Bohs will be buoyed for Europa run: Heary
BOHEMIANS skipper Owen Heary believes that the new-look Gypsies side will be more than able to deal with the unexpected challenge of a European campaign this season following UEFA's decision in the last 24 hours to bar Derry City from entering the Europa League.
Just as St Patrick's Athletic fans celebrated their entry into the Europa League in place of Sporting Fingal last season with a special T-shirt claiming "we're only here on a technicality", Bohs supporters or players won't worry too much about how they have been handed a European berth at Derry's expense.
Derry finished third in the Premier Division last season and that should have been enough to send the club into Europe but, due to UEFA's insistence that clubs whose parent companies go bust serve a three-year ban before they're allowed back into Europe, Derry's current batch of players and new manager Declan Devine are paying for the sins of the previous regime, which was in charge as the club initially went out of business in 2009 after amassing debts of €500,000.
"You'd have to feel sympathy for Derry as a club but especially for their players. They had a great season last year and they'll feel that they deserve a place in Europe, so I do sympathise with them," said Heary, who is captain and assistant manager at Dalymount Park.
"But the rules have been applied and in this case it looks like we are the ones to benefit.
"It's a pity that it's come about this way but it's a great boost for the club and a reward for all the hard work that people behind the scenes did to keep the club going.
"A few months ago, it looked as if there might not even be a club for this season but the people there rallied round and got things going again and now we have Europe to look forward to.
"Even though the players here are young and inexperienced, they will relish the challenge of Europe.
"Most of the lads in our squad have never played in Europe before but they are fearless as well as good players. They won't be overawed by the experience in any way.
"I remember the feeling I had when I made my debut in Europe with Shelbourne (in 1999), and these lads will feel the same when the games come around."
Bohs continued their squad building with the signing of St Pats midfielder Dave Mulcahy.