemians - FAI Cup Quarter-Final


Uefa Youth League
Wednesday October 2 2019, Dalymount Park, 7.30pm

Bohemian FC invites all Bohemians youth team coaches and players, those of our partners at St Kevin’s, as well as all SSE Airtricity League underage teams (U19, U17, U15, U13) to attend our Uefa Youth League tie against PAOK next month.

As two-in-a-row U19 league champions, Craig Sexton’s Bohemians U19s host the Greek side at Dalymount Park on Wednesday October 2 with a kick-off time of 7.30pm with the return leg in Greece three weeks later.

Last season Bohs lost out 4-2 on aggregate to Danes FC Midtjylland, 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 eventual winners Porto.

Former Bohs U19s/Bohs-SKB underage players Andy Lyons, Danny Grant, Paddy Kirk, Ross Tierney, Ryan Graydon and, most recently making his league debut last week, 17-year-old Dawson Devoy, have all made the step-up to first-team football at Bohemians this season and last.

Other notable graduates from our U19s include Warren O’Hora, now with Brighton, and Ali Reghba, who joined Leicester City in the summer.

Bohemian FC U19 manager Craig Sexton said: “Following Cork City and UCD before us, this is now the fourth successive year that our country has had a representative in this competition.

“That is something our league as a whole can be proud of and is the pinnacle of any player’s club career at underage level.

“It is a credit to the competitive environment of our U19 League and to the hard work being done by the coaching staff at youth level at our own club and alongside our partners at St Kevin’s but also at all League of Ireland clubs to develop players and set new standards.

“We hope the Bohemians underage players and those of our partners at St Kevin’s will come to the game and see it as something to aspire to.

“But it is also an occasion we wish to share with those working and playing at elite underage level at all clubs in the League of Ireland and we have today written to all clubs how to avail of free tickets for their teams.”

Clubs who wish to avail of free tickets for the game are asked to mail Luke O’Riordan at as soon as possible.

Craig Sexton and Dawson Devoy - Stephen Burke


Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers
Friday September 27, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

We are aware that demand for tickets for the upcoming FAI Cup semi-final between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers will far outweigh supply.

We look forward to the future redevelopment of Dalymount Park when we will be able to accommodate more supporters.

But in its current reduced capacity, Bohemian FC wishes to ensure, as much as we can, that our members, season ticket holders and Dalymount regulars get priority for a game of this magnitude and that tickets do not fall into the hands of touts.

With that in mind, no tickets will be sold online. We understand that no online sales is an inconvenience to some, but we feel in this instance it is the fairest way of making sure as many Dalymount regulars get to see the game as possible.



Members do not need to buy a ticket in advance.

Members just pay €10 on stile on match-night on production of 2019 membership card as is normal for split gate cup fixtures.

Before tickets go on general sale, members can purchase a maximum of TWO additional tickets from Dalymount Park between 10am and 1pm this Saturday.


Season tickets and Junior Gypsies do not apply for FAI Cup games.

However, tickets will go on sale for season ticket holders and Junior Gypsies from Dalymount between 10am and 1pm on Saturday before they go on general sale.

Again there is a limit of two tickets per season ticket holder.

Junior Gypsies can purchase one child ticket only (no extra kids tickets or adult tickets).

Note: Do not attempt to buy a ticket during the 10am to 1pm window if you are not a member, season ticket holder or Junior Gypsy. Membership card numbers and season tickets will be checked. 


Tickets go on general sale from Dalymount Park on Saturday 3pm-7pm.

The limit of two per person is non-negotiable and please respect our volunteers on the day.

In the unlikely event of tickets remaining after Saturday, we will provide further time slots.


Ticket arrangements for away supporters will be announced by Shamrock Rovers in due course.

Andy Lyons is congratulated on his goal against Crumlin Utd by skipper Derek Pender


Monday September 16 2019, Richmond Park, 8pm

Keith Long wants a big travelling support at Richmond Park tonight as they look to reach the semi-finals of the FAI Cup for the second year running.

