Sunday 26 May 2019

Long placing no limits on Bohs' expectations

Bohemians manager Keith Long. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Bohemians manager Keith Long. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Occupying second place in the Premier Division could be seen as nose-bleed territory for a club like Bohemians who have not won a trophy, or even challenged, in a decade.

Manager Keith Long, whose stock among the Gypsies support is at an all-time high after yet another derby success against Shamrock Rovers, has warned that his team have no plans to shuffle off the stage.

"The fans are quite enjoying it at the moment, which is great for them. They've come out and backed us in big numbers, and have done since the start of the season," says Long.

"We've a sense of where we're at as a club, we've an understanding of where we're at, where we want to go, what we want to achieve. We're not going to put limits on what we can achieve this season. The players have belief, we've come to Tallaght and won before, it's not unnatural to them."

Old hands like Derek Pender (34) and Dinny Corcoran (30) have been vital for Bohs this season, but the key to their success is how quickly the new recruits, such as goalkeeper James Talbot, defender James Finnerty and midfielders Daniel Mandroiu and Conor Levingston, have all acclimatised in their debut seasons in men's football.

"Their performances have been massive for us. James is a young man, 20 years of age but he leads the back four along with Rob Cornwall exceptionally well. Conor Levingston in the middle of the park was exceptional, his quality and passing range is really good. We've got young boys who are doing really well at the moment."

Rovers need to regroup for tomorrow's test away to champions Dundalk. They are still sore about the controversial dismissals on Tuesday evening of Trevor Clarke and, particularly, Lee Grace.

"It's frightening, it's shocking. It's a big game and he (the referee) couldn't wait to get his card and the whistle out. I thought it was a terrible decision," said boss Stephen Bradley.

"But the players were unbelievable. If they produce that will, fight and desire between now and the end of the season, we'll be right there. They're professional, they'll recover, and we go again on Friday."

Irish Independent

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