Preview: Bohemians v Sligo Rovers


SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday September 29 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine feels Bohemians have left points behind them in recent weeks and says they need to show more of a cutting edge in front of goal.

Bohs host Sligo Rovers at Dalymount Park tomorrow on the back of a 1-1 draw against Shelbourne at the same venue on Monday, having been held to a 0-0 stalemate away to Drogheda United last Friday.

Against Shels, Devine admits that his side put in a below-par performance in the first half, but were then left frustrated that large spells of dominance in the second half did not force a winner.

Devine said: “I was really disappointed at half-time, and I think the players were disappointed with themselves too.

“We started the first couple of minutes quite well, but our intensity just wasn’t at it. We can’t afford that, particularly at this stage of the season.

“We improved considerably in the second half. We had a lot of positive approach play, if you look at our stats in terms of shots and chances that we created, but we have got to be more ruthless.

“We’ve left points behind in our last two games because we have not been ruthless enough in front of goal during periods of dominance. We need to show a real cutting edge to put the ball in the back of the net when chances come our way.”

Bohs’ second-half resurgence was part-inspired by skipper Keith Buckley’s move back to midfield.

Devine said: “We signed Bucko as a midfield player and that is where I foresee him playing in the future. But with injuries, players leaving, and players coming in mid-season and trying to find their feet, we have played him at right-back, and he has done really well there.

“I was impressed with Bart Kukulowicz in the last couple of games, in the Leinster Senior Cup and when he came on against Shelbourne, so he is settling in now. Certainly at the business end of the season, you want your captain in midfield.

“I see Keith Buckley as an outstanding midfield player, and hopefully we can get him in there between now and the end of the year.”

Devine was also happy to see a star performance once more from Ali Coote, who netted Bohs’ equaliser in the 74th minute.

The Scotsman’s early-season form saw him named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Ireland Player of the Month for March but his influence in recent months has been disrupted by injury and the form of others.

Devine said: “Ali was outstanding in the second half on Monday. There are players who haven’t started games recently who are really pushing hard, and that’s what you want at this stage of the season.

“I’m delighted for Ali because his season has been disrupted by injury and niggles, ones that he has found hard to shake off. But we saw his quality again on Monday.

“As a group we know that if we are to achieve what we want to between now and the end of the season we will need our big players to play big parts. We have to have the mentality to do that.”

Devine is expecting another tough game against Sligo, a team who Bohs have beaten twice this season but lost to in the last meeting between the sides.

He added: “We are expecting another difficult ding-dong of a battle. I’ve watched Sligo’s wins against UCD and Derry City, and they were very good. They deserved to beat Derry but we have to concentrate on ourselves. We are at the business end of the season and we have to be at our very, very best in every game.

“We have to target wins in every game between now and the end of the season. There have been surprising results here, there and everywhere, even in recent weeks, so we have to take care of our own business.

“We have worked hard to put ourselves in a strong position. We cannot have any regrets at the end of this series of games.

“A lot of our performances have been good, but the requirement is to keep going for 95 minutes or however long we have on the pitch. We can’t leave anything behind.

“We have created a lot of chances in the last few weeks but we have to be ruthless in both boxes from start to finish. We know what we are capable of but we have to go out and show our quality.”


Adam McDonnell (suspended) is Bohs’ only absentee.

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