Bohemians travel to Inchicore to take on Leinster Senior League side at the home of St Patrick’s Athletic with a home semi-final against Shamrock Rovers on Friday week at stake.

Kick-off is 8pm but congestion is expected so it is advised to arrive early.

Bohs have ridden their luck against First Division sides in this competition. That fact coupled with a mounting injury crisis means nobody in the first-team set-up will be taking tonight’s opposition lightly.

In the first round, Long’s men found themselves 2-0 down against Shelbourne as late as the 85th minute but grabbed the tie by the scruff of the neck to win it 3-2 in injury-time.


The goalscorers that night – Keith Buckley and Danny Mandroiu – are among seven players likely to miss out tonight because of injury.

Mandroiu and Darragh Leahy’s involvement with the Ireland U21s’ Euro 2021 qualifiers against Armenia and Sweden was one of the reasons for this tie not taking place on the scheduled weekend of September 6/7/8.

Cruelly, their involvement with the U21s saw them both pick up injuries that now sees them miss tonight’s game anyway.

As well as difficulties against Shelbourne, in the last round, Bohs needed a penalty shootout to progress against Longford Town.

Crumlin are a side with League of Ireland pedigree throughout their team.

Dean Kelly – Bohs’ two-goal hero in the memorable 3-1 2015 Dublin derby win over Shamrock Rovers famously captured by Copa 90 – is in their ranks. So too are fellow former Bohs men Craig Walsh and Conor Murphy.

Other players of note include Robbie Brady’s brothers Liam and Gareth in midfield as well as John Sheridan, a consistent performer in the Premier Division for many years most memorably in spells with Bray Wanderers and Galway United.

Long said: “Crumlin have good players. They would more than hold their own in the First Division if not more. They’re a settled team who will fancy having a go at us.

“We are favourites and rightly so. It is a tie we are expected to win. But we have to give Crumlin the respect you give every team as they do have players who can hurt you. Our performance has to be right.

“It’s a cup quarter-final. We all want to progress. Crumlin will have a big support out for them and it’s vitally important that we bring a big crowd over behind us from the start as well.”

Bohs’ 2-1 defeat to Waterford on Friday was disheartening in respect of the side’s efforts to consolidate its position in third place.

They remain there for now thanks to St Pat’s drawing with UCD at home and Derry City not having a league game at the weekend due to their involvement in the EA Sports Cup final where they lost on penalties to Dundalk.

But while Friday’s result rankled, there were many positives to take from the performance.

Andy Lyons, 19, at right-back won the official man-of-the-match award from RTÉ but there was a starring role in the centre of the park from 18-year-old Ross Tierney and an encouraging full debut from 17-year-old Dawson Devoy alongside 19-year-old Ryan Graydon.

All four came through either the Bohs U19s and Bohs-SKB U17s.

Another man who came through the Bohs U19s was Danny Grant, who despite not training all week due to a viral infection, made an immediate impact off the bench, receiving a pass from Devoy to set up Tierney to slot home for Bohs’ only goal of the game.

The average age of the starting Bohs team was 21½. Take captain Derek Pender out, it was 20½.

While Bohs and St Kevin’s have rightly earned plaudits for the progression of young players coming through from Bohs-SKB LOI teams through to the U19s and on to the first team, on this occasion the extent of youth and inexperience on show was by necessity rather than design.

Long said: “We’re at the business end of the season when results matter more than development. But with the injuries we have at the moment, our hand was forced.

“Our defending for the goals wasn’t good enough but I was proud of how many of the lads did. A lot of the players unavailable are across midfield. It’s a big step-up from U19s to first-team football and it takes players a while to adapt but the lads who have played did very well.

“Ross has come in a few times and he’s done very well for us and Dawson is only a boy at 17 but did well and this will stand to him. They tired a bit towards the end but that is to be expected. They are not yet used to the tempo and intensity of first-team football.

“Scott Allardice was excellent too. He’s had to be patient to get a chance in the team but he showed what he is capable of on Friday.”


