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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Bohs' boss Keith Long.
# Fixtures
'I’m at a loss to understand why we play so many games at this time of year'
Bohemians manager Keith Long is unhappy with the season’s early-season fixture pile-up.

BOHEMIANS’ MANAGER KEITH Long has declared himself unhappy with the early-season fixture pile-up once again afflicting clubs. 

Bohs’ came from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Derry City last night, although had to do so without midfielder Keith Buckley and top scorer Dinny Corcoran, both of whom missed out through groin injuries. 

Last night’s was Bohs’ fourth game in a fortnight, and they play Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday night before travelling to Cork City next Friday. 

“It’s a conversation we had this time last year”, Long told The42 after last night’s game. “We are having the same conversations now.

“There were five Derry players out of the team and we had two of our key players out: it’s just difficult at this time of the year.

“There were 3,000 people here tonight. People have paid good money to come into the ground tonight.

“We want to reward that crowd with good performances, and if you don’t have your best players on the pitch, it doesn’t help.

“We do want the product and the spectacle to be the best it can be, and if you don’t play your best players, obviously the product can suffer.

“I don’t remember being consulted. I’m a stakeholder in the game: I’m a manager of a Premier Division football team. I don’t remember the managers being called in to have a conversation around the fixture scheduling.

“So it’s difficult to understand the logic of having so many games after such a long off-season in the conditions we’re playing in.

“The pitches are heavy, so it’s difficult for the boys. Injuries are a concern for everybody. We want to have our best players on the pitch and to reward the public for coming in. 

“When the summer comes it is easier to play. The pitches are certainly better; we aren’t playing in the depths of winter in the freezing cold. It is designed to prevent fixture pile-up for the teams in Europe, but I’m sure it can be balanced out across the season.” 

Bohs fell behind to an Eoghan Stokes penalty early in the second half, but battled back to equalise through defender James Finnerty in the last quarter of the game. 

Although his side fought from behind and created the better chances, Long was slightly underwhelmed by the Bohs’ performance. 

“I’m disappointed, I think we have dropped two points. Not necessarily because our performance was anywhere near the standard we can achieve – I thought tonight we were a little bit flat and the goal sort of reminds us we are in a game and gives us the kick up the backside we needed.

“We came back into the game quite strongly, we’ve had chances to win the game. Whether we deserve it or not, that’s debatable.

“It’s not all doom and gloom. We got something out of the game, which isn’t the end of the world.

I don’t know [why Bohs were flat to start], to be honest. We prepared quite well this week. The pitch is soft and heavy underfoot. We seemed to lack a little energy tonight.

“It’s a cold night, it’s a windy night, the pitch at this time of the year isn’t in great condition. But we have got to make things happen for ourselves.

“But when the goal went in we showed good character to get back into it.”

Long confirmed he hopes to have Buckley and Corcoran available for next Friday’s trip to Turner’s Cross. 

In spite of conceding their first goal of the season against Derry, they remain in second place, two points from leaders Shamrock Rovers with a game in hand. 

Derry, meanwhile, are two points further back in fourth place. 

 

 

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