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All the latest club news and updates from Dalymount Park.

THE WEEKENDER: APRIL 19

BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR

There are arguably two games worthy of being televised this weekend, With Derry City hosting Shamrock Rovers and St Pat’s welcoming runaway leaders Sligo Rovers. While the league table is to a certain extent looking a lot like people would have expected pre-season, it may be that with fixtures piling up for some teams, we may start to see more draws and less teams pulling away at the top or being left adrift at the bottom so early.

Tommy Dunne is protesting around the amount of travelling his team are doing but he would rather be in the Setanta Cup than not in it, and he has proved capable of maintaining his squad’s conditioning, winning 2 games and taking 9 points from the first 7 games.

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Tonight Cork face a Shelbourne team who sit at the bottom of the table, level with UCD on one solitary point. These are the only 2 teams Bohs have beaten this season and having seen both sides, there probably isn’t a huge gap between them and ourselves. With that in mind, and the fact that Cork played in Tallaght on Monday, it might be time to back Shels to get something from this trip. The one point Shels have this season came against Shamrock Rovers where they were able to dig in for a draw, so maybe they can look to repeat that tonight down by the Lee. The draw is

Back to matters at the top now, and just how serious a title tilt are Shamrock Rovers going to have this season? They lave left a lot to do, but a win for them tonight in Derry coupled with defeat for Sligo in Inchicore would cut the deficit to nine points – still something of a mountain to climb. For all their draws this season, Shamrock have the longest unbeaten run of any team in the league, but the prices look correct for their trek to Derry, where the home side is marginal favourite. This of course wouldn’t have been the case at the start of the season but people have had their views challenged by Rovers inability to kill games until last week’s win against Bray.

Although it would throw the title race wide open, and Sligo’s defeat in Drogheda proves they’re beatable, a home win in Inchicore is difficult to back. Pat’s have an inferior squad to Sligo and need every player in top form to be able to turn them over. Again nothing stands out at the prices. It will probably be a low-scoring game, and if there is a winner it could be by one goal perhaps in the final quarter of the game where quality players on either side could take advantage of a defensive slip.

The Drogheda v UCD game looks a fairly straightforward home win but UCD ran Cork close and Drogheda aren’t yet the sort of team we’d be comfortable tipping up at odds shorter than 1.5. They will have their appeal to some on the handicap markets, but this isn’t a sure thing either. UCD may keep this tighter than people think, for longer than people think.

Moving onto our own game, there are always reasons to take note of recent trends, and there are also reasons why we sometimes want to ignore recent trends. Our home games this season, in terms of total goals, have been 3,0,3,4. Dundalk’s last 8 away games have seen over 2.5 goals so perhaps this is the bet for tonight’s game. 2/1 the home win might see some interest but this goals bet is a better one. Losing Feely and McMillan to transfers, and Heary to injury means that we are not remotely the same team defensively as we were last season, and Dundalk have the tools to score at Dalymount. With Lyons back though, we should score as well.

Bray and Limerick complete the weekend’s fixtures on Sunday and there is nothing worth getting involved in here.

Recommended:
Cork City v Shelbourne draw, 1pt 4.24 (Pinnacle)
Bohs v Dundalk over 2.5 goals, 1pt 2.38 (Hills)

WKNDR

DERBY COUNTY TO KICK OFF PRE-SEASON AT DALYMOUNT

Bohemian FC is pleased to announce that Derby County will play Bohemians in a friendly at Dalymount Park on Saturday 13th July.

This fixture was confirmed today (19th April) as the first game in Derby County’s pre-season schedule for the 2013-14 season.

The Rams, managed by Nigel Clough, are currently mid-table in the English League Championship with five matches to play.

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Their squad includes five players who have represented Republic of Ireland at under-21 level: goalkeeper Saul Deeney, defenders Richard Keogh (club vice-captain) and Mark O’Brien, and midfielder Jeff Hendrick and forward Conor Sammon (pictured), who both recently made their first full international appearances.

Details on ticket sales for this match will follow.

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CALLAGHAN: THIS IS A RESULTS INDUSTRY BUT I JUDGE OUR GAMES ON THE PERFORMANCES

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK (Friday April 19th, KO7.45pm)

Bohemians come to Friday’s game against Dundalk looking to make amends for an injury-time defeat to Limerick on Tuesday.

After that game, “it was tough to be in the dressing room”, said manager Aaron Callaghan. “The lads know themselves they should have got something out of the game.”

Despite three defeats in four games Callaghan is encouraged by the individual and team performances.

“I know this is a results-based industry. But I judge our games on the performances. I believe if you get the performances right, by and large the results will follow,” he said. “There’s nothing that a couple of wins can’t sort out.”

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“The lads are working really hard in training and we’re trying to address those issues of concentration and communication,” he continued. If Bohs cannot get on a winning run “it won’t be for lack of effort”.

