Bohemians v Cork City - SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday May 5 2023
Tallaght Stadium, 7.45pm

Declan Devine believes his side have learnt lessons from their last Dublin Derby and says Bohemians know the level of performance they must deliver to get a result in Tallaght.

Bohs go into the game top of the table with four points separating them and tomorrow’s opponents in second.

Their hosts have lost just once this season and come into this game after impressive back-to-back wins against Sligo Rovers, St Pat’s and Derry City.

Bohs cross town with their tails up too as well after a convincing 5-0 against 10-man Cork City on May Day.

Devine was delighted with the response of his side in that game, having frustratingly conceded a late equaliser in a below-par performance away to UCD on Monday.

He said: “It was important to start the match positively. It would have been easy at five o’clock on a Bank Holiday Monday after the disappointment of conceding late on Friday to start slowly and sluggishly.

“But that is something we spoke to the players about and full credit to them, they started really well. Their ability to be patient and move the ball was excellent.

“And sometimes when you are playing against 10 men, it is not as easy as people think. You look at our performance with 10 men against St Pat’s, you look at Sligo with 10 men against St Pat’s. So the way we won the game was very pleasing.

“Again, we got three goals from our subs. That is the fourth game in a row that players coming off the bench have scored. That is a real ace up your sleeve to have – quality players who can come on and really influence a performance and result.

“Throughout the season we have shown great character and we have scored 14 goals in our first six home games. We want to score goals at home and we want to entertain.

“Some of the football we have played in the early part of the season has been pleasing. We have gone away from home and dug out clean sheets too.

“It is finding that happy medium going out to Tallaght to get a positive performance and a positive result.”

That game could have gone so differently were it not for James Talbot’s world class save after 27 seconds from Ruairi Keating’s free header.

Devine, himself a former goalkeeper, hailed his No 1, and said: “That’s not surprising from James. The only surprising thing was the fact we gave them that opportunity to score in the first place.

“James has been an outstanding player for this club and he will continue to be in the years to come.

“A really pleasing thing for me was we have Keith Buckley as captain, Jordan Flores as vice-captain, and when neither of those have played, Adam McDonnell has captained the side.

“But to see Jordan Flores coming off, and take the decision himself to run to James and give him the armband, I think that shows the esteem in which James is held by his fellow players.”

Devine was also relieved to see the return of Jordan Flores from suspension and Ali Coote from injury. The former opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick, while the latter helped himself to two goals having been introduced as a second-half substitute.

During his brief absence, Flores and his partner celebrated the arrival of their daughter Sophia and Devine said: “He and his partner have just had a baby girl.

“It’s a fantastic time in his life – his second child, and it is so important that family life is good and strong.

“Jordan is a wonderful person and everyone at the club is delighted for him – the boys all chipped in to buy them a nice present that Bucko presented to them last week.

“Having Jordan back in from the start against Cork was massive for us. He has been a top, top player for a long, long time. He has really hit the ground running this season too.

“Ali, Jordan and James Akintunde would be massive losses for any squad but thankfully we have had big performances and have been able to pick up results without them too.”

Underlining what a loss Coote was to the team, his form prior to being struck down with a thigh injury saw him named the SSE Airtricity / Soccer Writers Ireland Player of the Month for March.

Devine said: “Ali has really lit it up this season. He is a very talented lad and it is great to have him back. He is instrumental to how we want to play.

“But we also have to understand that he hasn’t played in three or four weeks and we have to see how he is.

“He was actually very sick over the weekend. He was very doubtful for Monday as, having returned to training at the start of the week, he didn’t train with the group over the weekend because of illness.

“So for him to come in and perform how he did was brilliant. The threat he can pose to teams is very important to us.

“He is going to be massive for us with so many games coming up in the next few weeks before the break – as will James Akintunde when we get him back in the next week or so.”

Devine believes his side have learned lessons from their previous Dublin Derby against Rovers, which ended in a 2-0 defeat at Dalymount last month.

Devine added: “We have come a long way in a short space of time. It is only 20 weeks since we finished sixth last season.

“But there is a lot to learn from the last time we played them. To give away a goal in the 46th minute of the first half was a big blow for us having dealt with the opening 25/30 minutes being on top, creating chances, and being positive in our approach.

“As a new group we have to accept and realise that we are going to have setbacks. But this is another game where we really want to go and perform to our highest levels. We want to win. We have played positively away in other games in difficult venues.

“This is another difficult venue, and we go into this game with our eyes wide open.

“We want to play to the highest level we can. We certainly won’t be going there to sit back. We have got to go there and try to attack, and be better defensively than what we were when we played them at home.

“We know the intensity we have to bring to this game and we know what it means to players, players’ families and supporters. But ultimately it is just another opportunity for us to try to get another three points.

“We have got to bring our A game and we know if we can do that, we will do ourselves justice because we have players that can hurt any team.”


This game is likely to come too soon for James Akintunde (hamstring).

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