Bohs are without Darragh Leahy (ankle), Danny Mandroiu (hip), Keith Buckley (hamstring), Keith Ward (knee), Conor Levingston (groin), Dinny Corcoran (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate).

Skipper Derek Pender salutes Ross Tierney's goal against Waterford on Friday - Stephen Burke

“We have some very good young players at the club and more coming through”

SSE Airtricity League
Friday September 13 2019, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Match sponsor: Techsure. Matchball sponsor: The Hut

James Talbot say Bohemians need to trust themselves from the start in games to consolidate their position in third place.

With six league games remaining, Bohs have amassed 49 points, two more than Derry City and three ahead of St Patrick’s Athletic.

Last time out against tonight’s opposition Bohs needed an injury-time from Michael Barker when the sides met in the RSC.

Bohs are missing some key men tonight in midfield but Talbot believes there is quality to step up.

Talbot said: “Waterford have talented players and we will show them respect. We have to be right from the start and we need the crowd behind us.


“Every game for us between now and the end of the season is a cup final.

“I’ll take three points any way you get them. Obviously getting that winner down there in injury-time was a great moment but injury-time winners aren’t great for the heart!”

An ever-present in the league this season, Talbot was one of several regular starters left at home as an experimental side travelled to Scotland where they lost out 3-2 to Airdrieonians in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Scottish Challenge Cup.

The tournament is considered an unnecessary headache by some but having psyched himself for his Bohs debut in the competition in February only for the tie against East Fife to be called off due to a frozen pitch, Talbot was one player who fancied a crack at it.

He laughed: “It was the tournament I was supposed to make my debut in so I wanted to go to Scotland, I wanted to play!”

But he knows there is bigger priorities ahead. Every point at this stage of the season is crucial and he hopes his team-mates can build on their positive second half performance against Shamrock Rovers a fortnight ago.

Bohs’ eight-game unbeaten run against Rovers game to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Tallaght Stadium but the manner in which they finished the game was encouraging.

Talbot said: “It was disappointing to lose a derby but there were positives to take from the second half. We hit the post, we had balls cleared off the line so it was disappointing not to get something from it.

“We need to start games better than we did against Rovers. We need to trust ourselves to play with the belief from the start.”

While many first teamers got a weekend off last week – two of Bohs’ key men were representing their country in the Ireland U21s’ European qualifier wins against Armenia and Sweden.

Darragh Leahy has been an ever-present at left-back for the Ireland U21s under Stephen Kenny this season, while fellow ex-St Kevin’s man Danny Mandroiu got a chance to show what he can do on the international stage when he was sprung from the bench in Tallaght against Armenia last week before starting in Sweden on Tuesday.

Their involvement came at a cost though, with Mandroiu forced off with a hip injury that sees him ruled out tonight.

That has added to the selection headache with Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Keith Ward (knee) also missing out while Conor Levingston (groin) is a major doubt.

Talbot is no stranger to representing his country at international level. He has won caps at youth level and his early-season form was rewarded with a call-up by Ireland senior team manager Mick McCarthy for the Euro 2020 qualifiers doubleheader against Denmark and Gibraltar.

Until this season, the last Bohemians player to be capped at U21 level was Paddy Madden in 2009 so for the club to have two starring for them now is an achievement.

And with four Bohs-SKB players capped for the Ireland U17s’ friendlies against Russia in Spain in the last week, it is hoped we won’t have to wait another decade for further players to be honoured at U21 level.

Talbot added: “The two lads were buzzing. Darragh is such a good pro and that’s why he’s been in every team for Stephen Kenny.

“The two of them were outstanding. Danny showed his quality too. It’s great to see them get that recognition and do so well representing us for Ireland.

“That’s what you want, you want to see Bohs players being around international teams and to develop and push on further.

“We have some very good young players at the club and more coming through – the likes of Rossie Tierney and Dawson Devoy will hopefully be in contention down the line.”


Darragh Leahy and Danny Mandroiu return from international duty but the latter is set to miss out with a hip injury sustained in Ireland U21s’ win over Sweden on Tuesday.

