Bohemians, General football, League of Ireland, SSE Airtricity League

“I heard the crack at the time, so I knew it was a bad one”

Dinny Corcoran’s season was said to be over in May, however, he is plotting a return before the end of the season to fire Bohs into Europe for the first time since 2012.

The Bohemians striker cut a lonely figure when crumpled on the Dalymount turf, 13 minutes into a league game with Sligo. Having fractured a bone in his foot, he left the field on a stretcher after a lengthy treatment delay, hugging an oxygen tank. “I actually heard the crack at the time, so I knew it was a bad one. It wasn’t even that painful, I just knew it was going to be a lengthy one”.

Heartbreaker

Corcoran revealed the often under-discussed psychological aspect of a long-term injury. “It was more upsetting than anything else. I knew I’d be out for a while. Obviously at the time I didn’t know the extent of the injury or how long I’d be out for, but I knew it was going to be quite lengthy. It was heartbreaker, but look, that’s football, these things happen. I’m feeling good now.”

No doubt he had plenty to take his mind off the injury. Having appeared on hit daytime television show, Countdown earlier in the year, Corcoran would find himself with ample conundrum time during his slow rehabilitation. “The first six weeks was tough. I couldn’t do anything to be honest with you. I was in a boot, I was on crutches, I couldn’t drive. I was basically stuck to my couch for six weeks. I could do a bit of upper body in the gym but that’s kind of hard on the head mentally to stay motivated.”

Strength and conditioning

Six weeks before Corcoran’s injury, Bohs lost a key member of their backroom team, when Strength and Conditioning coach, Graham Norton, left to join Dundalk. The Gypsies brought in Remy Tang as a replacement, who had worked at Glasgow Celtic and the English FA and Liverpool youth setups. Corcoran admitted the loss of Norton was a surprise. “It was a bit of a shock to be honest. It came all of a sudden. Graham was very good. He obviously got a good offer at Dundalk, the champions of Ireland, which would be a hard one to turn down. Remy Tang has come in and done very well, he has impressed me a lot, he has filled Graham’s shoes.”

St Pat’s return

With three matches still to go and the race for Europe looking like it will go right down to the wire, Bohs, Derry and St. Pat’s battle it out for the two places on offer. Corcoran is out of contract at the end of the season and is sure to have many suitors. However, his immediate plan is to play again this season, despite being written off. “The last month or two have been good, I’ve enjoyed it being able to run again. It’s not 100% yet, but I’m hoping to maybe set a target for the Pat’s game, so hopefully I’ll feature.” On his immediate future, he hopes to hang around Dalymount too. “I’m hoping that I can get back for a game or two, prove myself and hopefully stay for another year at least.”

The countdown to Dinny Corcoran’s comeback is underway, however, with his contract due to expire in November, it will be more than the Bohemians supporters with a keen eye on the striker’s return.

Andy Donlan.

Cover photograph – Stephen Burke

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FAI Cup, General football, Ireland, Keith Long

Perception is not often reality

“We haven’t had a cup run at all in my time here. I’m pleased tonight that we’ve won, the attitude of the players was spot on, we’d like to enjoy tonight and next week look forward to the Rovers game,” beamed Bohs boss, Keith Long after their seven-nil annihilation of Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night.

Having negotiated the first hurdle of the FAI Cup with relative ease, Bohs now go on to pit their wits away against First Division Galway – a team they knocked out of this competition in 2016. Premier Division Bohs will be favourites to advance to next month’s quarter-finals.

Hitting form

Standing in a now-near-empty and dimly-light Ferrycarrig Park, Long admits, “Our form since the break has been very good, except for the Sligo game. We went down to Waterford and drew 1-1 and should have won. We had beaten Pat’s the week before, so that’s been the only blip on our copy book since the break. Then we scored eighteen goals in the last four games and conceded two. I’ve said to the players, we’ve got to have that level of consistency, week in, week out, because I believe in them.” Prior to the League of Ireland summer break, goal-shy Bohs only averaged less than a goal a game.

Wing trickery

Their new-found ruthlessness in front of goal – albeit against sides ranked inferior – has seen them rack-up six, five and seven without reply in recent weeks. That is thanks in no small part to the implosion at Bray Wanderers, resulting in the arrival of tricky right winger Daniel Kelly to Bohs, coupled with the new-found confidence and directness of Kevin Devaney on the opposite wing. Older heads like Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh and Philly Gannon have moved on due to restricted first team opportunities, resulting in speedier attacks and a new-found incisiveness.

Philosophy

Others have blossomed too, youngsters Grant, Kirk, Lyons and Mageruson have come into the first team from the under-19s and haven’t been found wanting. All good for competition, as Long points out. “We’re building at the club. The philosophy – call it that if you will – is to promote the best young players. I think we’ve got quite a number of them throughout the club, our under-19 team are strong, so we’ve got lots of players who are ready to come in. It creates that environment and culture where there’s lots of competition for places, so it has been really good, but it has been built up over a period of time, it hasn’t just happened. It’s long hours of hard work with the players, recruiting and identifying the right kind of players and creating an environment that is good and the culture is rich in the club at the moment.”

