PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v WATERFORD

Georgie Kelly celebrates - Stephen Burke

BOHEMIANS v WATERFORD
SSE Airtricity League
Saturday May 29 2021
Dalymount Park Park, 4pm
Live on WatchLOI.ie

A gut-wrenching and undeserved injury-time defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic last Friday spurred Bohemians on to deliver a five-star stylish victory against Dundalk on Monday.

The aim now is to match those heights consistently.

Waterford, who appointed Marc Bircham as their new manager just over a fortnight ago, are the opposition at Dalymount Park this afternoon in our final game before the brief summer break.

The visitors currently prop up the league table but the Gypsies will not be taking that for granted in the knowledge they have not beaten them in the five previous meetings in Dalyer since the Blues returned to the Premier Division in 2018.

Manager Keith Long said: “Hopefully we can follow up Monday’s win with a repeat performance.

“Waterford will be better prepared with Marc having more time on the training ground with his players, so we will have to produce a really good display and be ready for the challenge to get a result.

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“On Monday, we deservedly put a number on Dundalk and we were delighted with how clinical the team were on the night.

“It would have been easy for the team to lament the concession of a late goal in Inchicore last Friday when a superb team performance did not translate into points on the board, so in that context, our performance was really excellent and full of character.”

Georgie Kelly was the man of the moment as he went home with the match ball after a perfect hat-trick – left foot, right foot and header – in the 5-1 win against his former club.

Long said: “It is fair to say that Georgie needed the confidence boost and despite his overall performances being very good it is always good when your striker gets on the scoresheet.

“I think the reaction of the dressing room after the game when Georgie came in with the match ball spoke volumes as to the esteem he is held within the group and I hope Georgie will continue to grow in a Bohs jersey.”

Both the result and classy style of play were all the more pleasing given key men in midfield and the heart of defence were missing.

Long said: “Equally as pleasing was the team performance minus our captain Keith Buckley and vice-captain Rob Cornwall through injuries.

“To a man, the boys stepped up and despite whatever difficulties Dundalk may be experiencing at this time they are still a squad full of quality players so nothing should detract from what our boys did on the night.

“Rory Feely was majestic at centre=back and, alongside Ciarán Kelly who was also excellent, restricted Dundalk attacking threats to a minimum.

“Andy Lyons was superb at right-full and fully deserves his Ireland U21 call-up along with Dawson Devoy, whose performances defy his tender years and his development as a footballer of real substance is there for all to see.

“Conor Levingston coming into the engine room after a period out of the team again epitomised the collective spirit within the group.

“It can be difficult to come in and perform after a lengthy lay-off but I thought Conor was fantastic and again reminds us of the quality he possesses and what he offers the team.

“An unassuming character, Conor is made of the right stuff. Ali Coote and Liam Burte continue to improve and show their qualities. The lads have real quality on the ball, and both have the ability to create and score goals which is a real asset for the team.”

Bohs may once again be without senior men Buckley and Cornwall who are both rated as doubtful, while Tyreke Wilson, who took the captain’s armband in their absence and score Bohs’ second on Monday with a thunderous free-kick, sits this one out as a result of the two yellow cards he picked up in the game.

Long said: “The only blemish on the night was the dismissal of Tyreke for two yellow cards having scored a brilliant free-kick and captaining the team on the night.

“I can understand why the referee deems the first tackle a yellow but for me that was a good, strong challenge and if we are taking that out of the game we might as well become basketball or some other non-contact sport.

“I’m not proportioning blame to the ref as he has to adhere to the Laws of the game. The second yellow for a tug on the jersey is very harsh but again the referees are dictated to by the laws. There is no allowance for commonsense in such scenarios and we just have to accept it and move on.

“A silver lining in this for us is the fact that we have Anto Breslin chomping at the bit to play and his contribution coming on for the sacrificed Ross Tierney shows you what type of character he is. Anto has never let us down, in fact he has been brilliant since he arrived at the club and was excellent when called upon and will continue to be a very important member of this team.”

TEAM NEWS

Tyreke Wilson is suspended while Keith Buckley (leg), Rob Cornwall (ankle) and James Finnerty (wrist) are doubts.

Stephen Mallon (metatarsal) could be named in the squad for the first time.

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