Preview: FAI Ford Cup quarter-final — Bohemians v Dundalk, Dalymount Park, Friday, 14 September (k-o 8.00pm)
You’ll never win in Tallaght!” was the infamous chant from the Shamrock Rovers’ fans for the four years since the Hoops relocated to South Dublin, but it seems no one told Aaron Callaghan and his young side. Kevin Devaney’s goal consigned that particular chorus to history on a magical night for Bohemians last Monday, and now they go into an arguably more important game this Friday — their FAI Ford Cup quarter-final tie with Dundalk.
Gypsies’ boss Aaron Callaghan felt that both the result and the performance on Monday had been coming. “It was fantastic, a great reward for all the players. We’d been OK over the previous 4 or 5 games performance-wise without getting the results, but everything just came together that night.”
While that 1-0 win only registered three points on the Airtricity League table, the reaction of players and fans after the game showed that the victory meant much more. “The players were buzzing after the game in the dressing room. They know the significance of the result, not just the 3 points, but to get that monkey off the fans’ backs more than anything. Personally, I don’t go into all that ‘you haven’t won here, there or everywhere’, every game you take on its merits, and Dundalk on Friday will be no different.”
Looking ahead to Dundalk, Callaghan acknowledges the tie will be tricky, but is happy to be playing at Dalymount. “First and foremost, we’re at home. It is going to be a difficult tie. Form goes out the window in the cup, anyone can tell you that. Darius (Kearns, Dundalk manager) has turned Dundalk around, making them hard to beat, but we’re on our own patch and the onus is on us to go out and try and win the game.”
Callaghan is delighted with the contribution of his entire fledgling squad. New signing Kevin Devaney made himself an instant hero on Monday, while 19-year-old goalkeeper Greg Murray kept an impressive clean sheet against a team who hadn’t been beaten at home all season. “When you’re throwing in young players and getting results it’s an added bonus, there’s no doubt about that. But on Friday we’ve got to make sure our preparation is right. It’s all about recovery from Monday and nutrition and hydration. They’ve had a swim which will help the recovery, and they’ll be ready for the cup game.”
On the injury front, Callaghan is hopeful midfielder Ryan McEvoy will return to the squad following his ankle injury, but unfortunately skipper Owen Heary looks set to miss out again with a back problem picked up in the previous round against Avondale United. Apart from that, the Bohemian boss is hopeful of having a full squad to choose from for the visit of the Lilywhites.