Preview: Drogheda United v Bohemians


Sports Direct FAI Men’s Cup quarter-final
Friday September 15 2023, Weavers Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine has said that Bohemians need to grasp their opportunity and give everything of themselves to progress to the semi-finals of the FAI Cup.

Bohs make the short journey up the M1 tomorrow to face Drogheda United at Weavers Park, and will be backed by 650 travelling supporters.

Devine said: “The FAI Cup doesn’t suffer fools, so we have to be bang at it right from the very start. The players have been really looking forward to the game.

“Going to Drogheda is a tough place but we are going there concentrating on ourselves. We know their strengths having played them three times already but we also know our own strengths and we have concentrated on them all week.

“There is a big prize on offer for whoever wins the game, so having had two weeks since our last game, this is one that we have really prepared well for.

“At the start of the year, your goal is to get to the latter stages of the FAI Cup, and it doesn’t matter what the draw is, doing that will always be very difficult.

“Drogheda will fancy their chances and we will fancy our chances, but we have to make sure we perform to the levels we are capable of.

“This tie will be decided on the night, there are no second chances. We have got to make sure we grasp our opportunity, that we don’t have any regrets, and that we take care of our business.”

A fortnight has passed since Bohs’ bruising 3-0 defeat in the league away to rivals Shamrock Rovers. Devine was frustrated with the goals his side coughed up in Tallaght Stadium, but praised their application in their time together since.

He said: “It is never enjoyable when you have two weeks in training after a defeat but the training has been at a really high level and the players have shown a brilliant attitude.

“We were extremely disappointed with the goals that we gave away in Tallaght. We have to be a lot better than that. But what I also take out of it is that there were two stonewall penalties in the game that weren’t given. For me, the referee was right on top of it and I just couldn’t believe they weren’t given.

“In any league and in any game, scoring the first goal can be really important and just before they get their opener, James Clarke is brought down inside the box and it’s as stonewall a penalty as you will see.

“No press came to speak to me after the game, so I never got it off my chest at the time but that’s two penalties again in Tallaght not given, on the back of the previous one in our first game out there. It is unacceptable.

“Regardless of that, we know that we did not perform to the levels needed or that we are capable of. The goals we gave away were poor.

“To be fair to this group, they came back to training right at it and focused. Our levels have been very high, and everybody is chomping at the bit to play.”

In that time there has been recognition for two of Devine’s star men too.

First, Johnny Afolabi earned an Ireland call-up for the Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands on Sunday, and, today, James Clarke was named the SSE Airtricity Player of the Month for August; the third Bohs player to win the award this season after Ali Coote in March and Afolabi in July.

Devine said: “You can see from three of our players winning the Player of the Month Award this year that we have some outstanding players.

“Both Johnny and James deserve the kind of recognition that they have received. The two of them have been good all year but outstanding in recent months. They are two young guys but are playing with such a level of maturity, flare and aggression.

“Physically, they are both strong specimens and they have been impeccable in terms of their goals return and creativity. That is what you want. You want to go into these big games with those kinds of big players – players who can perform and that is what we have at the minute.”

Bohs go in tomorrow’s game with another packed-out away section; all 650 tickets were sold to members within 10 minutes of going on sale last Friday.

Devine added: “We have been the best supported club in the league by a country mile, it’s not even close. The effort our fans bring home and away on a weekly basis is incredible.

“They want us to be successful against Drogheda every bit as much as the players and staff. We all want to get through to the semi-finals.

“That is a massive carrot for everyone at the club. It is hugely important. Every single one of us – players, staff and fans – has to give everything of ourselves as by hook or by crook, we want to be in the next round.

“We have the utmost respect for Drogheda, but we are very determined in where we want this group and our club to be.”


Paddy Kirk (ankle) is a doubt.

Dean Williams (ankle) is unlikely to be risked against Drogheda but is set to feature in Monday’s Leinster Senior Cup final against Usher Celtic.

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