Tuesday 15 October 2019

Lyons puts exam pressure aside to play starring role in Bohs' derby win

Andy Lyons (centre) jumps for joy with his Bohemians team-mates after Friday night's 2-1 derby victory against Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Andy Lyons (centre) jumps for joy with his Bohemians team-mates after Friday night's 2-1 derby victory against Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

He was one of the stars of the show in a Dublin derby which gripped the city on Friday night.

But there was no star treatment for Andy Lyons, the 18-year-old who played a huge part in the 2-1 win for Bohemians over Shamrock Rovers, no baby Bentley waiting to whisk him away.

Instead, he whipped out the Leap card, like a normal teenager, and got the bus home.

"Yep, I got the 38 from outside Dalymount and went into town. I got the bus to the game so why wouldn't I get the bus home?" says Lyons.

"It was the biggest game in my career and the best moment I have had in football. To play in a match like that, where a win in the derby means so much to the fans, that's something you will always remember.

"I was on the bench or in the stands for the previous games against Rovers so that was my first taste of the derby and it's only when you play in it, you realise how big a deal it is. We know we made our supporters happy for the whole weekend and that's the main thing, seeing the reaction of our fans was amazing.

"Bohs is a great place to be for a young player because if you are good enough, the manager trusts you to play in the first team and I owe Keith Long an awful lot."

There's enough going on in his world now to make the head spin: filling in at full-back in a makeshift Bohs defence for his first taste of the derby, which Bohs won 2-1 thanks to a stunning goal from Danny Mandroiu; trying to stay in the frame for the Ireland U-19 squad which travels to Armenia for the European Championship finals next month; and the mere matter of his Leaving Certificate.

Yet the Kildare-born player is taking it all in his stride, as he shrugged off the praise that came his way over the weekend to get ready for another test.

"The Leaving has gone ok so far. I have one exam left, Spanish. I'm happy so far but it will be good to get it over and done with," says Lyons, who made his Bohs debut last season.

"I am loving it at the moment. At times this year it was hard to balance football and study but thankfully the Leaving is nearly done.

"It was important for me to do the Leaving. Going from school to training with Bohs, they were busy days but it was all worth it."

Lyons began his career in his native Naas and had a spell with St Joseph's Boys before landing at Bohs. His background in soccer makes him something of an outsider in his place of education, as Blackrock College is known for another code.

"It's a massive rugby school and they don't get too many soccer players coming through, I think Alan Lee, who played for Ireland, was the only one.

"I tried rugby, very briefly. In first year we were told we had to play for a bit. I played one game and I knew rugby was not for me."

Results from his Leaving Cert will dictate what happens next, as a college course (commerce or sports management) could be on the cards.

A career in England could also beckon, as Lyons feels he coped well while on trial with Wolves last November. In the short-term, guiding Bohs to European qualification for the first time since 2012 is a target.

The only downside for the defender is that his late uncle, renowned broadcaster Johnny Lyons, is not around to see his progress.

"We all miss him greatly but hopefully I did him proud on Friday night."

Irish Independent

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