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Bohemians boss Long puzzled by 'odd' Shamrock Rovers postponements

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Bohemians manager Keith Long prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Bohemians at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Bohemians manager Keith Long prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Bohemians at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Bohemians manager Keith Long prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and Bohemians at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Bohemians boss Keith Long has said the decision-making process around League of Ireland Covid-19 postponements raises "more questions than answers".

Long was speaking after his side played out a scoreless draw with Dundalk at Oriel Park last night without the services of one positive case and a close contact.

League leaders Shamrock Rovers had three matches called off after the HSE identified six close contacts to a Covid-positive player.

Long said he understood why Rovers would seek to protect themselves in that instance with health the primary concern, but is frustrated by the absence of a clear rule on postponements to deal with the various eventualities.

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Keith Ward of Bohemians has a shot on goal saved by Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division draw at Oriel Park, Dundalk. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Keith Ward of Bohemians has a shot on goal saved by Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division draw at Oriel Park, Dundalk. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Keith Ward of Bohemians has a shot on goal saved by Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division draw at Oriel Park, Dundalk. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

He also said that the Gypsies had treated the protocols like a "military" operation, adding that it was then a source of annoyance to "see so many players linked to one case" at another club.

"I wish all the players at other clubs well and a speedy recovery," he said. "We played this game because we had no choice."

With all underage League of Ireland games this weekend suspended amid doubts around where sport is going generally, Long said he found it "odd" that the Rovers games were postponed and feels a defined stance on coping with further Covid cases is required.

Bohs didn’t have the ideal trip with delays at the M1 holding up the arrival of their two team buses.

A defensive crisis also meant Long had to pair his second-choice full-backs Paddy Kirk and Michael Barker as a centre-half partnership and he showered praise on their attitude and level of performance as Bohs showed why they are comfortably in control of second spot with European qualification already in the bag.

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They weren’t flustered by a strong Dundalk selection that ultimately flattered to deceive despite lengthy spells of possession.

Indeed, this was one of those scoreless draws that left both protagonist with regrets. Bohs’ Andre Wright squandered a glorious early chance, and Keith Ward claimed that a second half shot had crossed the line.

Michael Duffy was inches away from giving Dundalk the lead and Filippo Giovagnoli’s charges have a bit of work to do to secure Europe.

They have the Europa League kick-off against Molde next Thursday looming large, but travel to face Derry on Monday and injuries to Daniel Kelly and Nathan Oduwa are a concern.

Dundalk: Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Cleary, Dummigan; Shields; Kelly (Oduwa 51; Colovic 74), Sloggett, McEleney (Murray 65), Duffy; Hoban.

Bohemians: Talbot, Lyons, Barker, Kirk, Breslin; Levingston, Buckley; Omochere, Ward (Mandroiu 74), Grant; Wright.


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