EA Sports Cup quarter-final, City Calling Stadium, Monday 26 May, 7.45pm

Owen Heary has challenged his players to continue to up their game as they go in search of a place in the last four of the EA Sports Cup tonight.

Bohs responded to an unlucky defeat against Drogheda United 10 days ago to secure a deserved draw against high-flying Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght on Friday.

And Heary is looking to build on that as he welcomes Dinny Corcoran back from a three-game suspension to boost his options up front.

“I was pleased with how we played on Friday, but again we’re talking about missed chances,” he said.


“It’s been tough on Jason Byrne. With Dinny suspended and injured before that, Jay has been asked to play nearly every minute of every game over the last few weeks, which is not what we expected.

“With Dinny back, we can mix it up again and between them, we’ll be back scoring and pushing on up the table again.”

While Bohs have struggled in front of goal in recent outings, Heary was delighted with improvements at the back.

“Rovers are a very experienced team and put us under a lot of pressure with the amount of possession they had in the second half,” he said. “But our lads stood up to everything and we limited them to a couple of half-chances.

“It was only our third clean sheet of the season, so it’s something we’ve been looking at. But for that to come away to one of the best sides in the league is an achievement.”

One problem area had been the position of left-back and Heary thinks he has now found the solution. He said: “We needed to improve and Derek Pender has really shored things up there in recent weeks.

“But there are knock-on effects too. Moving Pender meant dropping Steven Beattie back to right-back, which obviously weakened our attacking strengths.

“With Anto Murphy getting back to fitness now, we’ve now a solid and experienced back four to choose from. Dano Byrne is the only inexperienced player there and he’s been absolutely fantastic for us.”

Skipper Dave Mulcahy will not be risked tonight after coming off with a tight hamstring against Rovers on Friday, while Eoin Wearen is also out as he awaits the results of a scan on a groin injury he suffered in training on Thursday.

As well an opportunity to reach a cup semi-final, tonight’s opposition also provide Heary with a chance to gauge just how far some of his younger players have progressed. He said: “You only have to look at their teamsheet to realise what a big test this will be for our lads. Stephen Rice, Pat Sullivan, Pat Flynn – all tough league winners.

“It’s a massive test for us and a great opportunity for our players to up their game and to test themselves against players with great experience.”

And it is young players such as 18-year-old Jake Hyland who will continue to benefit. “It’s a competition we want to win and you have to keep faith with lads like Jake who have got us this far in the first place.

“He’s scored three goals in the last two rounds (1 v UCD, 2 v St Pat’s) so he’s already justified his selection. He’s progressing fast and he should be in the Ireland Under-19 team.”


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