League Preview: Bohemians -v- Shelbourne

Sean Gannon is dragged back by Graham Burke in Shelbourne's 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers last month

Sean Gannon is dragged back by Graham Burke in Shelbourne's 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers last month Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)


Bohs will be hoping that the only fireworks in Dalymount Park will be on the pitch and not in the Jodi Stand when they host league leaders Shelbourne on Friday night.

The Gypsies were hit with an FAI sanction following some dangerous flare incidents at Richmond Park the two weeks ago during their match against St. Patrick’s Athletic.

That sanction meant they had no fans at their away match against Drogheda United last Monday night, and to compound their misery Bohs also lost the game 2-1.

They were very inconsistent in the latter stages of the 2023 season, and ended up dropping back to sixth place having been league leaders early on in the campaign. That inconsistency has also bedevilled them at the start of the 2024 season, where their record to date is drew one, won one and lost one (their fourth game, a home tie against Dundalk was postponed due to a heavy fall of snow last weekend).

Manager Declan Devine was particularly unhappy with the performance in Weavers Park and his assessment of the game was “the two goals we gave away were horrendous goals, let’s call a spade a spade. We did not play anywhere near the levels where we are capable of, we played with real lack of intensity and a real lack of penetration’’

Looking forward to the clash with Shelbourne, Devine added “When we play in Dalymount, there is no better place to play. But we have a responsibility as well to make sure the fans have something to get behind. Our form at Dalymount last year was strong, and we need to build on that now. Our home form has to be right on the money.

“Shelbourne have had an outstanding start to the season and have already had some big wins. They have performed very well and have strengthened their squad very well as well.


“Our games against Shelbourne last year were generally tight affairs, so we know that going into the game that we are going to have to be at our very best.


“But we are very much looking forward to playing at Dalymount Park. We were disappointed that the game against Dundalk last Friday was called off as we want to be putting in performances in front of our home fans.


“It’s a big rival now coming into our backyard now, another Dublin derby, so there is no extra motivation needed.”



It has been some time since Shelbourne were sitting at the top of the Premier Division table looking down at all other teams – you have to go back to 2006 when they were last champions - but that is precisely the position they find themselves in as we head into the fifth round of games this weekend.

They are one of only two unbeaten teams in the league so far (along with Derry City) and have maintained the excellent form which saw them claim fourth spot and European football at the end of the 2023 season.

Its early days yet but the omens are good as they prepare to make the short journey to Dalymount Park for the Dublin derby with Bohemians.

They make a habit of winning matches by the slender margin of one goal, all three of their wins so far have followed this pattern (2-1 v Shamrock Rovers, 1-0 v Sligo Rovers and 1-0 v Galway United) and they won’t complain if only a single goal separates these two rivals come 10pm on Friday night.

Damian Duff will also be happy that there is a good spread of scorers in his team, with the five goals scored to date coming from five different scorers (Sean Boyd, Will Jarvis, Mark Coyle, John O’ Sullivan and John Martin’s goal against Galway United last weekend)

Duff is not one to rest on his laurels however and he is aware of what is required on Friday night, a point he made when he spoke to the Shelbourne media team this week.

He said: “Parking the good results against Sligo Rovers and Galway United, to win at Dalymount you can’t put in a 60 minute performance, we need a special, top-class performance. We know what’s needed to win the game, it’s a lot easier to do it when we come out of the traps and start well and not chase a performance.

“Guys are aware, they need to start quickly, in a Dublin Derby, there’s no time to work your way into the game, you need to be on it from minute one, it might not be pretty, you might have to do the ugly work and then make your quality count.” 

Referee: Paul McLaughlin


These two sides met on five occasions last season, four times in the league and once in the FAI Cup. All of the games were very low scoring affairs with a total of only six goals scored across all five fixtures.

Three of the games finished in draws; Shelbourne won the corresponding first game of the league 1-0 in March 2023 (Kian Leavy scored the only goal) while Bohemians won the cup match 1-0 (Jonathon Afolabi’s goal separated the sides).



Bohemians 7/5; Draw 21/10; Shelbourne 9/5



Bohemians 0 - 1 Shelbourne


Injured:  Keith Buckley, Rob Cornwall, James McManus

Doubtful: Paddy Kirk, Declan McDaid

Suspended: None


Injured: None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None