There were lots of positives in the team’s display on Tuesday, insisted Callaghan. Midfielder Shane Murray in his first league start was “brilliant” and he is “a fantastic prospect”.

Striker Kevin O’Leary was brought on late, and “we thought he might nick it for us”. He had scored a hat-trick in an earlier friendly against Irish Universities, and is showing promise and an eye for goal.

“I thought we dominated that game and were much the better side but sometimes the lie of the land just isn’t with you. It’s a cruel game. We were pegged back with another goal of the season contender [as with the first goal of the game against Derry City],” said Callaghan.

With Michael Barker and Shane Murray in for David Mulcahy and Stephen Paisley, the team’s average age dropped and youthful inexperience was a factor in the final outcome.

Callaghan and his coaching team, including a psychologist, will be giving more attention to the mental aspects of the game as they seek to eliminate the costly errors, but also to ensure the goal-scoring opportunities are taken.

“Seventy per cent of the game can be in your mind, and we have to address that,” said Callaghan. “One good thing about Tuesday’s game was that we probably had more chances than in any other this season. We changed the system a little to get more players forward, and I felt it worked.”

There may be some personnel changes for Friday as Chris Lyons (ankle) returns from a month-long lay-off, perhaps taking a place on the bench. Captain Owen Heary (knee injury) remains out.

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ALL TWO EASY FOR 10-MAN LIMERICK

LIMERICK 2 BOHEMIANS 1

A last-gasp header from David O’Leary gave 10-man Limerick a 2-1 win over Bohemians in Thomond park last night, writes ROBERT O’REARDON.

Ryan McEvoy had given the Gypsies the lead from the penalty spot on 56 minutes after Keith Buckley was fouled by Patrick Nzuzi, which also resulted in a red card for the left-back.

But it all turned sour five minutes later as Shane Treacy caught out Dean Delany at his near post with a free-kick before O’Leary pounced on another goalkeeping error to hand all three points to his side in stoppage time.

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Aaron Callaghan’s side should have taken the lead right the beginning when Kevin Devaney was presented with a great opportunity after a mix-up in the Limerick defence between Aaron Brown and goalkeeper Barry Ryan. But the 22-year-old, who usually keeps his composure in front of goal, couldn’t do so this time.

Despite that setback, Bohs began to dominate the game and it was Shane Murray who was looking the most impressive in the centre of the park. A darting run and a superb ball to the back post from the Arklow man should have found Devaney but once again the former Finn Harps and Sligo player failed to convert as the ball just evaded him.

After a pretty uneventful first half, the game sprung into life in the second. Limerick began to get on the front foot and a powerful shot from Daniel Galbraith tested Dean Delany but the Bohs No 1 held on.

Then, Bohemians struck the first blow. A diagonal ball found its way to Buckley. The No 7 was getting ready to shoot when he was tumbled over from behind. Alan Kelly was left with no option to point to the spot and show Nzuzi a red card. McEvoy stepped up and side-footed the ball past Ryan in the Limerick goal.

Bohs seemed to be in the ascendancy but five minutes after taking the lead, Shane Treacy stepped up and fired a free-kick past Delany. It beat him at his near post; the ex-Shelbourne stopper really should have done better. After this, the home side began to take control, despite Callaghan introducing Dave Scully and Kevin O’Leary into the fold.

Limerick had numerous chances to win it before they finally sealed the deal as Bohs seemed to run out of ideas playing against 10 ten men. Brown wasted a golden opportunity after he fired wide from a Treacy cross but, against the run of play,  Scully should have been the Bohs supersub when he found himself in on goal, but he blasted over the bar.

That was the last chance for the Gypsies as Treacy delivered a ball into the six-yard box. Delany opted to stay on his line and for the second time of the match, his poor positioning proved costly as David O’Leary was left with the easiest of headers to nod to back of the net as the home crowd erupted.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Aaron Brown, Stephen Folan, Patrick Nzuzi; Shane Tracy, Stephen Bradley, David O’Leary; Axel Bossekota (Rory Gaffney 66), Craig Curran, Danny Galbraith. Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Shane Costelloe, Val Feeney, Pat Purcell, Steven McGann, Darragh Rainsford.

Bohemians: Dean Delany; Michael Barker, Roberto Lopes, Derek Pender, Luke Byrne; Keith Buckley (Karl Moore 86), Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, Shane Murray (Dave Scully 69) Ciaran Nangle; Kevin Devaney (Kevin O’Leary 78). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Conor O’Brien, Stephen Paisley, Dwayne Wilson.

Referee: Alan Kelly.

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CALLAGHAN: WE NEED TO KEEP OUR CONCENTRATION

PREVIEW: LIMERICK v BOHEMIANS (Tuesday April 16, Thomond Park, 7.45pm)

Bohemians face their nearest rivals in the league table when they play Limerick FC at Thomond Park on Tuesday.

