Preview: Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers

Bohemians v Palestine - International Solidarity Match

Bohemians manager Ken Kiernan says his players are still on a high after the reception they received at last month’s historic game against Palestine.

Now they are hoping for another packed crowd for tomorrow’s Dublin Derby at Dalymount Park when they host Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division.

Last month’s international solidarity friendly saw the sold-out signs go up for the first time for a Bohemians women’s fixture.

Kiernan says the importance of the occasion will live long in the memory of his players, whose focus has now turned to redoubling their efforts to climb back up the league table.

He said: “All of our players recognise the gravity of the situation in Gaza, the historical significance of the game and the importance of the reception that the Palestinian players got when they came.

“The whole occasion meant a lot to our players – it was huge for everyone associated with the club. The run-up to the game and the game itself really set something off, and really captured the imagination of people.

“There were people all over the world talking about the game and, for our players, it was the first time that they had an opportunity to play in front of a sold-out Dalymount, which was brilliant for them.

“You could see after the game how they were buzzing, how they thrived on the reception of the crowd and on what it all meant to the Palestinian players. We were proud to be part of that.

“There was already a great sense of pride in this team pulling on that jersey but the reception the players have had since the Palestine game has brought that sense of pride to another level. They have really felt the love for the club that is out there.

“That buzz has continued since – tomorrow is our first game back in Dalymount since and we have been inundated with well wishes in the community.

“It is important to have that connection. Our players are real ambassadors in the community. They are in with different age groups in schools every week and it is important that young children, in particular young girls, have female sportspeople to look up to and to learn from, and that our players know that this club means something to them.

“Our players are fast-becoming role models for these children – they talk about their set-backs, and their determination to succeed. It’s important for the children but it’s just as important for our players.”

Tomorrow, Kiernan is hoping to harness that positive energy as his side go in search of victory against the club’s biggest rivals.

Shamrock Rovers entered the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division last year for the first time and finished third in their debut season.

Seven games into the 2024 season, Rovers are still in search of their first victory but Kiernan knows it will be a tough game.

He added: We all know the significance of this game. Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers is the biggest rivalry in Irish football.

“Rovers are a good side. I went to their last game against Galway United. They lost the game 1-0 but they went toe-to-toe with the team that is top of the league.

“For our part, our last few performances have been good and we are improving. I expect a very energetic game and, given the playing styles of both teams, I think there will be lots of chances so we will need to defend well.

“We have prepared very well for the game, and have worked on where we think we can exploit Rovers and where we need to work hard defensively. It’s been a very positive few weeks and we want to build on that now.”

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