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'It’s been tough' - Bohemians defender Ciarán Kelly still left battling Covid after-effects

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Ciarán Kelly of Bohemians in action against Jack O'Connor of Maynooth University Town during the extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final matchDalymount Park on Friday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ciarán Kelly of Bohemians in action against Jack O'Connor of Maynooth University Town during the extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final matchDalymount Park on Friday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Keith Ward of Bohemians celebrates with team-mate Ciarán Kelly, right, after scoring their side's third goal

Keith Ward of Bohemians celebrates with team-mate Ciarán Kelly, right, after scoring their side's third goal

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Ciarán Kelly of Bohemians in action against Jack O'Connor of Maynooth University Town during the extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final matchDalymount Park on Friday. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Bohemians defender Ciarán Kelly admits that he’s not fully recovered from contracting Covid-19 as his entire season was almost knocked off course.

The 23-year-old had a difficult first season at Dalymount Park last term and was loaned out, to an Irish League club, at one stage, but he’s been central to Keith Long’s plans this term.

He starred in their run in the Europa Conference League but just before the second leg of the Gypsies’ third-round tie with PAOK, he tested positive for coronavirus, missing three league games as well as that defeat in Greece.

Kelly has since played in FAI Cup wins over Shamrock Rovers and Friday’s comfortable quarter-final defeat of Maynooth University Town, but a month on from his positive test, he’s still not free of the after-effects of the virus.

“I obviously got hit with Covid there coming into the last bit of Europe but I’m slowly getting back into it now. It’s been tough, the games, breathing and stuff like that and I’ve been slowly trying to get into it but I feel like I’m near 100% and want to keep it going,” he says.

“I had it quite bad, in fairness, I didn’t think I would. My breathing was at me a good bit, the smell and taste went as well and I had a cough. It kind of came back after three or four days but then the breathing stayed a bit, and that’s the bit I’ve been working on in training, trying to get that back quicker.

"It was affecting me even walking up the stairs, my breath was difficult to get it back. But after the Covid, walking around and stuff that was fine but it was just the physical stuff that I had a problem with."

Kelly has even been doing breathing exercises to get back to normal. “It’s the Wim Hof method, it’s box breathing: long breaths in and long breaths out and holding your breath and stuff like that. It has benefitted me,” he says.

Kelly had a stress-free evening on Friday as Bohs kept a clean sheet at home to Maynooth and made it into the last four of the FAI Cup, but there’s a quick turnaround as they face an in-form Derry City at home tonight, a vital game in the race for a European spot with Bohs and Derry both keen to press Sligo Rovers for the top three.

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“We have played them a couple of times now and it’s been tight. We’re looking to go into the game to get three points and put a gap between ourselves,” says Kelly.

Derry came from behind to win in Dalymount in April but their two-goal hero from that day, Cameron McJannet, is one of three players suspended for the trip.

“We have seen in Europe and in their games against Shamrock Rovers that Bohs are a vibrant side, with some of the best young players in the country, it’ll be a tough game,” Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins says.

“But Dalymount Park has been a great ground for Derry over the years, hopefully that continues.”



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