This first match in 11 days starts an intensive round of games for Bohemians, with seven over the next 24 days.

Manager Aaron Callaghan is apprehensive about the impact on the players of matches following each other so closely. “I never got a call on the scheduling. The matches just seem to be arranged and there’s no discussion.

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“But we’ve got to go and we’ve got to play. We’ll just have to call on the full squad if necessary.”

Callaghan’s squad had a friendly against Irish Universities since their last league game. “It was a good competitive game and we won it very well, plus we got a full game for a lot of lads who haven’t played for a while.”

The squad have also worked hard on correcting what caused the home defeats by Sligo Rovers and Derry City. “We played well in those games for long periods, passing the ball well,” said Callaghan. “But it’s keeping the concentration that matters. A few key moments have cost us.”

The Bohemian manager notes that Limerick’s form has been similar to his own team’s, dropping points by narrow margins.

“They have been getting a lot of draws, and they came back with a late goal in their last match.

“They seem to be finding their way in this league but they’ve brought in some experienced players and they carry goal-scoring threats. We will need to be at our best to get a result.”

Bohemians will be without striker Chris Lyons (ankle) and captain Owen Heary (knee) on Tuesday, though Lyons may make it back for the following game.

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SAVED BY THE BELVO

Roberto Lopes has had major responsibilities thrust upon him at 20 in the centre of Bohemians’ defence. He is striving to repay the manager’s confidence in him, he tells BRIAN TRENCH.

When the history of Bohemians in this decade is written, the club’s recruitment from Belvedere in 2009 and 2010 may well be seen as a decisive moment. Several of those who moved from Belvo to Bohs at that time have become part of the senior squad’s core – Stephen Traynor, Keith Buckley and Roberto Lopes.

Lopes was just one season at Belvedere when he appeared in the shop window for Pat Fenlon and the coaches of Bohemians’ under-20 team. He had cut his teeth at Lourdes Celtic and had three years at Home Farm.

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At Bohemians, ‘Pico’ progressed rapidly, becoming captain of the under-20s while still 18. In that team, he enjoyed two highpoints of his still-short career, when he led Bohemians to an extra-time defeat of Shamrock Rovers in the Leinster Senior Cup in 2011, and was called up to the Republic of Ireland under-19 squad in the same year.

“We fielded a reserve side and Rovers had a really strong team. On paper we had no right to win the game. It was a very special moment.

“To be called up to the under-19 international team came as a shock. I was told to be on standby and I didn’t really think more about it. But, with people dropping out through injuries, I got a call and had to move quickly. It was a great experience to see how things are done at that level. Once you get the taste for it you want more.”

Lopes has made occasional appearances at left-back and in midfield but this season he has appeared consistently alongside Owen Heary or Stephen Paisley in the centre of defence, “my most comfortable position”.

In pre-season interviews, manager Aaron Callaghan expressed confidence that Lopes would make a major step-up in 2013. “I have to take it as a compliment that the manager gives me praise like that,” says Lopes. “But if he has that faith in me, I have to pay him back for it.”

Lopes believes Bohemians can no longer seek shelter in the view of Callaghan’s team as a young side. “That label is an easy way to make excuses for ourselves. There are other teams, like Cork, that are also young. We need to grow up fast and move forward as quickly as we can.”

He has “mixed feelings” about the team’s performance so far this season. “We have got off to a better start than last year and picked up more points but we have taken two bad defeats to Sligo and Derry, with bad performances.

“But we can feel ourselves growing and with the experience of those two defeats behind us, we can build again.”

Being often in the last line of defence before the goalkeeper, Lopes may be in the spotlight more than others when errors lead to goals. “There have been errors that have cost us games that we might have won, or nicked a point in. We do go over these things and analyse them. Talking about it is the main way to make sure they don’t happen again.”

Lopes believes Bohemians “can push very close” to a European place, a Setanta Cup spot or a cup trophy. He has tasted cup success already this year with Dublin Institute of Technology, where he is a second-year student of leisure management currently on placement in the college as a sports officer. Lopes’s extra-time goal put DIT into the final of the CUFL (Colleges and Universities Football League) Premier League, where they defeated DCU.

“I value the education I am getting very highly and the football is a bonus. I don’t take it as seriously as the league football but we got on well as a squad and it was a great feeling to become champions, especially when there were really good teams like UCD and Carlow IT in the competition.”

Lopes’ commitment to Bohemians is part of a family contribution. His younger brother, Jacques, is a full-back with the under-19 team, and his chef father, Carlos, prepares the Thursday evening meal that the players and coaches enjoy together at Dalymount Park.

