Preview: Drogheda United v Bohemians

Bohemians v St Patrick's Athletic - SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday April 21 2023
Weavers Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine has demanded intensity from start to finish from his Bohemians players against Drogheda United tomorrow night and says their eyes are wide open about how tough a game it will be.

Last time out, Bohs lost 3-2 at home to St Patrick’s Athletic. A cracking strike from Adam McDonnell had given Devine’s men the lead in the 14th minute.

But they were carved open far too easily in a crazy 12-minute spell where they conceded three times before going down to 10 men on the stroke of half-time when Jordan Flores was given his marching orders.

Despite that mountain to climb, they had the Saints on the ropes in the second half and will have been disappointed not to have got anything out of the game having pulled one back through substitute Dean Williams.

Now Devine wants to see that second-half performance replicated for the full 90 minutes when his side travel to Weavers Park tomorrow to face a Drogheda side who, like Bohs, have lost just three of their opening 10 games.

Devine said: “We played at our levels in the second half. I don’t think there was anything surprising about that, that has to be the starting point.

“That has to be the intensity we play at all the time whether it’s 10 men or 11 men or first half or second half. So the second half was pleasing, but it has to be the norm from the start.

“That kind of intensity has brought us a lot of joy this year. We have to understand that they are the levels we have to reach for every minute of every game.

“There were a lot of positives. The 15-minute period in the first half where we conceded the three goals has to be a once-off.

“It is something we have discussed and is something we have to take on board; that is the nature of this league. If you lose concentration, then it will cause you problems.

“We have hopefully learned from that. We have experienced it, and we have to make sure we don’t let it happen again.”

Despite his frustration with that first half performance, he is full of praise for their positive start to the season, which sees them four points clear at the top of the table, and is thoroughly enjoying working with the group of players he has assembled.

Devine said: “We have to understand that we are such a new group that there will be rollercoasters; highs and lows. We are all finding out about each other, and it has been very, very positive.

“I love coming in everyday and working with this group. But we are going to have days where we have to do ugly stuff well.

“Things aren’t always going to be plain sailing, and when it’s not plain sailing, we have to have that ability to dig in and grind out.

“These boys fill me with energy, they fill me with happiness. They are so together. I know they will be hurting more than anybody about last week.

“But when we win a game, we put it to the back of our minds. And when we lose a game, we put it to the back of our minds.

“After we discussed it, it was put to the back of our minds. Now we are completely focused on going to Drogheda and trying to win.

“We have a lot of boys pushing to start. We have boys eager to play whether they start or whether they come on.

“We have had 11 different goalscorers in all competitions this year in 11 games. That in itself shows you the strength right through our squad and our ability to get goals from anywhere on the pitch. That is really pleasing, but we have to keep going.”

But that will be easier said than done against Kevin Doherty’s Drogheda side who have once again put it up to teams this season.

Devine added: “They are a very good side. They are a side that have impressed me this year. Even when we played them at home, we were fortunate to come out on the right side of the result.

“Especially at home, Kevin will have them really well drilled. They have a lot of experience in their team in Gary Deegan and Ryan Brennan. They have added a lot of exciting players, and Darragh Markey is a very talented boy.

“They are working really hard to get results, and have been really impressive in the opening series of games.

“We have discussed where we think we can have joy, and we have also discussed where they can hurt us.

“But we are going in with our eyes wide open – we are facing a difficult team at a difficult venue.”


Ali Coote (thigh) and James Akintunde (hamstring) are doubts. Jordan Flores is suspended.

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