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  • Northside West

Young Bohs bring McGuill Cup back across the Liffey

Monday, 10th September, 2018 6:00pm
Young Bohs bring McGuill Cup back across the Liffey

Bohemians players celebrate with the Enda McQuill Cup. PHOTO: SAM BARNES/SPORTSFILE

Young Bohs bring McGuill Cup back across the Liffey

Bohemians players celebrate with the Enda McQuill Cup. PHOTO: SAM BARNES/SPORTSFILE

MANAGER of Bohemians U19s, Craig Sexton, hailed the professionalism of his team after they came from behind to win the Enda McGuill Cup at Richmond Park last week.

The Gypsies, champions last year but currently trailing their cup final opponents St Patrick's Athletic in the Northern Division by six points, got off to the worst possible start, conceding a header from a corner after just two minutes.

Goalkeeper Seán Bohan got a touch to Neill Byrne's effort but it wasn’t enough to keep it out as the hosts took an early lead.

However, after a below-par first-half performance, Bohs came back out after the break refocused and reenergised.

They grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and took their chances when it mattered with Ali Reghba scoring twice in quick succession on 61 and 63 minutes to turn the final on its head.

A delighted Sexton said: "They showed the togetherness of the group by how they reacted to going behind.

“They're a great bunch of players and they pulled together to make sure we came away with the win.

"We had spoken about the 'what ifs' during the week, 'what if we went one down and how do we react as a group?'

"That's a big part of how players need to develop - learning how to win in different ways and different circumstances. They found a way to do just that.

"It was a game of mixed emotions really. The first half we weren't at it, we were poor.

"But we changed a couple of things at half-time and the second half was much better.

“We came out and stamped our authority on the game a bit more.

"We dominated possession at times and we looked like we were the only team who were going to win it in the second half."

Reghba's brace was what ultimately proved the difference between the sides and as well as his winner's medal, he also went home with a deserved man-of-the-match award.

"Ali is turning into a very good player. He still has a lot to learn but he knows that himself,” Sexton added.

"He's only 17 so he has another year with us at this level.

“He's a lot of great attributes and he's a fantastic fella too.

"You can see that with how hard he worked tonight. His finishes were fantastic.

"He could have had a couple more too though and we'll let him know that to keep his feet on the ground!"

In the run-up to the game, Sexton spoke of his efforts to keep the players' minds on the job at hand with that afternoon's draw for the UEFA Youth League an obvious potential distraction, particularly for players so young.

Sexton said: "We needed to make sure the draw for Europe didn't take over. We'd a cup final to win.

"To be fair, they didn't let it interfere in any way.

“I didn't get any texts about the draw or anything... unless they were all talking about it themselves without me!

"But they were fantastic in the lead-up - fantastic the last 10-12 weeks too - absolutely brilliant."

The UEFA draw sees Bohs' budding stars pit their wits against FC Midtjylland of Denmark.

The Gypsies are due to be away first on Wednesday October 3 with the return leg at Dalymount Park three weeks later on Wednesday October 24, although both games are yet to be confirmed.

The winner of the tie will play the winners of Basel (Switzerland) v Hamilton (Scotland).

Sexton added: "It's an interesting draw. It's will be great for the boys to experience something different.

"Obviously there would have been big interest if we'd drawn Chelsea who were in our pool but our players are used to traveling to the UK for academy games, so it's nice to get something further afield.

"This will be more of a proper European tie for them to experience a different culture and a maybe a different style of play.

"They get to travel and experience all that goes with that.

“Hopefully in future years the club will be back in Europe with the first team and these players will be on the first team and this will stand to them. That's what we're all striving towards as a club."

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