Through his dad, Lopes is eligible to play for Cape Verde, a country of half-a-million people that has reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations this year. The national team includes players in the Portuguese league and other leading European leagues, while those who might have declared for Cape Verde but have chosen Portugal include Nani and Eliseu.

Whatever about future international honours and affiliations, Lopes expresses his ambition in football clearly: “I just want to play at the highest level I can. If I can make a career out of it, and if that means getting an opportunity to play in England, that would be brilliant. But I am realistic with my goals. I just want to be playing football.”

The next challenge for Lopes will be keeping his place in the team when Owen Heary returns from injury. “That’s another improvement this season. We have good competition for places across the team, with two players for nearly every position. It keeps people on their toes.

“Obviously, with me being the youngest it would be easy to say I would be the first out. But it’s not really like that. If you keep up the effort in training, you’ll get your opportunity and it’s up to you to keep it.”

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THE WEEKENDER: APRIL 12

BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR

The 2013 Sligo Rovers hurricane shows no signs of slowing down, with an easy home win over Shelbourne last weekend following an easy away win at UCD the week before that. Plenty of punters will look at their fixture this weekend though, and wonder if Cork City have the requisite class to put a stop to the Bit o’Red gallop. Cork (W2 D3 L1) would seem to be a team who can provide a stern test for Sligo, who may not be too disappointed to collect a draw.

The above does not mean to suggest that it is time to oppose Sligo in the betting markets yet though, the signs being that for the moment they are just too hot to bet against. Indeed it might take a twist or two of bad luck such as injuries or refereeing decisions before Sligo begin to drop points with any regularity.

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Over at Tolka Park, Shelbourne entertain Drogheda and although Drogs have not quite hit the highs of last season, they have only been beaten once and will not be the ideal opponents for a Shels team who are “due a big performance” and “due some goals”. There is every possibility that Shels will continue on the woeful run that has seen them pick up just one point all season, and the away win is worth backing here at 11/10 with Hills.

Last week we had a handy bet on both teams to score on the plastic pitch in Dundalk as they again came from behind to draw, this time with Limerick. They face Derry City on the same surface this week. Derry looked comfortable at the back in their facile win at Dalymount last Friday night, and indeed have conceded just two goals all season, joint-best in the division along with Sligo. Dundalk, however, are building some decent home form and should be able to bring in the bet again.

Elsewhere in the league, favourite backers have what looks like an easy double to pile into. St Pat’s Athletic travel to UCD and Shamrock (who have drawn their last five league games) host Bray Wanderers. It would be unwise to assume Mark Quigley is going to provide the messiah in Tallaght, and we all know St Pat’s haven’t been the most reliable of odds-on favourites this season, so although we aren’t opposing the two favourites, we’re not convinced they deserve to be as short as they are.

Next up for us is a trip to Limerick, where the home side have proved difficult to beat. A draw here wouldn’t be the end of the world for Bohs. The home draw with Shamrock Rovers is our only stalemate of the season so another one here would probably be welcome.

Recommended:
Drogheda, 1pt 2.10 (Hills)
Dundalk v Derry both teams to score, 1pt best available odds

WKNDR

BRAY DATE CONFIRMED

Bohemians’ EA Sports Cup Rd 2 tie v Bray Wanderers has been confirmed for Monday May 20 at Dalymount Park (KO7.45pm).

ALL ABOARD THE BOHS BUS TO LIMERICK

The Bohs bus heads to Thomond Park for the first time ever as the Gypsies travel take on Limerick FC on Tuesday April 16th.

Check-in is from 3.30pm. The bus will leave Dalymount at 4pm sharp and return straight after the game. The cost is €18 return.

To put your name down, mail bus@bohemians.ie.

Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel

To celebrate the launch of Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, EA invaded the Airtricity League for Bohemians’ game against Sligo Rovers and gave away a console and copy of the game.

Bohemians FC “Army of Two” took on support from Sligo Rovers, with themed Army of Two cards hidden in both the home and away sections on the night. Two lucky fans from each club teamed up and went head to head at half-time in a test of skill!

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve now got our hands on FIVE COPIES of the game to give away on our Facebook page!

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Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, players find themselves on the war-torn streets of Mexico as Alpha and Bravo, two operatives working for Tactical Worldwide Operations (T.W.O.), fight for justice against a dangerous cartel. Featuring both online and split-screen co-op, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel gives players the chance to distinguish themselves from their friends by providing a deeper and more advanced upgrade and customization system.*

For your chance to win one of five copies simply answer the following question correctly on our Facebook page:

Q) What is the name of the latest addition to the award winning Army of Two franchise?

  • A) The Devil’s Cartel
  • B) The Rovers Returns
  • C) The Rebel Army

*This is an over-18s game – winners must be 18 or over. Deadline for entries is 10pm Sunday April 14th. Winners will be drawn at random by a Bohemians player.

EA
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