“I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!”

Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League

Saturday July 27 2019, The Showgrounds, 8pm, live on eir

Rob Cornwall’s determination to play for Bohemians ended up contributing to a longer spell on the sidelines.

But back in training and ready for selection once more, he is ready to redouble his efforts to win back his place in the team.

Unusually, the famous story of Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing through the 1956 FA Cup final with a broken neck drove Cornwall on to play through the pain barrier.

Cornwall was a mainstay in the heart of the Bohs defence alongside James Finnerty at the start of the season, playing 11 games of which he contributed greatly to James Talbot keeping a clean sheet in eight of those.

After a somewhat stop-start and injury-interrupted 2018 compared to the high standards he had set a year previously in his debut season for the club, Cornwall was determined to keep that run going.

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That drive ended up costing him, however.

An Achilles injury has kept him out of action since the end of April and with Talbot keeping three clean sheets in his last four games, those who have come into the team in his place have fared pretty well of late.

Cornwall, 24, admits: “I had tendinitis in my Achilles. It just felt a bit sore, so I played on with it.

“I felt it about ten days before the Derry game away in April. Then I felt it again playing against Derry but I didn’t want to come off, I just wanted to keep playing.

“I kept thinking ‘what’s wrong with me?’ It’s just a bit sore.’

“I don’t know why this went through my head but all I could think about was that goalkeeper who played on in the cup final with a broken neck, so I didn’t want to come off with just a sore foot!

Bert Trautmann

Bert Trautmann

“I just wanted to get on with it and that probably made it worse.

“The staff have been great at the club. Our physios Paul Kirwan – Paul is an expert in this particular area – and Robbie Murray have been first class with me, so I have to thank them, Cathal Murtagh (strength and conditioning coach) and Remy Tang (club sport scientist).

“I’m back training now and my objective is to get fit and back into the team when an opportunity comes. I’m back training since last week and fully back this week.”

But winning back his place in the team now will be trickier than one would have expected earlier in the year.

His form then was such that he was probably one of the first names on Keith Long’s teamsheet each week.

His absence was felt too – Bohs went on a run of six league games without keeping a clean sheet. But they’ve shored up since with those tasked with filling his place in the side stepping up to the plate.

Cornwall admits: “The lads have done really well. I’ll have to bide my time to get an opportunity.

“We’ve some very good defenders at the club. With myself and Aaron Barry being injured, Michael Barker has come into the team and has done really well.

“He’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my opinion but he’s done so well people are starting to realise just how good he is now.

“Barks was unlucky at the start of the season getting injured himself but he’s got into the side now and has done really well. I’ve seen it in training, so it’s no surprise to me.

“Then you’ve had Darragh Leahy play centre-half recently. To move from left-full to centre-half and do so well is impressive.

“He was brilliant against St Pat’s… I was cursing him. I might have to change position to get in the team they’ve done so well.. maybe there’s room in midfield.”

Bohs travel to Sligo buoyed by 3-0 Dublin derby win against St Patrick’s Athletic on Sunday.

It was an encouraging performance from Bohs, particularly in the second half, but certainly not as emphatic a performance as the scoreline suggested.

Sligo beat the Gypsies in their last meeting with a sucker-punch in the 89th minute to win 2-1 in Dalymount Park back in May, so they too are not a side that Bohs will underestimate.

The previous meeting between the sides at The Showgrounds in April saw Bohs travel home happy with three points and a 2-0 win in a game that Cornwall was sent off in for a clumsy last-man challenge.

“We still kept a clean sheet though,” he is at pains to point out and adds: “Every game for us from now until the end of the season is a tough one. We’ve got ourselves into a good position but we have to be at it every game to stay there.”

“Sligo have already beaten us this season. Liam Buckley has won everything there is to win as a manager in this league so we know we are in for another tough game.”

TEAM NEWS

Derek Pender and Danny Mandroiu return from suspension.

Aaron Barry (hamstring), Rob Cornwall (Achilles) and Danny Grant (hamstring) all returned to full training last week, with Grant coming off the bench against St Pat’s on Sunday, and all are in contention against Sligo.

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

Andre Wright could be included in squad for first time after international clearance came through on Thursday.

Andy Lyons has returned following Ireland’s exit from the Uefa U19 European Championships but is likely to be rested.

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