Cornwall returns to Bohs

28th December 2023

Defender Rob Cornwall will be at Dalymount Park for 2024

Bohemians have made their second signing of the winter with defender Rob Cornwall returning from the US to Dalymount Park. 

The 29-year-old returns for his second stint at the club having spent five seasons at Dalymount Park between 2017 and 2021.

Cornwall, Bohs’ second signing of the closed season following the addition of Dayle Rooney, returns to Ireland after two seasons playing in the United States with Northern Colorado Hailstorm.

Cornwall told “I am delighted to be back. To be honest, it was eating away at me when I was away that I always wanted to come back and play for Bohs again.

“There were other clubs who approached me but if Bohs wanted me, I was always going to sign back here. It was tough watching from afar, and there was no other club that I wanted to sign for.

“When I was here before, the club was growing and it’s grown even further in the two years I have been away.

“You can see it with the support the club is getting, selling out every week, that it is a massive club, and for me as a player, it’s the place to be.

“We all want to build the club further. I feel I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and I will play my game, play my part, and I am looking forward to showing what I can do on the pitch and doing things right off it.

“The club going full-time last year was an important move, and hopefully we can see the benefits of that this season.

“It’s almost a completely new team from when I was here before, with the exception of Keith Buckley, James Talbot and Paddy Kirk. There is quality here, and big personalities in the dressing room.

“Everyone here has had the heartbreak of the cup final defeat, and the challenge for us all now is to learn from that, channel it, and to make sure that it gives us even more drive and hunger as a group and as a club to push on this season.

“There is potential and quality within the group and with the players we have, we want to be competing, and to get the club back playing in Europe.

“That is pressure for us as players and as a group. But Bohs is a massive club and if you are going to sign for Bohemians, you have to be able to cope with that pressure.”

Having hoped to sign Cornwall last season, manager Declan Devine is pleased to have finally got his man.

Devine said: “I am delighted to get Rob over the line. He was in training with us this time last year but his circumstances weren’t quite right for him to come home at that time.

“But we have remained in touch since. He did really well for us when he took part in pre-season last year, so he knows how we work, he knows our set-up, and he knows so many of the staff and players here already.

“I believe Rob can be a big influence in the changing room, and he is also coming back with a point to prove himself.

“We need competition at the back, we need defenders who know the league, and we need aggression. Rob brings all of that in spades, as well as knowing the club inside out.

“He is a no-nonsense defender, which, when we reflect on games we lost last season, was an area that was a problem for us. We gave away goals that we should not have given away.

“Rob has the ability and experience to help us fix that, and we hope to bring in more players too so that we have real strong competition at the back.

“He is also a player who I believe has tremendous leadership skills, which we will need this year with Keith Buckley ruled out for such a long time.

“Defence is an area of the pitch where we want to strengthen over the coming weeks. Being able to get Rob in at this stage gives us that platform to push on now and get more in.”

Devine is expecting a busy month ahead as he looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the new season.

He said: “Myself, Pat Fenlon, Gary Cronin, Derek Pender – everyone is working hard in terms of getting our recruitment right, which is key. We need to make sure we bring the right players to the club.

“There are a lot of irons in the fire at the minute. We have to make sure we do it right, and that we are not rushed into signing players for the sake of it who aren’t the players we need.

“We have reflected on where we need to strengthen and what we have to do to improve on last season, in what is an extremely competitive transfer market right now.

“We want quality, and we also want the right personalities. But where we are right now compared to this time last year, we are in a far stronger position.

“We have a lot of good players tied down on multi-year deals, which is what you want to plan ahead. We have a squad of about 16 players here at the minute – players who we set out to make sure were on long-term deals so that we are not starting from scratch every season.

“We have a lot of quality in attacking areas, but it is well documented that we want to bring defenders to the club and we are working extremely hard to do so.”

Bohs took to the training pitch for the first time in pre-season this morning, but Devine’s players have been in every week and working hard over the past month.

He added: “We are properly back in pre-season today but they have been in for the past three to four weeks. The players all had two to three weeks off at the end of the season but have been working extremely hard since.

“They have been in three days a week. Graham Norton, our strength and conditioning coach, has been a very busy man. Our conditioning last year was a real positive, and the players have given themselves a head-start for pre-season with the programmes they have been sticking to with Graham this past month, and it is full steam ahead now on the pitch as well.”