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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

'He can be whatever he wants to be. There was a reason he was at a Premier League club'

Bohemians boss Keith Long heaped praise on Danny Mandroiu after his match-winning performance against Shamrock Rovers.

Bohemians' Danny Mandroiu celebrates after the game with fans.
Bohemians' Danny Mandroiu celebrates after the game with fans.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated a 09.12

BOHEMIANS BOSS KEITH Long was full of praise for Danny Mandroiu after the youngster’s match-winning performance on Friday at Dalymount Park.

Mandroiu — who joined Bohs from Brighton prior to the start of the season — scored twice as they defeated bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers 2-1. His first goal was a penalty taken less than 10 minutes after he missed a spot kick, while his second was a 25-yard cracker that prompted the loudest cheer of the night at the sold-out stadium.

It was not the first time the 20-year-old Dubliner has produced a bit of magic, with similarly spectacular goals in previous games against UCD and St Pat’s, while Friday night’s brace took the midfielder’s overall tally for the season to six.

“He has that Danny to be fair, he’s shown it already this year,” Long said afterwards. “Obviously on his stronger side against UCD when he had to manufacture space.

“It’s an unbelievable strike. It’s hit the roof of the net with some venom. There’s not a ‘keeper in the world that saves it.

Big players perform on big occasions. He celebrated it like it was a run-of-the-mill goal, but that’s an outstanding piece of play that he’s shown on his weaker side. He’s a very good technical player with an outstanding future ahead of him.”

Long also praised the player’s “courage” in stepping up to take the second penalty after missing the first one, while adding: “Nothing seems to faze him, we’re really pleased to have him and hopefully we can keep him for a little longer.

“It was a great piece of business [to extend his contract until the end of next season last month].

“The question with Danny was how he can influence the team when we don’t have the ball and if he continues to work hard, we believe his performances will improve. Tonight was another indication of the quality he has, so I think the sky’s the limit for him. He can be whatever he wants to be. There was a reason he was at a Premier League club. There’s also a reason why he’s with us at this moment in time.

“He’s enjoying his football. We’ve been able to give him that. He’s back home, enjoying being home for the moment. I think he’s still ambitious. But he still has areas to improve in terms of [off] the ball. But what a way to win such an important game.”

Keith Long celebrates after the game Keith Long believes Danny Mandroiu has the potential to go far in the game. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Long also paid tribute to others in the Bohs team who featured due to some high-profile players being unavailable, with Dinny Corcoran, Derek Pender, Darragh Leahy and James Finnerty among those absent.

“Rovers knew what sort of a team we had available to us and would have fancied themselves coming here. We’re short of six frontline players, fellas that have been playing week in week out for us. [The other players have] done well any time they’ve come into the team and I thought tonight was no different.

“There were times they were asked questions, particularly down Andy [Lyons]’s side — he’s 18-years-old and finishes his Leaving Cert on Tuesday. And Michael Barker was outstanding at centre-back. So it’s a testament to their commitment, how they train, how they apply themselves, when they’re called upon, they come in and take the opportunity. They’re ready to play and they don’t let anybody down. Their fitness levels are incredibly high.

“It’s a great three points. Great to sign off before the mid-season break on a high.

“If we can repeat the second half of last season this season, we’ll be in Europe.”

And as for Bohs’ remarkable unbeaten record against Shamrock Rovers, which stretches back to May 2017?

We approach the Rovers games like we do other games. The intensity, the tempo and the atmosphere goes up a notch. Obviously, it’d be very much better if we had those atmospheres every week, but it’s not a case of having a psychological or mental edge. Our players are together.

“If you stick together, particularly on nights like [Friday], where you need to roll up your sleeves and work hard, and ride your luck a little bit at times too, and we’ve done that, it’s a testament to the players.”

Meanwhile, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley lamented the individual errors that ended up costing his side.

“We gave away two poor penalties from our point of view. Silly penalties to give away. Then [Mandroiu] scores a wonder goal from 30 yards. I thought we were going to do enough to earn a point at that stage when we scored. We were the ones with the momentum. Then he scores that goal.

“We should have had a penalty as well with Aaron Greene in the second half — I felt it was a clear penalty. He was just about to shoot and he’s taken from behind.

“In any game, never mind big games like this, you can’t give away the penalties we gave away. You just give people a foothold in the game.

“They’re not penalties where someone’s in on goal, it’s really silly stuff.” 

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Paul Fennessy

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