herald

Monday 15 October 2018

Gypsy kids can be kings

Long's praise for youth

Ali Reghba was star of the show for Bohemians
Ali Reghba was star of the show for Bohemians

The kids are alright as far as Bohemians boss Keith Long is concerned.

And ahead of a big week for the Dublin 7 club - they play their first FAI Cup semi-final in a decade on Sunday against Cork - Long feels that his aim of making sure that his club was the club of choice for the young talent of Dublin, is bearing fruit.

Some Bohs fans feared the worst when they saw the line-ups for Saturday's derby away to St Patrick's Athletic. The Saints, unbeaten in four, had a strong XI while the Gypsies, bruised by a midweek Cup win in Derry and mindful of the Cup semi-final, made 11 changes.

Ali Reghba (17), Robbie McCourt (20) and Ryan Graydon (19) came in for their league debuts, while Paddy Kirk (19), Colin McCabe (21), Danny Grant (18) and Andy Lyons (18) got some more game time.

Reghba, a Dubliner with Algerian heritage and a recruit from Shelbourne who has already been on trial at Middlesbrough, had a dream debut as he scored two goals.

Former West Brom player McCourt capped a fine debut with a goal, while 17-year-old Promise Omochere, previously with St Joseph's Boys and UCD, lived up to his name with a promising debut off the bench that included an assist for Reghba.

"At the minute it's going really well, we have won nine games in a row, it was great that we could change the entire 11 and still win the game and the boys who came in did really well," Long told The Herald.

"I said on the day I got this job that I want Bohemians to be the club of choice for the best young players in Dublin and that is very much the case. It's about getting the players, getting them to share our values, how we want the game to be played, what it takes to become a Bohemians player.

"We have worked on that for a few seasons and now we are at a point where we have some good young players. And I hope we have shown that if you work hard enough and show the hunger and desire you need to be a footballer, you have a chance here," added Long.

different

"What we have at Bohemians is something different. They can see there is a pathway into the first team, they can see we are not afraid to play young players if they are ready.

"We haven't just arrived here, it has been constant work behind the scenes recruiting players. Dave Henderson was a big part of that and Craig Sexton coaching. All the players came from somewhere so I have to mention where they came from, they came from the likes of Shelbourne and St Joseph's Boys and Cherry Orchard.

"It's a natural progression for players who don't go to England to come into the League of Ireland and it's our job to give them a platform to go and play. It's important we attract the best young players."

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