There is no bigger game to kick-off the season for Bohemians than the Dublin Derby clash with bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers.
When the fixture list was released ahead of the new campaign an opening weekend derby caught the eye as the perfect early test of both sides’ credentials this season.
Having previously been dominated by Bohs, with Keith Long’s side winning seven and drawing one during an exceptional eight-game stretch, the last two clashes have been won by Rovers.
Bohs winger Danny Grant is no stranger to tasting both defeat and victory in Dublin Derby games and the 20-year-old feels that there’s no better way to kick off the new season than with the “biggest game in Irish football.”
“I don’t think there’s a better game that you could ask for to kick the season off,” Grant told Pundit Arena.
“It’s the biggest game in Irish football I think, and I think most people will agree.
“Both teams will be well up for it, it should be a great game, it might be a bit hectic but there should be some decent football played as well and hopefully we can come away with the result.”
Grant and Bohs surprised many last season with their young squad impressing throughout the season, eventually finishing third and securing a European spot despite a host of injuries in the side.
The winger knows that a victory over Rovers would be the perfect marker to begin the season but is well aware of the pressure that comes in a game of such magnitude.
He reminisces about his first Dublin derby and although well used to them now, he concedes that the occasion and the atmosphere once got the better of him.
“It’s mental. I played in my first one about a year and a half ago and I couldn’t believe it, it kind of got the better of me, I was only 18 but now I’ve played in four or five so I’m used to that.
“You’re able to enjoy it more. It’s a great occasion and a brilliant experience but it’s only good if you come out on the right side of the result at the end of the day.”
Grant is also acutely aware that despite Bohs’ overall dominance in the fixture over the past few seasons, it is Rovers who have had the upper hand more recently.
It’s massively important, he feels, for the home side on Saturday to get a win and halt Stephen Bradley’s side’s momentum in this fixture.
“We went seven or eight unbeaten but they beat us in the last two so, people are saying ‘do they have our number now?’ So hopefully we can get back to winning ways against Rovers.”