Smallest budget – people don’t want to hear that

Generally, the promotion of youth is down to restricted finances, or under-performance. Bohs are no different, as consistency levels have seen them struggling and teetering above the relegation play-off spot for much of the season.

“Our league form – the consistency levels – need to improve and I believe some of the performances we’ve put in this season deserve more and the league table at this stage doesn’t lie, so it is what it is. People on the outside view Bohs as a big club, which it is, it is a big club with big history, but we’re operating off the smallest budget in this league. Fact. People don’t want to hear that, I’ve said that now for quite a number of years, but we’re doing well, we are boxing above our weight, year-on-year we’re doing really well and I think people should realise that we’re a part-time group and we’re giving an honest effort and we work extremely hard at our jobs at the club and it’s down to other people what they perceive, but perception is not often reality.”

Supporters want success

Past money-issues still linger fresh in the mind around Dalymount Park – an asset Bohs lost in property speculation only a few years ago. Long stressed, “Obviously we’d like to move things forward, but it can’t be at the detriment to the health of the club, which in the past – that situation has led us to where we are now – the overspending and so-on. We’re living with that, we are coping with it, we are doing our very, very best with the limited resources that we have. There are lots of good people at the club. There are lots of volunteers who give their time for the club, we are appreciative of all of that, but ultimately, I think our supporters want a little bit of success, they want to see us kick-on, but that takes finances, that takes resources, that takes a lot of different things coming together all at once.”

Different animal

Before leaving to return to the dressing room, Long adds, “I’m pleased tonight that we’ve won, the attitude of the players was spot on, we’d like to enjoy tonight and look forward to the Rovers game – we know it will be a much different animal next week”.

It is highly unlikely that Rovers will become the latest recipients of a Bohs mauling, due to the congested nature of this derby fixture, however, if the animal instincts of Long’s young group kick-in they may go for the kill from the off.

Andy Donlan.

Cover photograph – Stephen Burke

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General football, Ireland, League of Ireland, SSE Airtricity League

Dundalk return to league summit

Dundalk 2-0 Bohemians (Hoare 31’, Hoban (pen.) 51’)

Dundalk advanced to the summit of the SSE Airtricity League after a comfortable win over Bohemians at Oriel Park. Having led through Sean Hoare’s header at the break, Dundalk stepped up a gear in the second half and only thanks to the brilliance of Shane Supple in the Bohs goal, this would have been a more comfortable win. In the end, they could only add one second half strike – a debatable penalty – through Patrick Hoban.

The contrasting fortunes of these sides leaves Bohs to lick their wounds and prepare for Friday’s relegation six-pointer with Limerick, whilst Dundalk jet off to sunny-Cyprus to prepare for Thursday’s Europa League qualification clash with AEK Larnaca.

Bohs didn’t make it easy for the Champions in the opening half, with new singing Daniel Kelly proving a constant menace, although they needed net-minder, Shane Supple in inspired form after the break, keeping out Benson, Kelly and Hoban twice.

Bohemians made two changes from last week’s in 6-0 hammering of Bray Wanderers, with Oscar Brennan and Ian Morris in for Ward and Cornwall. Dundalk made one change from their Europa League stalemate with AEK, as Jarvis replaced Massey at full back.

The first half was a nip and tuck affair with Dundalk uncharacteristically off-colour in their play, however, they took the lead after thirty-one minutes. Green right fullback, Andy Lyons – in for his second consecutive start, replacing the suspended Derek Pender – conceded a corner to Duffy down the left. Winger, Michael Duffy sent in the corner, which Sean Hoare rose highest to meet and nod to the net to give Dundalk the lead.

With the words from Stephen Kenny’s half time team talk still ringing in their ears, Dundalk came out a different side after the break. They added their second through a soft penalty after Casey was harshly adjudged to have fouled Jarvis after his neat interplay with Duffy down the left. Back in March, Dundalk beat Bohemians 3-0 at this venue and just as it was then, Hoban scored the resulting penalty from a Casey foul – sending Supple the wrong way once again.

The busy Supple made two further saves to deny Hoban, before extinguishing a shot from Benson on seventy minutes. Both managers tried to freshen things up from the bench and it was one of Bohemians’ substitutes, Keith Ward who almost got his side back into the game. His shot on eighty-eight minutes hit the inside of the post. Then, after the ball was cleared and sent back in by fellow substitute, Danny Grant, Ward shot past Rogers, but captain Brian Gartland was back to clear off the line.

Supple again thwarted Dundalk two minutes later, when he saved one-on-one from Georgie Kelly, but it’s Dundalk who go to Cyprus in high spirits, whilst Bohs must pick themselves up for Friday’s relegation battle at Dalymount.

Dundalk: Rogers; Cleary, Gartland, Hoare, Jarvis; Connolly (McEleney 59’), Shields, Benson (Chvedukas 75’), Duffy; McGrath; Hoban (Kelly 85’).
Subs not used: Sava; Mountney; Massey; Murray.

Bohemians: Supple; Lyons, Morris, Casey, Leahy; Kelly, Buckley, Brennan (Byrne 56’), Lunney (Ward 59’), Devaney; Corcoran (Grant 75’).
Subs not used: Bohan; Kavanagh; Kirk; Stokes.

Attendance: 3,139

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