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Another win at Finn Harps on Friday. What did you think of the team’s performance?
“Really good. It’s a difficult place to go and they’re a good side. They’ve picked up a lot of points already this year and we knew it was going to be a tough one. Overall I felt our performance was really controlled and we knew it would take time to break them down because they’re so compact and organised. So we’re delighted with the performance.”
It’s a fifth straight victory for the Hoops. Are the team very confident going into every game because of this run?
“I think they trust what we do and believe in what we do and with that brings confidence. When you do your work away from the Friday nights like the players do, they work extremely hard, you go into games really confident. It doesn’t guarantee you anything but the players know they’ve done their work and they’re ready to go.”
The first goal by Rory Gaffney was somewhat fortunate with the goalkeeping error wasn’t it?
“Obviously the goalkeeper drops it but Rory still has to be there and still has to find the net and he has. So you take them all day.”
You opted for Rory over Aaron on this occasion. Does your team selection often take in the type of opposition and the pitch i.e. ‘horses for courses’ and what does Rory offer us?
“I think you’ve got to look at everything – schedule, the load you’ve had before the game and the load you’re going to have afterwards in terms of games. The type of opposition you play and type of pitch you play on, how they play and how they set up, all that comes into picking your team. It’s great for Rory to score because he’s been very good for us and hopefully that’s the start of him now going on a little run.”
The all-important second goal was a very good header from Sean Hoare to score his first goal for the club…
“It’s a great header. We’ve been at the likes of Liam, Lee, Pico and Sean to score more goals because the delivery has been excellent from Dylan and it’s about us making sure we hit the target when we get opportunities. In Drogheda we had a few opportunities where we didn’t work the goalkeeper and at Finn Harps thankfully Sean manages to score.”
Did you feel Harps were trying to drag us into a battle and as a result they were competitive and always in the game up to that point?
“You have to respect that they’re very good at that and you have to battle. When you go to Finn Harps you have to respect that that’s the game it is. If you don’t battle, you’re going to get beaten. You have to do that and then it’s about having the composure to play the way we play. The players did that; they had to battle when the game demanded that but they also settled down and played when the game allowed as well. I thought we were really calm and measured in how we played and never looked in any danger.”
What do you make of Waterford under new manager Kevin Sheedy?
“They’re very dangerous, even with the game that they lost 3-0. They hit the post three times and missed one or two chances on top of that. In the attacking part of the pitch, they’re strong and create a lot of chances. They’ve lost some games but they’ve been in every game so we’ve got to respect that and be ready for that.”
Rovers can break the all-time League of Ireland record of 30 games unbeaten tomorrow. Will that make the team talk a bit easier because it’s a chance to make history?
“We’re aware of it and it’s obviously something we want to do. But we and the players have to concentrate on what we do and what we do in our game. If we do that and hit our levels, then we have a very good chance of creating a new record. We’ve got to concentrate on our performance and everything we bring to the game because Waterford are a dangerous team.”
It was good to have Joey O’Brien back after injury but what happened to Pico Lopes that day?
“It was really strange. Pico rang at lunch time on Friday and had a sore stomach. He went to the doctor straight away and to the hospital. We felt it was the appendix and he was going to need an operation but thankfully he got out yesterday and it all looks OK. Joey hadn’t trained in six weeks and he wasn’t supposed to play but we had to throw him in. Thankfully he was excellent for 70 odd minutes which is a testament to Joey and all the rehab he did with Tony McCarthy. He showed that he was ready to play.”
The fans haven’t seen Neil Farrugia for over six months. They’re curious if there has been an issue with his return to action?
“He got a bad injury with the Ireland Under-21s last year. It was his hamstring. We weren’t happy with his load when he went away and how he was managed and as a result he came back injured and hasn’t been able to get right since. Thankfully he’s back and available for tomorrow but it’s going to be a slow process with Neil. It’s important that we look at the bigger picture. It’s a long season with a lot of games so we don’t want to force him back and do something silly and then he has a setback.”
Who is unavailable for Monday?
“Just Sean Kavanagh. Everyone else is back.”
Monday’s match at Tallaght Stadium kicks off behind closed doors at 2pm. It is available to stream on #WatchLOI