Keith Buckley (hamstring) and Keith Ward (knee) will also miss out while Conor Levingston (groin) is a major doubt.

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

Bohemians v Cork City - EA Sports Cup Quarter-Final


Bohemian FC and St Kevin’s Boys FC feel we have no option but to respond to accusations levelled at us on social media in recent days with regard to the U17 Mark Farren Cup semi-final forfeited by Bray Wanderers-St Joseph’s Boys FC.

There appears to be a concerted effort by some to offer a narrative, which has quickly gained traction, that we feel is lopsided and at times disingenuous in relation to why this tie did not proceed.

Before countering some of the points made, we wish to put on record our regard for those involved with both Bray Wanderers and St Joseph’s Boys.

Only last season, Bray Wanderers looked to be staring into the abyss and unlikely to survive as a League of Ireland club.

Niall O’Driscoll and St Joseph’s rescuing of a proud club is one of the all-too-rare number of good news stories in our league of late and those efforts deserve more credit than they have received to date.

Like Bohs’ link-up with St Kevin’s, both Bray Wanderers and St Joseph’s have tried to make the most of the at times challenging new departure of schoolboy clubs linking up with League of Ireland clubs to forge partnerships to enable a pathway between youth and senior football.

The Bohs first team twice travelled to the Carlisle Grounds last season. In May, the club seemed to be on life support. When we met again in October, the contrast could not be overstated. It had quickly returned to its original community-orientated ethos and we were welcomed with warmth.

Bray Wanderers have clearly been reinvigorated under the stewardship of Niall and the partnership with St Joseph’s – two clubs close to the heart of our first team manager Keith Long, who cut his coaching cloth at both.

With that regard in mind, the tone of some of the comments emanating from some at both clubs in recent days has been a source of disappointment.

The timeline below will be tedious to most but given how we feel the integrity of those involved in the Bohs-SKB U17 set-up have been impugned by some of the online commentary, we feel it necessary.

Jimmy Mowlds, our manager at U17 level, is one of our most dedicated and honest servants. He has been a constant understated force behind the scenes in the success stories of underage players making it through from the Bohs-SKB underage teams right through to our first team over the past number of years.

His contribution to development of both talent and character is something he does not get enough credit for. We are not prepared to have his reputation and that of his backroom team and set-up tarnished.


Wednesday August 14: Bohs-SKB U17s lost to St Patrick’s Athletic in quarter-finals of Mark Farren Cup. It later transpired St Pat’s had fielded a suspended player and the result was overturned. Bohs-SKB were on the wrong side of a similar instance last season at U15 level when we won on the field against Shamrock Rovers but had the result overturned for the same reason. It is always hard to take and we fully empathise with St Pat’s.

Tuesday August 20: Bohs-SKB U17 manager Jimmy Mowlds received a call from a representative of Bray-SJB trying to arrange the semi-final fixture. Their suggestion was August 27 as Carlisle Grounds was available then. Bohs-SKB did not feel it appropriate to arrange a date until FAI disciplinary committee had made a final decision on whether St Pat’s or Bohs-SKB would compete in semi-final.

Thursday August 22: FAI indicated fixture should not be played on Tuesday 27 as Pat’s could yet appeal disciplinary decision.

Friday August 23: FAI indicated St Pat’s were not appealing and to go ahead and plan for Tuesday 27. Despite Bohs U19s having a semi-final that night, which impacted on player availability for U17s, a Bohs coach being off sick, another being unavailable due to work commitments, we agreed to proceed on August 27.

The alternative offered was Wednesday September 4 when we would have at least four players away with the Ireland U17s in Spain and another on standby.

Monday August 26: A Bray-SJB representative made contact to say they could not put a team together to play our fixture the next day. If this was the case, why would they allow players from their squad to go to the UK for trials when they knew they had a semi-final? No answer to that has been forthcoming. At 6.45pm the FAI confirmed Bray-SJB had no team to play the next day.


We sought clarification: What did it mean for fixture? We were obliging in agreeing to the original date in the first place. And, given it had been three days since Bray-SJB’s last fixture, why was notice regarding their inability to fulfil tie so late?

