SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday August 25 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Live on LOITV

Declan Devine says Bohemians’ recent form has earned his players the right to dine at the top table and he believes there is a real determination within the group that they want more.

Tomorrow, fourth-placed Bohs host third-placed Derry City at Dalymount Park.

The sides are level on 46 points, one off second-placed St Pat’s and five off league leaders Shamrock Rovers, but with the Candystripes ahead on goal difference and with a game in hand.

Bohs come into this game on the back of a professional 6-0 win, played in attrocious conditions, against Munster Senior League side Rockmount at Dalymount last week, which set up an FAI Cup quarter-final date away to Drogheda United next month.

The visitors, on the other hand, come into the game after two cruel penalty shootout defeats – first in the UEFA Conference League against Kazakh side Tobol Kostanay and then against St Pat’s in the FAI Cup.

Devine is aware of the threat that such a talented side who are hurting can pose, but says his focus in the run-up to this game has been all on Bohs.

He said: “Derry have had a tough week. They will have been extremely disappointed going out of two competitions in a week. They will be hurting, and we know what they are capable of. But at the same time, our focus is on us. We have to take care of our side of things.

“For us, it has been a real positive week in training in terms of our intensity and our quality. The players are fresh. We were able to rest a couple against Rockmount last week, which is important.

“Our recent form has earned our players the right to eat at the top table.

“We come into this game in really good form. We have five wins and two draws out of our last seven games, have scored 17 goals in our last six, 12 in our last four, and four clean sheets in our last five.

“So we are playing well, but we know that we are going to have to be at our very best when Derry come to Dalymount. Recent performances have given us the opportunity to go into the game with confidence and belief.

“Their performances over the course of the season have been at a very high level. Yes, we had a dip during the season but every other club has done the same at some point.

“You are only as good as your last game but our players have a tremendous belief and unity, and an understanding of the way we want to play. It is a very tight league this season, so with every performance, we have got to make sure we go for it.

“The way we have trained this week has probably been the highest level I’ve seen since I came to the club. The way they have trained this week sums the group up.

“They know that we have done well up to now, but I can feel it within this group that they want more. They want to have more unbelievable nights in Dalymount Park.

“Some of the atmospheres we have come off the pitch to, and the effort that the players have given the club, and the feeling of giving that effort and the praise they get from supporters afterwards – they are thriving off all of that and it is something they all want more of.

“They want to go out and spill blood, energy and commitment, and they want to maintain that relationship with the fans.

“Over the course of the last 10 games of this season, we want to build on that, and create memories that will last people a long time.

“But to do that, we have to realise that this is just another match, another game, and not think beyond that.

“A big rival is coming into our backyard, and we have to make sure we are at our very, very best and play with quality and energy right throughout the course of the game.”

There has been very little between Bohs and Devine’s former club this season. Bohs won 1-0 in the Brandywell in April, Derry did likewise at Dalymount in May, and the sides played out a 0-0 draw when they met on Foyleside in June.

Devine said: “We have played Derry three times, we’ve scored once past them, they’ve scored once past us and we both have four points from the three games.

“The turning point in the one game we have lost to them this season was going a man down after 14 minutes against them when we played them in Dalymount.

“No matter who you play, when you go down to 10 men so early, and concede so soon afterwards, it is going to be difficult. In saying that, we took the game to them despite being a man down.

“But this is a completely different ball game now at the business end of the season. This is the last phase of games when the prizes are at stake, and we cannot look past trying to get three points in this game.

“Whoever we play at Dalymount Park, we want to win. But to do that against Derry City, one of the top teams in the country, we know that we are going to have to go up the gears.

“We have to start the game really positively. But what we have been doing really well, right throughout the course of the season, has been finishing games strongly, with a lot of late goals, with players coming off the bench scoring and creating.

“I feel the latter stage of the game tomorrow is going to be key, so we have got to make sure we start the game with real vigour and energy while knowing that we have a bench capable of changing the game against anyone.”


Everyone took a full part in training this week but this game might come too early for Dean Williams as he is eased back from his ankle injury.

  • There are currently a handful of Des Kelly Stand tickets remaining for this game, which can be purchased at
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