PREVIEW: St PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS (Saturday March 23rd, Richmond Park, K0 5pm)

Bohemians go to Inchicore on Saturday evening for a second successive Dublin derby, confident and “really looking forward to it”, according to manager Aaron Callaghan.

“Confidence is high in the group. The lads are working really hard and people could see that in the game [against Shamrock Rovers] last Monday,” he said.

“There were also lots of good things to take from the match in Cork, even if the result wasn’t good. For long periods of that game we kept the ball and put it up to them.”


Nine of Callaghan’s squad have started in all three league games so far. “We have a hard core that we’re going to be working off, week in, week out,” said Callaghan.

“But the other players that are out of the team at the moment are good players and are competing for places and this is making the lads in the team work to stay ahead in terms of fitness and the technical and tactical side of things.”

That competition for places has intensified with the recovery from illness of Stephen Paisley and Kevin Devaney and the availability of Dave Mulcahy (ankle) for the first time since the league campaign started.

But newly signed striker Chris Lyons, who has impressed for Bohemians, is sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in last Monday’s match.

Callaghan admits to some disappointment that Bohemians couldn’t do better than a scoreless draw against Shamrock Rovers. “But it wouldn’t be the first time that 11 men failed to beat 10 because those 10 always seem to work that bit harder,” he observed.

“We tried to open it out and play more expansively but the pitch didn’t help us. We dominated them even when they had eleven. We’re disappointed not to get the win but we’ll take the point.”

Current conditions work against Bohemians playing as they would wish to. “We can’t pass and move the ball as much as we like to, and with pace and accuracy,” said Callaghan. “We’re pleased with what we’re doing in training on the all-weather pitch but we can’t do it in the same way on grass at present.”

The Bohemian manager expects St Patrick’s Athletic to improve this season on last year’s achievements, and he was surprised that they went down 3-0 to Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. They may have shown their rivals too much respect, he thinks.

Eight of the last nine league games between Bohemians and Pats have been drawn or decided by a single goal either way and another close encounter may be on the cards for Saturday.

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