Bohemians turning to Youth

With the recent loss of three key players, Ismahil Akinade, Eoin Wearan and Jamie Doyle to injury, Bohemians manager Keith Long has been turning to youth to solve the club’s current crisis. 

On Tuesday night Bohs took on Cabinteely in the EA Sports Cup with a very young side, including four teenagers, with others on the bench.

Bohs won 1-0 with 17 year-old striker Steven Nolan grabbing the winner, while 20 year-old midfielder Fuad Sule deservedly claimed the man-of-the-match award.

Fuad Sule told us, “I thought we dominated possession for major parts of the game. We kept the ball very well in the first half, but we just lacked a bit of tempo and purpose, because at times it was a little bit easy so it was easy to be lethargic on the ball. However, the second half was much better, as we got loads of crosses in and had a handful of chances and defended well to win the game.”

On his own performance Fuad said, “I thought I was decent yeah. I thought I showed what I can do when given the chance and show the type of player I am. It was very good to get the minutes, as that was my aim to get 90 minutes and the man of the match award was a bonus I think.

Fuad Sule
“Things are going well now. It was a bit hectic at the start of pre-season as I was studying for exams and playing football for the college team. I also had a few personal issues as well so my head wasn’t really there and the gaffer spotted it straight away. He told me once everything was out of the way I’d be okay, and ever since then I’ve been training very well and was obviously rewarded with a licence to go and express myself. But other that the lads are very good. I’m still settling down into the new team and environment but as the season goes on all will be good.”

Defender Paddy Kirk said, “Yeah it was an unbelievable experience, especially getting a start, it was a big step up but I felt I coped well. I’ve been lucky enough to train with the first team for the past month or so, so I’ve been getting used to the step up in intensity and aggression. The game itself was a lot faster and I felt I had less time on the ball but I was expecting that.”

“Things are going well at the club, we have a very strong 19s team and I hope we can be serious contenders to top our section and push on from there. With the first team getting off to a strong start things are very good within the club and hopefully both teams can push on. I felt I have improved a lot this season as a result of playing and training with such quality both within the 19’s and first team when I get the chance. I hope I can play an influential role in the success of both the 19’s campaign and the first team when called upon.”

Match-winner on the night Steven Nolan
Midfielder Dean Casey, “Yeah it was great to get my first start of season at Dalymount too. It was a very young side we had out, with one or two older lads in, but we were confident in our ability that we could get the win no matter who was playing and that’s what we done.”

“For me personally I felt I had a great game, doing things I like doing and am good at which was getting at defences, getting crosses and shots away. I thought throughout the game we looked very dangerous from set pieces that were being delivered by myself. All in all a good win and looking forward to the next round.”

On his season so far, “And things are great for me here at the club. You know it’s a huge step up from U-19 football into first team and I feel I’ve done very well since I’ve made the step up. All the lads in the dressing room and the staff have been so supportive and welcoming to me, which makes it so much easier to settle in and not be so nervous. So I’m really enjoying myself here and long may it continue.”

Cian Fay is another teenage striker who made the bench on Tuesday night. Only 18, Cian scored a whopping 4 goals in a recent 8-3 U-19 win over Monaghan/Cavan. Cian is a quality centre-forward, a real team player and lively around the box. The hope is he keeps improving over the season, as he’ll become a marked man at U-19 level.

Bohemians U-19 manager Graham Lawlor told us, “It was good the U-19 players got the recognition and to experience first- team football in the EA sports Cup on Tuesday.”

“It’s well known our 1st team are having a bad time with injuries but when your chance arrives and you get an opportunity you have to be ready to take it. The players who started the game, Paddy Kirk, Brandon Perry and Stephen Nolan equipped themselves well on the night.”

“Stephen scoring the winner is no surprise because he hit double figures last season for our U-17 side. Current U-16 international goal-keeper Kian Clarke deputised on the bench and it’s remarkable to think he is only 15 years old and already learning in a senior environment and training alongside Shane Supple can only enhance his development.”

“Keith Long has been excellent with all the young players. The senior and U-19 teams train side by side every week so Keith and Trevor are always watching closely on how each player is performing in sessions.”

Eoghan Morgan said, “I was delighted to be a part of the game, I haven’t played too many minutes this year and it was a chance to get 90 under the belt and give the gaffer a headache come Saturday against Sligo.”

“I think we played really well and moved the ball well, I think should’ve of won by a lot more.”

On his own performance, “Personally I think I did okay. I know I have more to offer but that was my first game in a while. I’m looking forward to the coming games, I’m really eager to play more minutes.”

“Things at the club are great I’m really enjoying it. The gaffer and Trev are really good, extra work and questions I have they always have time which is great. The older lads are brilliant for me too. I get to learn from them and try to take as much as possible on board whether in the gym or out the pitch. I’m looking forward to learning more and playing more games.”

It’s a very interesting times for all involved at the club, but the young players are ready to step up when required.

Photo Credits;

Martin Doherty (Bohemians)

Tom Barry Photography (Bohemians)

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