Preview: Bohemians v St Patrick’s Athletic


SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday October 20 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine has demanded another energetic and dynamic performance from Bohemians in their penultimate home game of the season.

While tomorrow’s sold-out clash with St Patrick’s Athletic has been billed as a dress rehearsal for the cup final, neither team is looking at it that way as both look to secure European qualification through the league.

Very little has separated the sides so far this season with a win each and a draw from the three meetings so far this season.

Devine said: “The bottom line is that we have to take care of our side of the bargain, and make sure that we play to the intensity we have been here in Dalymount.

“Our form at home has been very good. This is our second last game in Dalymount of the season, and we want to give a real account of ourselves with positive performances and positive results.

“We have put so much blood, sweat and tears into our league campaign that at this stage of the season it is vitally important for us as a group that we finish it off properly.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good place but we know that there are absolutely no guarantees. We have to be at our very best in every game.

“The positive for me is that we have quality players who are itching to play, which allows us to play different systems with different personnel, and we have a fully fit squad who are all raring to go.

“St Pat’s have had a fantastic season since Jon Daly came in. They are very a hard team to play against, and there has been very little between the sides in the three games we’ve played this season.

“We have been really energetic and dynamic at home this year. That is something that we are going to need between now and the end of the season. The team has trained really well since the UCD game and the focus of the group is really high.”

Bohs come into the game on the back of a 2-1 win over UCD last Thursday.

Devine’s side bossed the game, but were somewhat disappointed that their dominance didn’t yield more goals.

Devine said: “We played okay in the first half but the bottom line is we have got to take our chances and we can’t be as wasteful as we were in front of goal.

“We were very creative in our play but putting games to bed is something we really need to improve on when those opportunities come our way and when we are so on top in games.

“But again, I will repeat that it is a new group this season and I am absolutely delighted with them. We are competing at all levels.

“To go to UCD is tough, no matter what. Only Derry City have given them a real scalping this season. There was pressure and expectancy on us to go there and win, and thankfully we did that.

“The scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of our performance. In reality we should have been out of sight after an hour or so. But the fact that we allowed them back into the game in the last few minutes needs to be a wake-up call for us. We need to be solid at the back.”

A positive from that win at Belfield was Danny Grant’s first goal since rejoining the club in July.

Devine said: “Danny has been great since he came in. He didn’t have a proper pre-season but now you can really see that he is up to speed and showcasing the talent he has.

“Him and Ali Coote have really had a good auld scrap for that left side position in recent weeks, and Ali’s form has been exceptional too.

“That’s Danny’s first goal since he came back but he has been really important in winning points for us in other ways too. There have been games where he has been chopped down for penalties, so it was really pleasing for him to get his name back on the scoresheet.

“It was pleasing for the group as well as it’s yet another different goalscorer. Our record for our spread of goals this season has been sensational. There are only three players who haven’t chipped in with a goal so that’s something for them to aim for over the next few games!

“But I’m delighted for Danny. Danny is going to be an important player for us for the rest of the season and next season as well.”

And Devine is also delighted Dylan Connolly is also finally getting the credit he deserves.

He added: “Dylan’s mentality has been absolutely brilliant. His impact on the team right throughout the course of the season has been really high level, even at times when the goals and assists weren’t coming. He drives us up the pitch. He scares people in terms of his natural pace and power.

“He has got himself into the best condition of his life, and he has really lit the place up in recent weeks. He has been sensational, but there is still more to come from Dylan and that’s the reality.

“He has a lot of years left to have a top, top level career, and I think we are very fortunate to have him here.

“He loves playing here too, and he loves the connection with the fans, which I think is obvious to see. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and the final product now has been absolutely brilliant in terms of his creativity and his final balls. Hopefully that can continue now until the end of the season.”

Team news

Bohemians have a full squad to choose from with James McManus back from international duty.

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