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Monday 11 December 2017

Pat's derby game our big test: Delany

Bohemians keeper Dean Delany is relishing tonight’s Premier Division clash with Dublin rivals St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park, Inchicore Photo: Sportsfile
Bohemians keeper Dean Delany is relishing tonight’s Premier Division clash with Dublin rivals St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park, Inchicore Photo: Sportsfile

They have been talked about as contenders for a European place, maybe even as dark horses for the league title.

But for Bohemians keeper Dean Delany, tonight's Dublin derby away to St Patrick's Athletic is where the talking will end and the Gypsies aim to make a statement about what they can achieve this season.

The Saints and Bohs clash at Richmond Park tonight with similar stories to tell from 2016 so far: opening-night defeats followed up by 1-0 wins last Friday, Bohs getting the better of Sligo Rovers while Pats came away from Longford with a badly-needed win.

While Bohs were unbeaten in three league meetings with Shamrock Rovers last term, they lost twice to Pats and Delany knows that games like tonight's are the matches they need to win if they are to match those lofty pre-season expectations.

"The Dublin derbies are always important but I think they are even more vital this season as all the Dublin clubs are looking to improve on last year as we all finished outside the top two," says Delany.

"Our aim is to break into the top four so we need to be winning games like this. We are realistic as the ones who finished in the top four last year - Dundalk, Cork, Rovers and St Pats - all have bigger budgets than us.

"We want to make a statement that we are capable of breaking into that top four, and tonight is a good indication of where we are. We enjoyed all the games we had against Rovers last season and did well against them but Pats had the edge over us last season, beating us twice.

"It's great to beat Rovers because there's always added spice in that game but losing twice to Pats last year hurt us. But last year is gone, they have a new squad, we have some new players so we start afresh tonight."

Delany was relieved to witness his side see out Friday's game at home to Sligo Rovers, Bohs in front early on with a Kurtis Byrne wonder goal but struggling for long periods. "It was a tricky game for us, we were holding on towards the end so it was good just to get the win under our belts," says the ex-U21 cap, impressed with Byrne since his arrival from Dundalk.

"Anyone who wasn't at the game on Friday should make sure they watch it on TV later tonight as it was a brilliant goal, an outstanding pass from Mark Quigley and a great finish," says the keeper.

"Kurtis really has added quality to our squad. His finishing in pre-season was frightening and hopefully he will take that into the league season now. I think his quality was never in doubt but Dundalk could never find the ideal position for him, I think he will be great for us and if he adds a few goals, we can push on this season."

For Saints defender Ger O'Brien, this evening is a chance for the players to make amends for that home defeat to Galway on the first weekend of the season. "We're back at home, and it's important we put on a good performance for our supporters," he says.

"No one was more disappointed with our opening game against Galway than the players. We will be looking to get the win for the fans as we know there'll be a big crowd in Inchicore backing us."

Dublin derby: St Patrick's ATH v Bohemians

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