Bohemians Under-19s hopeful of Midtjylland comeback
Craig Sexton’s side looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Danish side at Dalymount
Bohs Under-19s face Denmark’s FC Midtjylland in the Uefa Youth League on Wednesday night. Photograph: tom Beary/Inpho
With a domestic league final against arch rivals Shamrock Rovers to come next week, Bohemians Under-19s team turn their attention to the Uefa Youth League on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.0pm) when they will look to overcome FC Midtjylland’s 2-1 lead in the second leg of their first round encounter.
Manager Craig Sexton admits it will be a tough game for his young side but believes they are very much in it, after Steven Nolan’s away goal gave them something to take home from Herning.
“They (the Danes) had just scored from a corner to make it 2-0 which was disappointing,” he says, “because you don’t want to concede from a set piece like that in Europe but then we scored within a couple of minutes which I think it said a lot about the character of our players.
“They could easily have crumbled but they stuck their chests out a little bit, fought back and got the away goal which is all we wanted; to go over there and get a positive result, whatever that was.”
Sexton has a full squad to choose from for the home leg, the winners of which will go on to face either Basel or Hamilton Academical in the second round. Cork City made that stage of the competition a couple of years ago while UCD narrowly missed out on progressing last season when they beaten on penalties by Molde.
“It’s a great thing for the players to be involved in,” says Sexton. “For some of them, the game over there was the first like that that they had been involved in and the experience of the preparation that goes into a game at that level is invaluable. I think it’s really huge for their development.”
That game was staged in the Danish club’s still new 12,000 seat stadium which Sexton and his players acknowledge had something of an edge on Dalymount and, he suggests, roughing it here will be part of the challenge for the visitors.
“The away dressing room here will be a bit of a shock,” he says with a laugh.
“There’ll be none of their home comforts and hopefully there’s be a big crowd because the lads are going to have to dig in and work very hard so a bit of a pat on the back from the supporters might be important on a couple of occasions over the course of the night.”
Midtjylland, whose players at this level are all full-time, will see themselves as favourites, he admits, but neither he nor his players seem daunted by the task.
“The game over there was quite a step up from the League of Ireland,” says Nolan, “but I think we handled it well. I think the thing now is just to play the way we usually do. We dominated in the second half and if we can do that again then we should be okay.”