Bohs play the Long game as strong run continues

by Dave Donnelly

Bohemians manager Keith Long was delighted to see his side continue their unbeaten start to the season despite making 11 changes for the Leinster Senior Cup trip to holders Shelbourne.

Long rested his whole starting line-up – including newly-crowned player of the month and Countdown contestant – Dinny Corcoran but still saw his side run out easy winners.

Corcoran kept his participation on the daytime TV show a secret even from his teammates and manager, but Long learned he can count on his fringe squad players and Under-19s if required.

On-loan defender Aaron Barry scored twice either side of Danny Grant’s strike and an own goal as the Gypsies dominated from beginning to end against a Shels side also containing 11 changes.

Dayle Rooney had given the home side hope of challenging for a third successive Leinster Senior Cup success, but in truth the home side were a long way short of the standard of their opposition.

Barry opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes when Shels failed to clear their lines from a corner and the defender was on hand to drill home from close range.

Grant made it 2-0 after 14 minutes when he isolated full-back Chris Giles and cut inside before curling a shot past Colin McCabe in the Reds’ goal.

It was very nearly three within a minute when Robbie McCourt’s shot rebounded back off the bar and Ryan Swan headed home the loose ball, but he was called back for offside.

Shelbourne equalised against the run of play just past the half-hour when Rooney curled a wonderful free kick past Niall Corbet from 25 yards.

Bohs restored their two-goal cushion within four minutes, however, as Ryan Graydon saw his low cross deflected into his own net by Charles Mutawee.

Long’s side had further chances to extend their lead but had to wait until injury time, when another uncleared corner allowed Barry to head into an empty goal.

“It was a good performance,” Long told the Dublin Gazette.

“A lot of those boys haven’t played a huge amount of minutes in the Premier Division this year. Shelbourne obviously changed too.

“We’re pleased to be through to the next round of the competition because it gives us games for the boys to continue to improve.”

After topping the early-season league table with three wins and two draws from five games, Bohs face a challenging fixture list with trips to Cork City and Dundalk in the next two rounds.

Those games will give a better indication of the Gypsies’ chances of challenging for honours this year, and Long is keen not to get carried away with the strong start.

“We’re pleased with the start but we’re only five games in. We’ve difficult games down in Cork and away to Dundalk so it’ll give us an indication of where we’re at after these games.

“We’ve had a good start and I can’t really labour the point – it’s very early in the season and we’re not getting carried away.”

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