KEITH LONG hopes the lure of Europa League football will see most of his young talent stay at Bohemians next season.
Friday’s 2-1 victory over champions Dundalk leaves the Gypsies requiring just one point from their final two matches to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2013.
They will also be guaranteed European football if St Patrick’s Athletic fail to win all three of their remaining fixtures — with the Dublin rivals meeting at Inchicore on Friday.
Any slip-up by Derry City could see both Bohs and the Saints seal European spots.
Boss Long has worked wonders on a shoestring budget to get Bohs into third spot.
But he has struggled over the years to retain his gems in the face of lucrative offers from full-time outfits and the same challenge is expected in the off-season.
Still, Long believes the stars who have got his team into this position can continue to prosper at Dalymount Park.
The minimum prize money of €240,000 from Uefa should also help with financing new deals to get more stars under contract like the impressive Ross Tierney.
Long said: “There’s a nice amount of prize money, which I would hope trickles down to us in some form.
“We’re making a lot of progress on and off the pitch. The club is stable and we’re bringing young players through.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
“There is a pathway there. We have five players away with the Ireland Under-21 and Under-19 squads this week.
“Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy are in Tom Mohan’s Under-19 squad for Monday’s game against Denmark.”
Long lauded his side for scalping Dundalk on Friday.
Goals from Luke Wade-Slater and Andrew Wright put them in control before Michael Duffy pulled back a late consolation for the champions.
Long added: “If we saw Luke’s first goal in the English Premier League, it would be all over Match of the Day.
“Dundalk are an expansive side, so we had to deny them space and play on the counter-attack.
“I thought we were full value for the win.
“We’ve still a bit of work to do and we’ll be going to Inchicore on Friday aiming for another win.”