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heary: bohs have will to strike three

BOHEMIANS captain Owen Heary insists that the Gypsies have the desire and hunger to do what only one team has done in the past 40 years -- win three successive league titles.

Heary is one of the most decorated players in the domestic game, with seven league titles on top of his cup medals with Shelbourne and Bohs, but he maintains that he's as eager as ever to carry on hoovering up silverware -- and the same goes for his team-mates as they bid to follow the example of the Shamrock Rovers side of 1984-87, the only side to win three leagues in a row since Waterford managed it back in 1970.

"The hunger is still there, you can see that from how we play," said Heary, now in his 18th season of senior football, having begun with the now-defunct Kilkenny City in 1993.

"People say about me that I have been around for a long time and my legs are gone but that does my head in because there are older players in the league. I feel good in training every day and in matches, so why should I give it all up just because I am 33? There is no age limit to success, in my book.

"Myself and Jason Byrne have won a lot between us, but we're still very keen to win more. We've had that hunger to win things all along and just because we won the league the last two years running, we're not going to start resting on our laurels.


"Jason is about 40 years of age now but he's still showing the hunger to win games and win things. Look at what he did on Tuesday night. He came back from injury, came off the bench and scored a vital goal against UCD.

"Jason only trained for the first time in a while the day before the UCD game and he looked great when he came on. You could see his hunger to play well and score. He ran 60 or 70 yards to get on the end of it and score," added Heary, who says that senior players at the club like himself and Byrne have been reinvigorated by some of the new signings made by boss Pat Fenlon in the off-season.

"You see lads like Raff Cretaro come into the club, or young players like Paddy Madden come into the team, and they can only look up to someone like Jason. He has five or six league medals but he's still hungry for more. He's been top scorer in the league for the last few seasons, apart from last year, and he wants to be up there again. He wants to show the younger lads coming through that he's still top dog," added Heary.

Byrne showed his class and his importance to the Bohs cause when he was sprung from the bench away to UCD in midweek, helping Bohs come from 1-0 down to beat a 10-man UCD side 2-1. It wasn't vintage stuff from Bohs but Heary isn't worried about early season form.

"We do need to improve but I'm not reading too much into Tuesday's game with UCD," he said. "It was only the second game of the season. We played well in the first half but didn't get the breakthrough.

"UCD got a goal from a penalty which was their only real chance of the game. We needed a reaction to that and we got it when the two lads, Jason and Raff Cretaro, came off the bench and scored. We can do better and we will as the season goes on," added Heary.

"We've only had two league and two Setanta Cup games -- that's too early in the season to make any sort of judgment on how good or bad we are. We have a lot of new players in the squad and we're still getting used to each other. We could play a bit better I suppose, but if you are winning games and not playing all that well it's a good sign, because I think that when we do click as a team and start playing well people will see the best of us.

"It takes time for new players to get used to each other. On Tuesday night I had Gareth McGlynn in front of me on the right. It's the first time we've played together and it will take me time to get used to what he does, that all takes time."

Bohs travel up the M1 tonight to face Drogheda United, Heary aware that Bohs were perhaps fortunate in many of their recent visits to the venue now called Hunky Dorys Park. Bohs have taken 10 points from a possible 12 from their past four league games here, but in three of those games Bohs only secured the points with a last-minute goal.

"It's a tough game for us tonight," said Heary. "I watched Drogheda on TV last weekend against Dundalk and they're a good side, they are physically strong and hard to break down.

"You expect that in the first few games and this early in the season it's about getting points on the board. The good football will come later on."