'The away jersey has a lot of meaning ' - Duff explains post-game gesture to fans after Bohs draw

Keith Long, meanwhile, said Bohs didn’t create enough in a 1-1 draw with their city rivals.

The Shelbourne players greet their fans at the end of the draw with Bohemians.
The Shelbourne players greet their fans at the end of the draw with Bohemians.
Image: Ben Brady/INPHO

SHELBOURNE WERE MINUTES from their biggest result of Damien Duff’s fledgling tenure yet on Monday night, only to concede a late-equaliser to Bohemians at Dalymount Park. 

Shels’ disciplined set-up and commitment frustrated an oddly torpid Bohs, and they then took the lead 15 minutes from time: substitute Sean Boyd scoring with his very first touch. Bohs were instantly reduced to 10 men as Rory Feely picked up a second yellow card for dissent, though they equalised through Grant Horton three minutes from the end. 

At full-time, Duff brought his Shelbourne players over to the travelling supporters, and had each of the players give their away shirts away. 

“They have been amazing, it’s important to have that bond between fans and players”, reflected Duff after the game. “I have probably cost Andrew Doyle €1000 but he owes me a grand anyway so we are quits. It was to show appreciation, the away jersey has a lot of meaning, people who have died, Izzy [Dezu] a few years ago, a young boy ex-Shels, and a lot of people who helped the club last year. I just wanted to do it.” 

The Shels’ away jersey is embossed with the names of all of the club’s season ticket holders, the club saying it’s a gesture of gratitude to the fans who kept the club alive during the pandemic. 

As for the game itself, Duff mingled deflation with pride. 

“I was fairly disappointed, the guys are gutted. I know when I deserve a draw, I know when we deserve to lose and when we deserve to win, and we deserved to win the game. We take it on the chin and roll on to Friday.

“You know what you will get here, we weathered the storm here, we kept the crowd quiet, the shape was good and we never felt threatened. We talk in recent weeks about showing our quality, we’ve started to show that a lot more, the lads were unbelievable, they are gutted in there but we move on.

damien-duff Damien Duff. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

“They are disappointed and we are throwing away points but I am glad they are disappointed, it speaks volumes that they came away to Dalymount Park and are disappointed that they didn’t win.

“The first day of the season we still played really well, created a lot of chances, yes we play a different formation, we are missing Coyle, Moylan, Griffin but that’s borderline our best performance and that’s not taking anything away from the Pats game. If you strip it back that’s a part-time budget, us, against a full-time budget, them, and the part-time budget should have won.” 

Boyd, meanwhile, scored within 29 seconds of his introduction, so what did his manager tell him just as he so successfully entered the fray? 

“Fucking not to get booked. He’s getting booked on the bench. I told him going on – he’s an amazing personality, I love him, an amazing goal – but it’s to stop getting booked. That’s four already and we’re only six games in, we won’t have a team in a fortnight.

“Sean was disappointed not to start and he’d be right after putting in an amazing shift the other day, Dan Carr is starting to look like his old self, Sean we still have to manage with his injuries over the years so it’s about using…I was going to say squad but our so-called squad, senior-wise we don’t have a lot of players, we have a lot out. Was I surprised Seanie scored with his first touch, no, but was I surprised he got booked on the bench.” 

Boyd celebrating his goal by bowing in front of the Bohs’ fans in the Jodi Stand, a scene slightly reminiscent of his manager in Yokohama almost 20 years ago. 

“I didn’t see it”, said Duff. “I was busy celebrating myself, that’s why you get up in the morning, a proper, proper game, I believe we are in north Dublin, I only found that out the other day, I don’t know where I am, a proper game, boys getting stick, me getting stick on the way off but that’s why we are in the game.” 

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Bohs manager Keith Long, meanwhile, said his side deserved something from the game but admitted to being concerned at Bohs’ failure to further exercise Shels’ ‘keeper Lewis Webb. 

“Ultimately the game is about scoring goals and we didn’t create enough chances again which is a concern and something we have to look at and work on. If we’re not creating enough chances, we’re not working the goalkeeper enough, we’re not scoring enough goals. We’ve lost a goalscorer who scored what 26 goals for us last year so that can be difficult to replace.

keith-long Keith Long. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

“Promise [Omochere] has come in, got a couple of goals, he missed Friday night’s game, Ryan Cassidy is new into the group ,late into the group in pre-season and lacks a little bit of match sharpness.

“He needs to get more minutes under his belt. Junior and Liam Burt coming back into it gives us more options. We need to test the goalkeeper more, we need to work better opportunities and better openings, and when the ball does land to us at the edge of the box, that we work the goalkeeper. We didn’t do that. It’s a problem for us.

“But we are early in the season, we’re only five games in, we have to improve on tonight’s performance. It can be a difficult place to play football sometimes, in the best stadium in the country in terms of atmosphere.

“But it can be difficult when we’re not playing as free flowing football as we would like and we’re not creating enough opportunities for the crowd to get behind us. It can be a tough place to play in that regard but that’s our responsibility. The fans come here to get behind the team, to get excited about the team and watch their team play, and unfortunately we didn’t do that.” 

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Gavin Cooney

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