We were told that if we agree to a refix then we would have to play it three days before the then scheduled date for the final at the end of the month and on the day our four players away on international duty returned home.

We questioned why it was down to us to make the decision rather than the league.

We believe we were put in a position we shouldn’t have been. We had agreed to the date they had insisted on and it wasn’t our responsibility to resolve an impasse that was entirely of their making.

If we were to agree to another proposed refixture date, it would have been when six members of our U17s were away with the Bohs U19s in the Uefa Youth League as well as occurring during the week of the play-off section of the league. We would be in as bad – if not worse – position as Bray-SJB were for the date they reneged on.

Bray-SJB asked us to play on a date that was entirely inconvenient for many of our coaches and players. We went to considerable trouble to arrange transport/lifts for players coming from Dundalk, Portlaoise, Longford, Navan and Kildare to get them to Bray for 6:15pm on a Tuesday evening for this game. All of which was for nothing.

Since last week, members of Bray-SJB management took to twitter to slate Bohs-SKB for not allowing them to reschedule the game, ignoring any of the issues mentioned above.

They even set up a survey asking other coaches/clubs what they would do in our position again without giving the full facts of what actually happened.

Why would Bray-SJB insist on a date that they couldn’t fulfil given they have been suffering injuries over a number of weeks unless it was to gain an advantage over us with our U19s playing on the same night? (There has been an average crossover of 4-5 players between our U17s and U19s in recent months.)

Why would you allow players attend UK trials on the same week you fix a semi-final?

Why were the U19 and U17 semi-finals fixed for the same time and date? This shouldn’t happen again and shouldn’t be the call of clubs.


It is always our objective that results are decided on the pitch. We empathise with St Pat’s for the sanctions imposed on them having their quarter-final result overturned.

The semi-final not being contested is regrettable but we feel we have acted appropriately in our efforts to accommodate it.

While this episode has left both parties frustrated, Bohemians and St Kevin’s hope to draw a line under it and look forward to maintaining our good relationship with both Bray Wanderers and St Joseph’s.

Both clubs will always be welcome visitors to Dalymount Park and Shanowen Rd/St Aidan’s.

Jimmy Mowlds addresses Bohs-SKB U17s

Audio Description Football

Football is your passion. You go to every match. You never miss a game. Football is in your blood. Now imagine you lost your sight. What would you do?

The reality is that there are over 54,000 people living with serious visual impairment or blindness across Ireland and this number is growing.

Many of those people affected by sight loss are isolated and alone and have even stopped accessing their favourite pastimes or hobbies.

If you have a passion for football, how can you go to your local game when you can’t see the play or what’s happening?

Good news: NCBI is now working in partnership with Bohemians to enable people with sight loss to support their local team through audio description.

James Flanagan, Recreation and Fitness Coordinator from the Iona Resource Centre, will provide audio description of the matches whilst being seated with blind and vision impaired supporters so that once again they can enjoy the passion of the game.

Flanagan explains: “Everyone should have access to sport, regardless of disability. Bohemians is my local team and I am excited at the prospect of enabling people with sight loss to support their local team. Sport should be accessible for everyone.”

When someone has being diagnosed with a sight impairment, they have already suffered the loss of their sight, nobody should have to lose anything else from their life, and certainly not the enjoyment they get from supporting their local game.

If you – or someone you know – have stopped attending Bohs games due to sight loss, please get in touch. We want you and can support you!

If you are interested in partaking in this scheme please contact

See Irish Times article for more or listen to Ray Darcy show segment.

Daniel Lambert, James Flanagan and Ray Darcy

“It’s a good opportunity for players to show what they can do”

Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Scottish Challenge Cup
Saturday September 7, Excelsior Stadium, 1pm

The involvement of Irish clubs in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Scottish Challenge Cup has come in for much criticism and derision.

Even the name of it seems to invite a sneer.

But for Robbie McCourt, the competition formerly known as the IRN-BRU Cup, already holds fond memories and represents an opportunity for him and many like him to stake their claim for first-team football.

