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How happy were you to get our first win of the season and do it against one of our closest rivals as well?
“It’s always nice to get off the mark and get up and running. When you watch the game back I felt we deserved it and we’re really happy to get the first three points on the board.”
What did you think of our performance, attacking wise in particular?
“First half we were excellent. We were really good, controlled the game and created chances. In the second half we did well but went too deep which allowed them to get a lot of crosses into the box. We still had chances. We had a stonewall penalty which was turned down and obviously Aaron’s goal was deemed offside.”
It wasn’t ideal losing two defenders before the game but Lee Grace and Sean Kavanagh came in for their first starts. How did they do?
“I thought they were very good. We lost two big players before the game but the squad is strong. We believe every player in the squad is ready to play and they wouldn’t be here if we didn’t feel that. It was a blow to lose Joey and Roberto but we knew the players coming in would be ready to go. Lee was an interesting one because he was supposed to be out for a couple of weeks with the knock he had but he declared himself fit during the week and got through it. He was excellent.”
Danny Mandroiu scored his first goal for the club. Just how good was that strike?
“It was a fantastic strike. I think that’s been coming for Danny in the last couple of games. In the President’s Cup he had a few that he just didn’t quite catch and St Pat’s when the keeper made a few saves against him. He can strike from distance, left or right foot and now he’s off the mark. His all-round game is getting better every week.”
Dylan Watts came off the bench to score the second. How was the second half shaping up at that point?
“It was good to score because we weren’t in control, it was a transition game between both of us at that point and we had taken Graham Burke out at that stage. I thought Graham was probably the best player on the pitch but he’d been booked and there had been one or two challenges in that area of the pitch. We needed to be careful. We couldn’t afford to lose him and we knew Dylan was ready to go and he’s shown that on the pitch the last few weeks. When he came on he played really well and got a good goal.”
Dundalk hit the woodwork a couple of times and brought some excellent saves out of Alan Mannus. How important were they?
“Alan made some good saves, the one he pushed onto the post and another good one after that. Alan has that; he makes big saves and he was excellent on Friday.”
Did Pat Hoban’s late header make it closer than you would have liked at the end?
“Yes because we should have been out of sight at that point with our chances, the offside goal and the penalty incident but in the end the game was a lot closer than what it should have been really. Once they got the goal it became a bit of a nervy ending because they’d so many in the box and were obviously pushing to try and get the equaliser. So it should have been a lot more comfortable I felt, based on our first 50-55 minutes performance.”
It’s now a 24 game unbeaten run in the league, our best run since 1927. This team has broken a few records in the last couple of years hasn’t it?
“It has and it’s a tremendous record to have. We know at some point it will come to an end but right now I think this group are enjoying it and will only get stronger and better the more games they play together. They’ve shown real glimpses of what this team will be and shown great quality at times. It’s a great record and one that we’re proud of. We’ll try and continue it for as long as we can.”
Sligo are doing well so far. What do you make of them as a team this season?
“They’re doing well. I felt last year they were a strong team and nothing has changed this year. They’re a strong team with threats all over the pitch. It’s going to be a tough game on Saturday but it’s one that we’re ready for and looking forward to.”
What’s the latest on Joey O’Brien’s injury and how is Pico Lopes doing after quarantine?
“Pico is good. It’s great to have him back in the group and Joey has done a good bit during the week so we’ll just have to assess him this morning and see how he is. Everyone else is OK.”
Saturdays’ match in the Showgrounds kicks off at 6pm and is available to stream on WatchLOI