Friday’s game at the Belfield Bowl will see this young UCD side experience Premier Division football at home for the first time since 2014. Their style of football received plenty of praise over the course of the season last year and Collie O’Neill’s talented squad were rewarded with being crowned First Division Champions and a chance to test themselves at the top table this season.
Their honeymoon period didn’t quite last as long as they would have liked succumbing to an opening day 3-0 defeat to Derry City at the Brandywell Stadium last Friday night.
Manager Collie O’Neill is expecting just as tough a test against Bohemians this evening and knows they will be looking to keep the momentum going after their victory over Finn Harps on day one.
“It really is great to be back, and to have Premier Division football here once more!” O’Neill said in the build up to the game.
“Last week was a tough opener for us, away to a strong Derry City side. It is certainly a step up from last season, but it is a level we are confident we can compete at and prove what we can do. We know Bohemians are going to be up for it. They’d a great win against Finn Harps last week and will be looking to go on an early run of good results.”
On the injury front, Evan Osam is expected to miss the majority of the season following surgery on a ruptured Achilles injury, Paul Doyle is hoping to make a return in the next few weeks as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury. Conor Davis will miss out after picking up a knee injury in training this week.
Keith Long’s side got their season off to the perfect start with a narrow 1-0 victory over newly promoted Finn Harps on the opening night of the season in front of a packed home crowd at Dalymount Park.
Long handed debuts to eight new players in that game with James Talbot, James Finnerty, Luke Wade-Slater, Conor Levingston and Danny Mandroiu enjoying their first taste of the Airtricity League Premier Division as starters with Sam Byrne, Ryan Swan and Scott Allardice all being introduced in the second half.
Bohs had a mixed year on the road last season picking up just seven wins from a total of eighteen league games away from home and will be looking to improve on that form this season starting with tonight’s trip to UCD.
Striker Dinny Corcoran who got off the mark with the winner last week against Finn Harp is delighted to be up and running on the goal front and with three points on the board is hoping the fans will make the short trip across town in search of another three.
"It's a good game for fans, they can make it feel like a home game out there.” Said Corcoran as he looked ahead to tonight’s game.
"In previous seasons when UCD were in the division before our fans always travelled out in numbers so we should have a big crowd there like we had in Dalymount last week.
"We're in no position to take any team for granted. We have to be on top of our game.
"They're a young team with a lot of good, technical players. They're a bit like ourselves in that way - although we have one or two oldies too!"
Michael Barker, Cristian Magerusan and Promise Omochere remain side lined but Danny Grant comes back into contention for the game.
Referee: Sean Grant
Keith Long’s side had a mixed season on the road last year picking up seven wins and six losses from a total of eighteen away games.
UCD only lost one home game all season last year on their way to being crowned First Division Champions.
UCD 7/2; Draw 13/5; Bohs 4/6
UCD 0 - 2 Bohs
Injured: Evan Osam (achilles), Paul Doyle (ankle), Conor Davis (knee)
Injured: Michael Barker (hamstring), Promise Omochere (ankle) and Cristian Magerusan (cruciate)
Doubtful: Kevin Devaney