Preview: Bohemians v Drogheda United


SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday August 4 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine has said Bohemians need to be out of the traps fast at Dalymount Park – no matter who they are playing against.

Bohs host Kevin Doherty’s Drogheda United on Friday on the back of a 2-0 win against UCD at the same venue last week.

Devine’s side have beaten Drogs 3-1 at home and 2-0 away so far this season, but both of those victories were harder fought than the scorelines might suggest.

Devine said: “There is no underestimating Drogheda United. Kevin is a fantastic manager and he has some fantastic players. He has a lot of experience in his squad and a lot of players who can cause you problems.

“We also know that in the two games we have played against Drogheda this season that there has been very little between the sides.

“We had to dig in really, really hard up in Drogheda, and we showed good resilience when we played them in Dalymount too.

“Drogheda’s away form shows that they are not afraid of going to big venues and performing – they have won in the Brandywell and they have won in Tallaght.

“We have to control what we can control and that’s our levels of intensity. We know we could have started at a higher level of intensity against UCD, so that is something that we want to make sure we bring to the table this week.”

After a scrappy first-half performance against the Students last week, Bohs upped their game in the second half but had to wait until the 75th minute for Johnny Afolabi to break the deadlock from the penalty spot before he added a second – his seventh goal in his last six games – on 89 minutes.

Devine said: “John has been outstanding, absolutely outstanding. But you’re only as good as the people around you. We are providing him with opportunities that perhaps we weren’t earlier in the season.

“The competition for places is as good as I’ve ever worked with. The talent we have, and the ability to change shape, formations and personnel is something our fans should be excited about.

“But Johnny has been a real pivot for us in terms of a general play. You only have to see him in training to see how ruthless he has become, and long may that continue.

“I am delighted to see him nominated for Player of the Month along with James McManus. He just has to continue working at the levels he is working and continue to enjoy the moment.

“There are names on that top goalscorer list who aren’t in the country anymore and that should be his aim – topping that list and being the best striker in the country as I believe he is.”

Victory against UCD kept Bohs in fourth place – three points ahead of fifth-place Dundalk and five behind leaders Shamrock Rovers.

But Devine says his side must hit the ground running from the opening minute from every game between now and the end of the season to consolidate and build upon their current league position.

Devine said: “We want to make sure that every time we play at Dalymount Park, that we are out of the traps fast, irrelevant of who we are playing.

“We are finishing games magnificently well – scoring a lot of late goals, using our bench – but we need to be more ruthless in the opening periods of games.

“We have been very good at Dalymount in recent weeks. We’ve played some really good stuff and scored good goals. Long may that continue, because we are hitting a really important part of the season.

“But those games are done and in the past. We cannot look back, and we can’t look forward beyond our next 90 or so minutes.

“Whatever team takes to the field, they have to grasp their opportunities and empty the tank to make sure that when they walk off the pitch at the end they have that sense of achievement we have had in recent weeks.

“We want to make sure that when anyone comes to Dalymount, that it is an intimidating place with our fans and players bang at it – we need our supporters to be with us in difficult moments in games too.

“That rapport between the fans and players has been outstanding. I’ve looked back and seen so many pictures from after games – kids hugging Johnny and the sheer excitement in some of the pictures I’ve seen on social media is testimony to the atmosphere that’s being created.

“We need every single voice, and every bit of support, to get us over the line in these games. We’re heading towards the last phase of games in a relatively good position but we want to get better.”


Dean Williams (ankle) is Bohs’ only absentee. Luke Dennison (hand) is available once more.

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