Glasnevin man McCourt, a product of Bohs’ partners St Kevin’s Boys, returned home last summer after three years with West Brom.

And it was in this competition that McCourt made his first-team debut in a 1-0 win away to Peterhead this time 12 months ago.[t0ggle title="READ MORE"]

Ali Reghba, who signed for Premier League Leicester City in July, did likewise.

McCourt, 21, said: “I played 80 minutes and I enjoyed it. Ali made his debut in that game too and look at him now.”

Both were then thrust into league action a fortnight later in a Dublin derby against St Pat’s. McCourt bagged one and Reghba netted twice in a 3-1 win in Richmond Park.

McCourt said: “Yeah that was a good game, an enjoyable one for me and for Ali getting the goals. That’s where I kind of announced myself as a Bohs player and I want to be able to do that again.”

Players of similar inexperience could find themselves sampling first-team football for the first time tomorrow with the carrot of further opportunities dangling in front of them.

With bigger priorities ahead, several regular starters have been left at home.

Instead, this tournament is being used as a chance to give those on the fringes of the first team some game-time and to expose some of the U19s to first-team football.

Six of Craig Sexton’s current U19 squad – Seán Bohan, Mitchell Byrne, Alex Kelly, Ross Tierney, Brandon Bermingham and Dawson Devoy – are included in the travelling party who made the journey today from Dublin to Belfast to get a ferry to Cairnryan and coach onwards to Motherwell where they will stay overnight tonight.

McCourt said: “It’s a good opportunity for players to get a chance to show what they can do, to make a name for themselves. The lads coming up from the U19s tomorrow and who might get an opportunity know it’s a chance to play themselves into the reckoning.

“Everyone in the group want to win this competition. It’s something different but I think it’s a good tournament. There’s some good teams in it and we’re coming up against opposition we wouldn’t otherwise.”

While McCourt is a fan of the tournament, not everyone is so keen.

Scottish clubs and media alike have questioned the merit – and expense – in inviting League of Ireland, Irish League, Welsh League and English Conference teams to compete in it.

Last season Bohs were the first League of Ireland club to win a tie in the tournament and went one further to reach the quarter-finals by beating English side Sutton United in a dramatic penalty shootout.

The fact that the quarter-final tie was scheduled to take place after the League of Ireland season had finished invited further scrutiny as to the benefit of Irish clubs’ involvement.

Bohs’ offer to extend their season to accommodate the last-eight tie against East Fife being played in November was ignored by many of the detractors in the Scottish media, however.

The Gypsies instead agreed to a date in February, despite it being in pre-season and thus weakening their chances of progression. But much to the dismay of supporters who travelled over from Scotland, the tie was called off due to a frozen pitch minutes before it was due to kick off.

Running out of available dates to fulfill the tie and with the League of Ireland kicking off a week later, the decision was made to withdraw from that season’s tournament.

None of that has served to endear Irish clubs’ involvement to a skeptical Scottish football family.

In Ireland, similar doubts exist.

The fact the FAI Cup quarter-finals are scheduled the same week as when Irish clubs are supposed to compete in the Scottish Challenge Cup is a source of much frustration.

Many argue – convincingly – that Irish clubs’ participation in the Scottish Challenge Cup taking precedence over the last-eight of the FAI Cup is an insult to the country’s premier cup competition.

It is particularly frustrating considering the same scheduling clash occurred last season. Once was perhaps understandable, but for it to happen a second time is hard to fathom.

Ultimately international call-ups to Derry City players last season meant that FAI Cup tie would not proceed on the scheduled date anyway.

Similarly, Ireland U21 call-ups for Danny Mandroiu and Darragh Leahy this time around mean Bohs’ FAI Cup quarter-final against Crumlin United would not have proceeded this weekend either.

But if Irish clubs are to continue in this tournament, the scheduling of the FAI Cup ought to be addressed and given the respect it deserves.

None of those concerns will come into the players’ thinking when they line out tomorrow. It is a chance to play their way into Keith Long’s first-team plans.

