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Thursday 12 December 2019

Open up Aviva for Cup semi: Long

Venue plan: Keith Long. Photo: Sportsfile
Venue plan: Keith Long. Photo: Sportsfile

Bohemians boss Keith Long says he'd love to see the Aviva Stadium opened up for his club's FAI Cup semi-final against Shamrock Rovers next week to deal with the expected level of interest in the tie.

But the Dublin 4 venue is not available for the date in question so a scramble will begin when the tickets for Dalymount Park, which has a capacity of only 3,800, go on sale on Saturday.

The two Dublin rivals have not met in a Cup game since 2006, when a Rovers outfit, then in the First Division knocked out a full-time Bohs side, ending Gareth Farrelly's reign as manager.

Their last league meeting, at Tallaght Stadium, had an attendance of 7,100, a record for a league game there, and with intense interest in the semi on Friday week, demand will clearly outstrip supply.

Sligo Rovers host Dundalk in the other semi-final but Long argued the case for a double-header in Dublin 4.

"Play in the Aviva, why not? Why not open it up to 20,000 people if you could get that," was the suggestion from Long, his side into the last four thanks to Monday's 2-0 win over Crumlin United, as he admits that the small capacity at Dalymount is a problem.

"You're excluding a lot of people who want to go to the game and that's far from ideal," Long says.

"Home advantage is important to us, I don't want to give that up readily, but if you're getting 20,000-plus into the Aviva Stadium for it, I'm sure that would be a good occasion in itself."

It's understood that Bohemians inquired if the Aviva could be used but were told that the venue is not available.

"Dalymount is our home patch. We'll pack it out, we'll have a vocal support behind the team. From that perspective, home advantage is key," added Long.

The Bohs boss also says he is unsure how many of his injured midfielders (Danny Mandroiu, Keith Ward, Keith Buckley, Conor Levingston) will be back fully fit.

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