WNL Preview: Bohemians

by Paul Walsh

Manager: Sean Byrne

Stadium: Dalymount Park.

Players in: Katie Burdis (DLR Waves); Sinéad Taylor, Fiona Ryan & Kira Bates-Crosbie (Wexford Youths); Ciara Maher (DLR Waves); Rachel Kelly (P18 IK)

Players out: Sophie Watters (DLR Waves); Trish Fennelly-Hunt (Treaty United); Jade Reddy; Erica Byrne; Niamh Kenna. 

Extratime.com key player: Chloe Darby

Chloe Darby was one of the Gypises main attacking threats in 2021 with her six goals contributing greatly to their sixth place finish in the WNL.  

The Republic of Ireland under 19 international is entering her third season with the club having made history in August 2020 when she scored the first ever goal for Bohemians in the WNL.  

Darby plays in an advanced midfield position which allows her be a goal threat while also creating chances for teammates.  She posed constant problems for opposition defences in 2021 and her manager Sean Byrne will be expecting more of the same in 2022.

Extratime.com one to watch: Naima Chemaou

Naima Chemaou made an instant impact for Bohs last season when she scored in her first game for the club in a 6-2 demolition of Treaty United.

The talented attacker made her debut in the WNL at 15 and was with Peamount United before arriving at the Phibsborough club.

The season was not to go the way Chemaou would have hoped as a serious injury meant she missed a large part of the campaign.

She starts this season fully fit and the former underage Irish international will be keen to showcase her ability this season and remind people why she can be one of the most exciting players to watch in the league.

How they did last season:

League: 6th.

Bohemians probably surpassed the expectations of many by finishing 6th in their second WNL campaign last year. In their maiden season they finished last so the much improved league position in 2021 was testament to the progress being made at the club.

Wins over Cork City, Treaty United and Athlone Town were enough to make sure they finished ahead of these teams in the league but they also drew twice with 5th place Galway and had some really close encounters with 4th place DLR Waves. The trajectory of Sean Byrne’s side is certainly on an upward curve.

The latter stages of the campaign were disappointing as they only managed one point from their last five games so consistency will be key if further progress is to be achieved this season. 

FAI Cup: First-round

DLR Waves comfortably progressed at the expense of Bohemians with a 3-0 victory in the opening round of last year’s FAI cup at Dalymount Park.

Second-half strikes from Rachel Doyle and substitute Ciara Maher sealed the win after Carla McManus had put the visitors in front late in the first half.

What to expect this season:

The upcoming season will see Bohs play their home games under lights on Saturday nights in Dalymount Park. This will expose the team to a bigger audience and is a big step for the development of the women’s team as their importance to the club has been emphasised with this decision.

The fans that will hopefully make Saturday nights at Dalymount a regular habit will get to see a number of new players line out in the red & black this year. Katie Burdis and Ciara Maher are new arrivals from DLR Waves with Sinéad Taylor, Fiona Ryan and Kira Bates-Crosbie joining from Wexford Youths.

Joint top scorer from last season Erica Burke has re-signed for the club for the season ahead so despite the loss of Sophie Watters who was a mainstay of their midfield last season, the Gypsies have a strong squad with which to attempt to continue their rise within the women’s game.

First game: Bohemians open their WNL campaign with a trip to Tolka Park to face Shelbourne on Saturday, 5th March.