McCourt added: “I haven’t played much but when I do play, I like to give my all for the team. It’s a chance to show what we can do. Hopefully I can get in and play as many game as I can.

“We’ve important games coming up in the league and cup between now and the end of the season and you want to play in those.

“Obviously it can be frustrating not playing but the lads who have been there have playing very well. The likes of Keith Buckley and Conor Levingston, they have a good partnership so it’s been hard for me and the likes of Scotty Allardice to get in.

“When we have got in, I think we’ve played well but with such good midfielders it’s a difficult task to stay in the team.

“But the best thing about this group is that everyone pushes each other. In training we’re all on to each other the whole time as we all want the best for the team.

“That’s why we’ve done well so far this season and we want to continue that and push ourselves even further.”[/toggle]

Dundalk v Bohemians - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

Sexton wants Dalymount Roar behind U19s in Uefa Youth League

Bohemians U19 boss Craig Sexton wants the Dalymount roar behind his side in the Uefa Youth League next month.

In Nyon, Switzerland, yesterday the Bohs U19s were drawn to play Greek side PAOK in the first round of the Champions Path of the competition.

The Gypsies are at home first at Dalymount Park on Wednesday October 2 with the return leg in Thessalonica three weeks later on October 23.

The winners of the tie will face Dynamo Kyiv of Ukraine or Shkëndija of North Macedonia in the following round.

Sexton said: “We don’t know a whole lot about PAOK yet but we obviously know their first team has been quite successful in European competition.


“So it’s a massive game against a club with big European calibre. It’s a huge honour and opportunity for our players. They’re testing themselves against the very best in Europe at their age.”

A crowd of 1600 got behind the Bohs U19s in Dalyer last year for the second leg of their Uefa Youth League tie against Danes FC Midtjylland.

There was a sense of realisation for supporters and members of the club of the hard work being done behind the scenes at youth level.

Bohs Honorary Secretary Stephen Lambert, Bohs-SKB Technical Director Alan Caffrey and Bohs U19 boss Craig Sexton at yesterday's draw in Nyon

Bohs Honorary Secretary Stephen Lambert, Bohs-SKB Technical Director Alan Caffrey and Bohs U19 boss Craig Sexton at yesterday's draw in Nyon

That is from Sexton’s U19s all they way down through to the player pathway partnership teams with St Kevin’s at U17, U15 and U13 level and beyond at both clubs, with the proof being in the success stories being brought through to Keith Long’s first team: the likes of Warren O’Hora, Andy Lyons, Paddy Kirk, Daniel Grant, Ali Reghba, Ryan Graydon and Ross Tierney among others.

Sexton’s side are chasing a third league title in a row, hold a 14-point lead in the Northern Elite Division and have also qualified for the final of the Enda McGuill Cup once more where they will face Shamrock Rovers.

But representing the country in the Uefa Youth League is the pinnacle of their achievements and a chance for the players to show what they can do on an international stage.

Sexton said: “We got a big crowd behind us at Dalymount last year and we’ll need that again. Now that people have seen what we can do last year we might get an even bigger crowd.

“We’ll be up against a side with good pedigree so a big support behind us at home in the first leg will be important.”

Sexton and his staff are still exploring the logistics and travel arrangements for the return leg.

He said: “Travel-wise, it’s going to be a challenge for us. It’ll be a long way to go for the team but that will be part of the experience.”

Last season Bohs lost out 4-2 on aggregate to Midtjylland, who subsequently knocked out giants Roma and Manchester United before bowing out against eventual winners Porto.

Sexton’s selection options were curtailed last year due to the competition’s complicated player eligibility rules and was forced to raid the Bohs-SKB U17s and U15s to fill his substitutes bench.

Sexton said: “Last year was a hugely positive experience for management and players and their development. We all learned a lot from it.

“We don’t have quite the same issues regarding eligible players this year so we will have a larger pool to pick from this year, so thankfully we have more options than we did last year, but we will still look to include some U17s.”


Craig Sexton and Alex Kelly - Stephen Burke
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