Preview: Galway United v Bohemians


Galway United v Bohemians
Saturday October 7, 2.40pm, Eamonn Deacy Park
Live on RTÉ One

Declan Devine has said Bohemians need to do what they do best – play with intensity and move the ball with purpose – to get past Galway United in the semi-final of the Sports Direct Men’s FAI Cup.

Bohs travelled to Galway this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s tie, and Devine says his side are fully aware of the challenge the First Division champions will pose.

John Caulfield’s side won all 16 of their home league games this season on their way to clinching the title, scoring 53 goals at Eamonn Deacy Park and conceding just four in the process.

They have already beaten Premier Division clubs in the previous two rounds – thumping UCD 5-1 in the last 16 and Dundalk 4-0 in the quarter-finals.

Devine said: “Any time you face a John Caulfield team you know you are going to face a team that is very fit and competitive. John’s record speaks for itself. He is a very decorated manager and has done an unbelievable job with Galway with Ollie Horgan alongside him.

“They are in a really good place as a club, but so are we. We are a new team, a new squad, a new backroom team, and we are playing in a semi-final in our first season together.

“That is something we want to grasp. We come into this game with a fully fit squad, and we want to give everything of ourselves to progress to the final, knowing that we have to be at our very, very best. I have full faith in our players that they will give everything to make sure our game plan comes to fruition on the day.

“All Galway’s stats are there for us and all to see. We treat every team with the greatest of respect. We fully understand how good Galway are and I think they are going to be a brilliant addition to the Premier Division next season in terms of their location, the size of the club.

“This is a one-off game. There will be no second chances. We have prepared really well all week and our players have been really looking forward to this but they also know the strengths of Galway, so we have prepared in a professional way.

“We’ve got a very strong squad, and very capable players. We need to take the emotion out of it and go out there and play.”

Bohs come into this game on the back of a 3-1 win against Sligo Rovers last week, which saw Devine’s side move back up to fourth in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division at Dalymount Park.

The home side struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, but came out all guns blazing in the second half with a brace from Johnny Afolabi, either side of an Ali Coote effort, giving Bohs a three-goal lead until the Bit O’Red grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot in injury-time.

Devine said: “Whenever we hit the levels we are capable of, we are very hard to play against. I think Sligo were a bit shocked in the second half last week.

“But again, as I said after the game, we cannot afford to leave minutes behind us on the pitch, which we did in the first half. We have to play for the full duration of the game.

“The pleasing thing for us this year is that we have been able to get a lot of late goals, and we have real resilience in our team, which is important when you go to places like Galway at this level of competition.

“We need all of that to come together. I have never known a semi-final that has been one-way traffic, they are nearly always very tight affairs. We know what we want to do to progress because we have worked so hard to get here.

“When you represent a club like Bohemians, there is pressure in every game. But the players have really taken to that. I think Dalymount has become one of the hardest venues for teams to come to in Ireland.

“Being able to play to the standard that we have in front of our own fans has given us a platform to build on. The challenge is to bring that with us to Galway. We went to a difficult venue and against a good team in the last round against Drogheda, and I feel we are going to have to be even better than that again in Galway.

“But we have experience in our team too – the like of Keith Buckley, James Talbot, Jordan Flores, Krystian Nowak, Dylan Connolly – players with plenty of know-how, and we just have to make sure we pull everything together on the day by doing what we do best, playing with intensity and moving the ball with real purpose.”

Team news

Bohemians have a full squad to pick from, with Adam McDonnell returning from suspension.

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