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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 6 June, 2020

'I've had phone calls from people I've never heard of looking for tickets to the game'

Bohemians manager Keith Long was encouraged by another sell-out at Dalymount Park against St Pat’s.

Keith Long pictured at Dalymount Park.
Keith Long pictured at Dalymount Park.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

LAST FRIDAY IN Phibsborough was as perfect a night could be for everyone involved with Bohemians Football Club.

The Gypsies secured their fourth win from seven league games in the Premier Division this season, their second Dublin derby victory in as many outings, all played out in front of a sold-out crowd at Dalymount Park.

The club are undefeated at home so far in 2019 and every single home game has been a sell-out for Bohs fans looking for a ticket in the Jodi Stand — a combined home and away support of over 3,600 in attendance on Friday.

Keith Buckley’s composed strike into the top corner saw off the challenge of city rivals St Pat’s and manager Keith Long admitted that there were some noticeably positive vibes around the club so far this campaign after another impressive win.

Bohemians fans before the game The Jodi Stand at Dalymount Park has been sold out for every home game so far this season. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“The opening fifteen minutes I thought Pat’s were probably a little bit quicker to the ball than we were. They were a little bit sharper and were quite direct, and we had to deal with that threat.

“But I thought our players coped very well and we started to grow into the game. We started to build attacks and started to build a bit of momentum.

We get a goal at a great time on 43 minutes. It was a great finish from Keith, right into the top corner. I don’t think Brendan Clarke could do anything about it. We were maybe a little bit disappointed that we didn’t capitalise and get another goal or two more.

“We looked really threatening on the counter-attack and used the ball quite well. So it’s a massive three points for us.”

Alongside Finn Harps, who were promoted from the First Division last season, Bohemians are the only part-time club in the SSE Airtricity League top-flight. This fact makes the side’s early start to this season — currently in third place, four points ahead of 2017 champions Cork City — even more impressive.

With a plethora of key first-team players departing during the off-season, including Shane Supple (retired), Dan Casey (Cork City), Eoghan Stokes (Derry City), Daniel Kelly (Dundalk), JJ Lunney (Waterford), Oscar Brennan (Shelbourne) and Dan Byrne (Shelbourne), the Dubliners’ early promise has been a serious achievement with a new squad.

It’s been a good start and that’s all that it is, isn’t it?” said manager Long. “We’re only seven games in, so it’s very early days. We’ve had a turnover in the playing squad, that’s for sure. We retained a lot of good players too.

“We’d like to ensure that our assets and our best players remain at the club. That’s something that’s going to be difficult. But with more nights like tonight, with packed houses and people coming through the gates — there’s a great atmosphere around the place — hopefully we’ll be able to do that by keeping up our end of the bargain and producing performances every week.”

Long said it was important for fans to turn up at Dalymount Park on Friday nights and enjoy the experience of a match, with positive results and performances on the field of play feeding the cycle by bringing people back again.

Dinny Corcoran celebrates scoring the first goal from a penalty The Dubliners are currently in third place with four wins in seven games. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We want our fans to enjoy the Friday night experience here, which I’m sure they are at the moment. Listen, it’s still very early days, nobody here is getting carried away.

“There’s restrictions around the ground obviously, but I’m sure we could fill a few more seats if they were available. Pat’s bring a fantastic crowd tonight and it creates an interest when you hear the news that Dalymount is going to sell out for the game on a Friday night.

“That creates interest,” Long continued. “I’ve had phone calls this week from people I’ve never heard of looking for tickets to the game. Hopefully that will continue, because it does take a lot of hard work from the volunteers at this club throughout the week.

“It’s early days, but it is fantastic to see the crowds the way they are turning up. I think everyone at Bohs is enjoying it.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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