Preview: Bohemians v Shelbourne

Dundalk v Bohemians - SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division

SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday May 26 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm, RTÉ2

Declan Devine has said Bohemians cannot afford to switch off for a split second in tonight’s Dublin derby against Shelbourne at Dalymount Park.

Bohs go into tonight’s game in third place after defeats against Shamrock Rovers and Derry City and a draw against Dundalk saw them knocked off their perch in recent weeks.

They look to get back to winning ways in tonight’s televised game against Shels.

Devine said: “As a new group, and when we look where we are and look at the success and failures over the course of the opening 17 games, we certainly would have taken where we are right now.

“But there was always going to be room for improvement. Away to Dundalk, 2-0 down at halftime to draw 2-2 is a great point. Losing to Derry at home with a man down for 75 minutes, I can understand why, and the decisions in Tallaght didn’t go our way.

“There have been very fine margins in those games but it is ultimately about points. And as I said in Drogheda a few weeks ago, I would take winning ugly than losing beautifully.

“We are disappointed in the points returned in the last three games. But we also have to take account of those three teams. Those three teams were top and joint second last year – Shamrock Rovers won the league and Derry and Dundalk Dundalk were tied on points.

“So we have to understand what we’re playing against and where we’re coming from, but we’re under no illusions we want to be better.

“We want to be having more points on board but we are also only a few points off the top of the tablet table with a game in hand. We have to remember that.

“We have to treat these next four games as hugely important in terms of trying to get points on the board. But we have won games where we weren’t expected to win that thankfully has us right up there.’’

The last time these sides met, Bohs, down to 10 men following the sending-off of Dylan Connolly, saw their unbeaten start to the season come to an abrupt end with a 1-0 defeat at Tolka Park.

Devine said: “I think the disappointment after losing at Tolka was evident in our players and their body language and their mindset that week. We spoke about it this week. The sending-off was a huge turning point again in that game. But these games are in the past.

“We have analysed Shels. We’ve seen what their strengths are. We know what our strengths are going into this game. And we have got to make sure that every single game we play, regardless of who they are against, that we give the best of ourselves.

“It has to be about ourselves going into this game that we play at the levels we are capable of for 95/96 minutes.

“We can’t afford to switch off for a split second, which we have done the last couple of games and got severely punished.

“We have to understand that every game in this league is a tough game. Dublin Derby or not a Dublin Derby, it’s always gonna be tough games.

“Everybody is capable of beating everybody as we’ve seen them in the last week or two. It is as strong as a Premier Division as I’ve seen in a long time.

“But we’ve got to take tremendous confidence from the fact that we’ve started the season so well and that we’re right at the top end of the table.’’

Devine is conscious too of how important it is to make a strong start to tonight’s game. Early mistakes have cost Bohs in recent weeks.

He added: “We can’t take the foot off the gas irrelevant of who we play. Every game is nearly a derby and we’ve got to make sure that we compete in every single moment.

“I don’t think we started at home to Derry or away to Dundalk well and ended up giving ourselves a mountain to climb to try to get back into the games.

“Our last three games are certainly an aspect that we have to learn from. We have got to start games more positively.

“Even going back to the game against Cork earlier this month. James Talbot had to make a really good save after two or three minutes to stop us going behind.

“It’s something that’s noted, it is something we’ve spoken about and hopefully we rectify against Shelbourne.’’


Dean Williams (ankle) is out while Keith Buckley is suspended. James Akintunde (hamstring) is back in contention.

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