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Question: Were you pleased with the character shown against St Patrick’s, to salvage a point having gone behind so late in the game?
“It showed a few things. It shows tremendous character and belief from the players. I think it also shows where the game was at that stage when St Pat’s scored, the mindset that we were in. We were in control of the game and I think you could feel that when they scored. It didn’t knock us, we just continued on from tip off and Aaron scored a fantastic header.”
Question: And what were your thoughts on those two goals, firstly the sucker punch from St Pat’s and then the excellent header by Aaron the substitute?
“Their goal is really poor from our point of view, there’s three or four mistakes leading up to it and then the deflection to go into the net. Considering they had one shot on target it was really disappointing to concede a goal. At that point we were in total control of the game. I was delighted with our goal because it showed a lot of really positive attributes that we did to go and push for the equaliser and maybe we could have nicked it in the end. For Aaron’s header he has to generate all the power and pace on the ball. He’s competing with the centre-half as well so it was a fantastic header.”
Question: The first half was very stop-start but the Hoops got on top in the second half. Were we unforunate not to score from Danny Mandroiu and Graham Burke who saw shots saved?
“The first half was always going to be that way. It’s a Dublin derby and the first league game of the season. It’s always going to be tight and edgy and it proved that way. In the second half we got control of the game and were unlucky not to be ahead by one or two. We had some good chances and their keeper made good saves which kept them in it. We did well in the second half “
Question: You said that the team shouldn’t try to score the perfect goal and instead be more clinical. Will that come in time?
“I think so, that’ll come in the more games we play. Time will come when they understand each other in the final third. When you watch it back some of our play in the second half was really good and we created good chances.”
Question: Aaron scored off the bench and Sean Kavanagh returned from injury as well. Do you feel you have stronger options than you did maybe towards the end of last season?
“Yes definitely. The squad is really strong. We had a few injuries at the end of last season and I think that showed come the Cup final. When you look at the group now it’s really strong.”
Question: With last week’s game in Derry postponed how did everyone keep busy in the meantime?
“You just have to be careful with your loads and what you do. Obviously with no game you have to work hard but also be careful with what’s coming. The schedule coming is really heavy.”
Question: Both teams tomorrow are looking for their first win of the season. Although there is a long season ahead does Dundalk feel like a big game already?
“I think every game is a big game and tomorrow is no different. They’re all big games.”
Question: The President’s Cup game was feisty. Is this two teams who always want to one up each other because of a rivalry that’s built over years?
“It’s just that we’re a team that want to win every game we play and that’s the way we play. I’m sure teams that come up and play us are the exact same and it adds to the game. When you’re playing a good side, which Dundalk are, it always turns into a competitive game. They’re always good games and I’m sure tomorrow night will be no different.”
Question: How proud were you to see a competitive international debut for Pico Lopes with Cape Verde and Gavin Bazunu earning his first senior Ireland caps?
“It’s fantastic for the club. Gavin is so young and please God he has a bright international future ahead of him. I’m delighted for Roberto as well because I watched the Cameroon game and he was excellent. They’ve qualified and he has something to look forward to now with the African Cup of Nations.”
The game is live on RTE2 on Friday night, with coverage starting at 7.30pm
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