Bohemians fans have something to Crowe about

GLEN CROWE is certain of a warm welcome when he trots out with Bohemians against UCD tonight in his first appearance at Dalymount Park since he made his debut for Ireland against Greece in Athens last week.

Crowe’s popularity with the Gypsies fans was assured with his rich flow of goals last season and his excellent scoring rate this season.

But his determination to travel straight from Athens last week to help Bohs beat Derry City 3-0 at the Brandywell was a gesture well appreciated by the Dalymount faithful. They will enjoy this opportunity to pay tribute to him.

Stephen Kenny will have worked this week on stressing the need for the runaway league leaders to maintain their high work-rate against a College team battling hard to climb away from the lower end of the table.

UCD climbed off the bottom last weekend when they beat Cork at Belfield and their energetic approach will ensure that Bohs will not win anything easily.

“We’ve lost twice to Bohs in the League this season but each time on a 2-1 scoreline,” said manager Paul Doolin. “I’ve lost count of the games we've lost by a single goal and perhaps we are due a little luck not against Bohs.”

Manager Stephen Kenny will stick with the team that beat Derry, with Derek Coughlan again forming a powerful centre-back pairing with Colin Hawkins.

Cork City will try to recover ground lost to Longford and UCD in recent weeks when they play Shelbourne at Turner’s Cross. Manager Liam Murphy for once has virtually a full squad to choose from.

Midfielder Conor O’Grady has recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for almost a month and will start on the bench.

Shelbourne lost heavily at Turner’s Cross early in the season and manager Pat Fenlon will have to plan without Tony Sheridan for some weeks more. Centre-backs Barry Prenderville and Tony McCarthy are also ruled out by injury.

Kevin Doherty and Jim Gannon will play in the heart of Shels’ defence and the trend of this game will inevitably be hugely influenced by the manner in which they cope with John O’Flynn and George O’Callaghan.

Shels struggled to beat Bray Wanderers 2-1 last weekend and manager Fenlon said: “It was always going to be tight and we were not sure of the points until substitute Paul Beavers scored with a header six minutes from time. He took his chance well.”

Beavers was in Sunderland and is one of a growing army of Irish youngsters returning home in their late teens. You sometimes wonder whether they might have done better to have stayed in Ireland until they were more mature.

Cork need a big performance to restore the fading confidence of their faithful fans and manager Liam Murphy said: “It was careless of us to leave all three points behind at Belfield but we had a long discussion in the dressing-room afterwards and the consensus was that we are too good to be losing to UCD. I have a great group of players and I expect them to bounce back strongly against Shels.”

The meeting of St. Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park might well produce the best game of the night with both teams harbouring hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Pat’s will be without the influential Paul Osam because of a knee injury and also out of the running are full-back Willie Burke, Darragh Maguire and Waterford-born striker Kevin Doyle.

Rovers’ manager Liam Buckley is happy to have regular left-back Richie Byrne fully recovered after injury and he will come straight into the side if Pat Deans is ruled out with an ankle problem that has been troubling him.

Longford should do their prospects of playing in Europe a lot of good by beating Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds, especially with Bray still crippled by absentees with Eddie Gormley, Thomas Morgan, Maurice Farrell and Jody Lynch still struggling.

Joe Harkin will miss Derry City’s match against Drogheda United because of the knee injury that forced him out of last week’s match against Bohs after 30 minutes.

Tonight’s fixtures:

Eircom League, premier division (7.45 unless stated); Cork City v Shelbourne, Turner's Cross; Bohemians v UCD, Dalymount Park; St. Patrick's v Shamrock Rovers, Richmond Park; Bray Wanderers v Longford Town, Carlisle Grounds; Drogheda United v Derry City, O2 Park (8pm).

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