Date: 7:45 p.m. March 13, 2009
Venue: Dalymount Park
Att: 1,800 (est)
Despite losing out on penalties on that occassion, the Candystripes will travel south full of confidence having not lost to Bohemians at Dalymount Park for five years. Indeed, Bohs have never beaten a Derry side managed by Stephen Kenny in the league.
While much attention will be on events taking place over in Tallaght, this is arguably the game of the night with these two sides the hot favourites with the bookmakers for the title. If Bohs had such a thing as a bogey side last season then Derry were surely it. As the Gypsies romped to the title, Derry were the only side they failed to beat in the league - with the two sides sharing the spoils in their first two meetings, before Stephen Kenny's men marched in on Dalymount Park on the night Bohs picked up the league trophy last October and left with all three points.
Both sides go into the game on the back of opening night victories, with Bohs overcoming Dundalk 1-0 at Oriel Park last Friday while City defeated Drogheda United at the Brandywell by the same scoreline. Unsurprisingly, Bohs manager Pat Fenlon is anticipating a tough game. "We have had some very good games against Derry," he said. "Last year's cup final was a classic. I have great respect for Stephen Kenny and I think that he has done a very good job at the Brandywell. He has enjoyed the support of the board and with everyone pulling in the same direction, Derry won't be far away this year. Last season I felt that we were the two best sides in the league. Other clubs have strengthened a great deal in the off-season but I expect Derry to be among the front runners again this year".
With such a strong record against Bohs in recent times, Kenny is understandably upbeat going into the game. "Bohs are everyone’s favourites to win the league," he said. "They have a serious budget but we wouldn’t be fearful of them at all. We’ve shown a capacity to go down to Dalymount and win. It’s a tough game and people will expect them to win. They only lost two games last season and one of them was to us in Dalymount. They’re obviously the top side and the team to beat this season. We have to improve. We played well against Drogheda but there’s obviously a big difference so we have to up it, but we are well capable of doing that."
Bohemians will again be without Conor Powell for the game, with the left-back still struggling with an ankle injury. Midfielder Glenn Cronin, who started last week's game in Dundalk, is also likely to miss out after being forced off midway through the second half of that match with a groin injury. Defender Brian Shelley is another major doubt. On a more positive note, Ken Oman is in contention to face his old side having returned to training this week. Fenlon's options have been further boosted by the return of striker Jason Byrne. Opposite number Kenny also has something of a selection headache with Clive Delaney suspended and James McClean and Kevin Deery also unavailable. Delaney is almost certain to be replaced in defence by Mark McChrystal.