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'A kick in the nuts'

OWEN HEARY fears that nerves got the better of his Bohemians side in their crucial relegation battle, with the club still in danger of dropping out of the top flight for the first time in their history.

Bohs went into Friday's game at home to Bray Wanderers knowing that just a draw would secure Premier Division status for next season, but a second-half goal from Kieran Marty Watters gave Bray a win, a result which had implications for a number of clubs.

That win for Bray confirmed that Shelbourne were automatically relegated, ending their two-year stay in the top flight but also ensured that Bohs, Bray and UCD will all be involved on the final day of the season, all three clubs hoping to avoid an 11th place finish and the resulting play-off.

"We were poor on Friday but we still have two chances to get out of trouble, if we win or draw our game on Friday in Drogheda we will be ok, and even if the worst-case scenario on Friday, we lose our game and the other results go against us, then we are in a play-off but we'd still have a chance," said Heary, who named himself as a sub for Friday's game due to the lack of defensive cover as veterans Anto Murphy and Dave Mulcahy were both missing due to injury, and their absence was felt.

"I think we were nervous on Friday, we have a lot of young players in our team and when you take out the likes of Dave Mulcahy and Anto, you can struggle. Bray have a lot more experienced players in their side and that showed in the last game.

"We didn't play that well on Friday, we didn't deserve to win the game but I didn't think Bray deserved it either.

"Our performance was disappointing, we didn't create enough chances, have enough shots on goal.

"The manner of their goal was disappointing from our point of view. We didn't do enough on the night and that's a big disappointment.

"I can't hammer the players too much, they were very down after Friday night and it was a kick in the nuts for us but we regrouped, we got back in on Saturday and we'll prepare well for the last game of the season."

While Bohs play Drogheda and Bray take on Dundalk, UCD's final game is away to a Shelbourne side who have already been relegated, and having given long service to the Reds, Heary admitted that he was saddened by their demise.

"It's a pity to see Shels go down, but they didn't go down just because of our game on Friday, they went down because they didn't get enough points over the season," he said.

"It's given us a spur as we certainly don't want to join them down in the First Division next season."