Friday 14 December 2018

Seagulls poised to swoop for rising Bohs star O'Hora

Bohemians' Warren O'Hora. Photo: Sportsfile
Bohemians' Warren O'Hora. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Bohemians will not stand in the way of promising defender Warren O'Hora who is expected to leave the club for England before the close of the January window.

Brighton are in pole position to sign the centre-half ahead of Norwich with Bohs boss Keith Long suggesting there will be clarity on his situation later this week.

O'Hora impressed for the Gypsies last year after deciding against taking up a scholarship in the United States and he quickly attracted UK interest.

Norwich had a bid for the 18-year-old rejected before Christmas, with the Seagulls stepping up their interest and moving closer to a deal.

"There will be something later on in the week," said Long yesterday. "Warren has done really well at the club. He has captained our U-17 and U-19 sides and graduated into the first team and made every transition look easy at times.

"If his career development is to be somewhere else, then us as a club are happy for him to fulfil his ambitions if it's full-time football in the UK or wherever. You'll probably hear something later in the week."

In a domestic context, Bohs are very much a part-time outfit and Long is conscious of their status relative to almost every other club in the forthcoming ten-team Premier Division for 2018.

The Bohs manager puts themselves in the same bracket as Bray in the sense that their players will be working during the day and training in the evening.

By contrast, top three, Cork, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, are now all training full-time in the mornings and operating off significantly bigger budgets.

After selling Fuad Sule to Barnet for a small fee, Bohs will also profit from the departure of O'Hora but they are still running a tight ship as a legacy from overspending a decade ago.

The long-term club plan revolves around playing out of a renovated Dalymount Park, but they will face the financial challenge of playing away from their base for up to two seasons when work at the Phibsborough venue is taking place.

Long's charges overperformed to finish fifth last year when consolidating their top-flight status was the aim. He feels there is still a place for a part-time outfit in the Premier Division.

"I don't think it's any harm for our boys to combine their part-time football activities with a full-time career," says Long, who was speaking at the launch of the club's new amputee team.

"At the moment we are a part-time club and that's the type of player we want to bring in.

"It gives them good discipline, life skills as well as an income that will help them. There is only so much you can do sitting around the house waiting for mammy to feed you. You have to get out there and get into the real world. What is full-time football in this country? Full-time football for us is training part-time, at nights, and working during the day.

"While we're in the position to recruit probably the best of the Dublin part-time players, and we're still a big club that can command a reasonable gate every second week, there is no doubt that it's tough and getting tougher.

"Everybody else has the resources. We're part-time but we don't try and use that as an excuse. Everyone is committed. That's the way it's been and the way it will be for the considerable future."

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