Sunday 17 December 2017

Fenlon salutes Boh's bravery

PAT FENLON says it's the character of his players which has seen Bohemians come from a long way off in the title race to claim pole position with only two games left.

After at one stage drifting to fifth place in the table following some poor mid-season form, Bohs have stormed back into contention with a 10-game unbeaten run which, running alongside a run of four defeats in five for Shamrock Rovers, leaves Bohs back on top of the table today, one point clear of Rovers with two games left.

Financially this has been one of the most difficult seasons in the club's 120-year history -- and the short-term future for Bohs is by no means secure -- but the side are in with a shout of a third successive league title and also a possible FAI Cup final appearance.

"It's down to the players. Good, honest players who are willing to work hard, there's no secret or magic formula, just a real strength of character that those lads have," said Fenlon.

"They've had a very hard season, on and off the field, but they worked very hard over the last week to get back into the frame. It's not easy for them or for anyone else at the club, due to the financial situation none of the players know where they stand for next season, so it's to their credit that they are getting on with it.

"At the end of the season, as a group they wanted to say that they did their job on the pitch and they have done that in the last few weeks.


"They have worked very hard to get here. I thought we looked tired at times against Pats on Saturday, I think the Rovers game on Tuesday took a lot out of us, but we will be well rested for the Cup game on Friday.

"I have been through this stage of the season many times before as a player and a manager, this time of the season is when teams get nervous and start dropping points, so if you are playing catch-up you have to keep playing in the hope that someone slips up.

"We wanted to keep it alive until the end of the season and that's what we have done. Saturday was a good win for us and the other game went our way too but I don't want people getting carried away, we have two very tough games to go, against two teams who have caused us a lot of problems this season, we have to go and do the job. Going to Galway is always difficult and Dundalk will give us a hard game here. For now I am just looking to the Cup semi-final here against Sligo on Friday night," added Fenlon.

Saturday afternoon was a perfect day for Bohs with their win away to Pats and then the Fingal triumph over Rovers a few hours later.

But Bohs had to fight very hard for those three points away to Pats, where keeper Barry Murphy was again a key man with a string of saves.

"Pats played very well and they pinned us back a bit in the second half, all credit to them for having a real go at us," said Fenlon.

"We stood up to the onslaught and got the win. We didn't play well at times and Pats were very good but at this stage of the season it's about winning matches and nothing else."

Meanwhile Fenlon said he was pleased with how his youngsters fared in yesterday's friendly game with Celtic, where David Lodola scored for the Gypsies in a 4-1 defeat, where only five senior players started for Bohs.

He said: "The young lads did ok, concentration was lacking for some of the goals but I think they gave a good account of themselves, and David Lodola took his goal well."

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