With the SSE Airtricity League set to kick off on 4 March, The City decided to preview the 3 Dublin clubs that will be participating in the league – Bohemian F.C, Shamrock Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Bohemian F.C Overview
Founded on 6 September 1890, Bohemian F.C is Dublin’s oldest football club, and also the oldest League of Ireland club still in existence. Being such a long-existing club, it goes without saying that ‘Bohs’ – as they are colloquially known – have a very rich history and an equally impressive trophy cabinet. The Phibsboro based club have won the League of Ireland 11 times and have won the F.A.I. Cup a further seven times. Dalymount Park has been home to Bohemian F.C since 1901. They last won the league seven years ago in 2009 and with fans as passionate as theirs this will not sit well in Phibsboro.
Last season was not Bohemian F.C’s finest as the north-Dublin side finished in a mediocre fifth position, 25 points behind league champions, Dundalk. The Gypsies missed out on fourth place, and the European place that goes with it, by five points to Dublin neighbours St. Patrick’s Athletic. This being said, Bohemian F.C recorded some impressive victories last season beating bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers 3-1 and also defeating Northern giants Derry City 4-2 at Dalymount Park, as well as 3-2 at The Brandywell.
Bohs last won the league in the 2008-09 season but in the last few seasons the men from Dalymount park have shown definite signs of improvement. Bohemians finished in a lowly tenth spot in 2013, followed by a seventh place finish in 2014, so The Gypsies fifth place finish last year shows us that Keith Long’s side are definitely heading in the right direction.
Missing out on European football by such a narrow margin will be a bitter pill to swallow so they will be eager to improve on last season’s showing. Keith Long will be hoping to shore up his side’s defence to ensure that his Bohemians side do not make the same mistake of giving away needless goals this season.
Bohemians are captained by veteran defender Derek Pender. Pender has been at the club since 2011 and has previously played for Shelbourne, Bray Wanderers, St. Patrick’s Athletic as well as Bohemian F.C’s bitter rivals, Shamrock Rovers. Pender represented Ireland at both under-15 and under-16 level.
Known as a no-nonsense defender Pender is a rock at the back for The Gypsies, with Bohemians form dipping towards the end of last season when Pender had a spell on the sidelines through injury. Pender only played in 13 league games last season, so Keith Long will be hoping that Pender can keep fit and help propel his side further up the league table and to a European Spot.
Ismahil Akinade – Akinade is one of the league’s brightest young prospects and played an important role up-front last season for Bohemians. Akinade previously played for Bray Wanderers but signed for Bohemian F.C midway through the 2015 season. Akinade hit the ground running at Dalymount Park notching up an impressive ten goals in 18 games for Keith Long’s side. The 22-year-old Nigerian striker’s efforts were rewarded by being nominated for League of Ireland Young Player of The Year last season, which is impressive as Akinade only played for Bohemian F.C for half a season. If Bohs are to really challenge this year they need Akinade firing on all cylinders.
Roberto Lopes – Lopes has represented Bohemian F.C for 6 years since making his debut in 2010. Lopes made his league debut in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. Roberto Lopes has become an ever-present in Keith Long’s side due to his versatility, with the former defender often appearing in mid-field for The Gypsies. So far Lopes has gone from strength to strength in the red and black jersey and Bohs’ fans will be hoping Lopes form continues this season. Despite playing first team football since february 2010, Lopes is still only 23-years-old. Definitely a player with a bright future ahead of him.
Dean Delaney – Delaney is a vastly experienced player and a mainstay of the Bohemians team. An accomplished goalkeeper, Delaney started his career at Everton F.C, winning the F.A Youth Cup with them in 1998. Since playing for Everton, Delaney has gone on to represent a host of clubs including Port Vale, Waterford United, and Shelbourne. Delaney signed for Bohemians in 2012 and has been a crucial first team player ever since. Delaney only missed one league game last season and kept 11 clean sheets in the process. If Delaney can improve his clean sheet ratio Bohemians should reap the rewards and fly up the league table.
Fixtures To Look Out For
March 4th – Cork City away
Keith Long’s side kick off their SSE Airtricity league campaign away to Cork City on the 4th of March. Any trip to Cork always proves to be difficult as The Lee-siders are notoriously difficult to beat at home. Last year Cork City and Bohemians played out two extremely tight games with a 1-1 draw at Dalymount Park, and a 1-0 victory for The Lee-siders in Cork. An opening victory is always important as it helps to set up the mood for the season so The Gypsies will be heading to Cork aiming for all 3 points.
April 15th – Shamrock Rovers at home.
Shamrock Rovers is the fixture that every Bohs fan looks for when the fixture list is announced. The rivalry that exists between both of these Dublin clubs is the biggest that exists in Ireland, with Bohemians representing the north-side and Shamrock Rovers representing the south-side. Bohemians won the bragging rights last season earning a 0-0 draw at at Tallaght Stadium and then defeating their bitter rivals 3-1 at Dalymount Park. April 15th sees the first derby match of the year and Bohemians will be hoping to pick up where they left off last year.
By CHARLIE REDMOND