herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Survival the name of game for Bohs

Dinny Corcoran
Dinny Corcoran

History will be made at the end of the 2017 season when Bohemians leave Dalymount Park, their home for 116 years, and move out to allow for the redevelopment of the ground, but the hope is that the club don't leave the top flight for the first time in their history.

Ahead of what will be a testing season, the players have already been given a history lesson, reminded that the Gypsies are one of only two Irish clubs (along with St Patrick's Athletic) who have never been relegated.

With three teams guaranteed to go down at the end of this term, Bohs (who have finished eighth, fifth, seventh, 10th and seventh in the last five seasons) will have a battle to stay out of the drop zone and stay out of trouble, but new signing Dinny Corcoran says the squad are already aware of what's at stake.

"It will be a hard season, we know that and survival would be the target. I know we are capable of finishing higher up but if you offered us survival now, we'd jump at it," Corcoran told The Herald as the Dubliner returns to Bohs after a two-year absence, including a most unhappy spell at St Pat's last season.

"With this being the last year in Dalymount before the place is redeveloped it would be horrible to go down.

Realistic

"Being realistic, looking at our budget which is one of the lowest in the league, we will have to battle, three teams go down and all the teams are more competitive than last year.

"It will be a lot tougher than last season and survival is our main aim.

"It's hard to say who will be at the wrong end, you could have five or six teams involved. I think the Bohs fans are realisitic and they know what's at stake, they know the story with the budget," added Corcoran.

"Bohs have never been relegated, the players have been told, that so it's at the back of our minds, they will expect us to stay up at least.

"How you start will be important, we have a very hard start, Derry and Shamrock Rovers, so we need to get points on board early on. This is a game about confidence and momentum and if you are not doing well, you can get dragged down."

Corcoran (28) enjoyed his first spell at Bohs but last season was a disaster when he was out of favour at Pats and the striker, a handy Gaelic footballer when his local club (St Patrick's Donabate) can get their hands on him, thought of quitting soccer.

"Packing it in did cross my mind, through frustration and anger. Deep down I was never going to stop playing but it's hard to keep going, mentally, when you are not playing but I kept at it and I have my hunger back.

"I am only 28 and I feel I have a lot to give," he says.

"Last year was tough for me personally, I didn't get much game time at St Pat's so I am hungrier than ever now to get going and there's no better place to do that than Bohemians. It's going to be a tough year but hopefully we can do well.

Disaster

"Liam Buckley just never seemed to fancy me, we never really had a relationship, it was a disaster and my head was gone midway through the season. I was just looking forward to the season being over and I shouldn't be like that but that's how it was. I just want to get going again and pick up where I left off at Bohs the last time."

Corcoran has, however, resisted the lure back to the Gaelic fold. "St Pat's (Donabate) would have had me back, the manager there was in touch, they seem to ring me every year asking me what the story is but soccer always comes first, I can go back to the GAA in a few years," he says.

"I was going to ask Keith (Long) if I could play a bit of GAA on the side but it wouldn't be a good idea, playing for Bohs on a Friday night and playing GAA on a Saturday, there's a high risk of injury there so I decided not to."

Experienced players like Corcoran and Shane Supple will be important for Bohs in the season ahead, Corcoran hoping to strike up a good partnership with Ismahil Akinade up front, but he's impressed by the lesser-known Bohemians.

"We have a good squad, a lot of players who people might not know but can do well," he says.

"We have a young squad, Keith has freshened it up with a lot of young faces. As the games in pre-season have gone on, I can see the players we have getting better and lads like Jamie Doyle and Oscar Brennan could have a very good season."

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