Preview: St Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians


SSE Airtricity League Men’s Premier Division
Friday March 10 2023, Richmond Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine says Bohemians will have to deliver their best performance of the season to date to beat St Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park on Friday.

Devine’s men go into the game with their tails up once more having bounced back from last Friday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Shelbourne with a confident 3-1 victory against Drogheda United at Dalymount on Monday night.

Goals from Jordan Flores, Ali Coote and James Akintunde sent the Bohs fans, who packed out Dalymount once more, home happy.

Devine said: “It was a really good response after what I thought was a very harsh result the Friday previous. I asked the players to start with high intensity. I asked them to really go after Drogheda in the early stages of the game, and we did that.

“We had a really good response and we freshened up with three or four players coming in. We were positive in our approach to the game. The players are confident in themselves and they are confident in the players around them.

“We had many good performances. Ali Coote, with his goal, his creativity and his ability to go past people with the ball. James Akintunde played brilliantly, and Declan McDaid was sensational.

“Johnny Afolabi, his performances are at the very highest level. In the 93rd minute, to run back into his own half and win the ball back for us when Drogheda were counter-attacking us showed his willingness to do his job for the team, and was, for me, as good as any goal I know he is going to score this year.

“But there were a lot of good performances. Bucko again, Jordan Flores – three goals in four games – having played half of those at left-back.

“I was blown away by James McManus too, and I have spoken before about the level I feel that kid can go and play at. Overall it was a really good team performance.”

But with another quick turnaround and in the knowledge that they face another enormous challenge at a sold-out Richmond Park, Devine’s players were not afforded any time to pat themselves on the back.

Devine said: “We have to make sure that when games are coming thick and fast, which they are, that we are ready for them and not complacent going into them.

“Going into this game it has to be exactly the same. We have to make sure we are ready for a huge match. We cannot get carried away – we are just four games in – but the one thing we know is that we are going to need our full squad.

“We have shown over the four games we have played, and the amount of substitutes we have used, that we will bring fresh legs on in the latter stages of games because none of our players coming on will weaken us.

“We have a strong squad. We have both defensive and attacking options, and serious competition, particularly in midfield. There are different ways of skinning a cat. You have to go after every game and pick the right personnel for each game.”

While not getting carried away, with three wins from their opening four games, Devine is pleased with how his new-look side is progressing.

He said: “I am delighted with how the team has settled in but we have to strive to get better. There is no point in me saying we have arrived – we definitely can and must get better.

“It has been a crazy 12-week period. Going through a pre-season with new players, and then bringing in so many new players so late in the transfer window, I am delighted with how we started.

“But we are all working hard to improve further, and we know that we will need our best performance of the season to go and win on Friday night. We need the highest level of performance from everybody – right throughout the squad.

“St Pat’s have some seriously talented players. They are very capable, especially in front of a packed home crowd. We have got to be up for that. We have to be ready to meet that challenge head on. We have to make sure we defend properly and that we attack with purpose.

“I know that the players are all itching to play. They are really looking forward to this game, and they are really looking forward to Sunday’s game against Crumlin too as they all just want to play.

“They are loving the games at the minute and are showing real intensity in our play, with the exception of the first period against Shelbourne.

“But I believe we have the capabilities of moving up the gears. We have trained well this week and we have made sure the boys are right because we need to up our performances again to win at a difficult venue.”


Dylan Connolly (suspended) is Bohemians’ only absentee.

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