Friday’s match in Oriel Park is live on RTE2, from 7.30 pm, kick-off is 7.45 pm. No tickets are available for away fans.
It was another good win over Derry last week. Were you happy with how the team played as well?
“We were really happy. We controlled the majority of the game and obviously responded well from conceding early. So overall we were happy with the win and how we played.”
Could our defending have been better for that early goal we let in?
“We’re disappointed with the goal we gave away. It’s a set play and it’s a really poor goal from our point of view and one that we’ll obviously look to correct going into tomorrow.”
Did the equaliser come at possibly our best spell in the game during that first 20 minutes, where a lot of chances were made?
“Yes, the response was good after conceding. It really got us going and we went and scored a good goal. When we had that period of real pressure it was important to capitalise on it.”
Was there a lot to admire about the two goals we scored – the assists from Ronan Finn and Rory Gaffney, and the header and finish by Lee Grace and Danny Mandroiu?
“They’re really good goals and two different goals obviously. They’re both really high quality goals. Ronan’s delivery was brilliant for Lee’s header and to be fair to Ronan he works on that every day after training. So, it was good to see it come off. And the second was a team goal of real quality, which was good to see.”
Rory Gaffney was awarded man of the match and he saw a header saved by Gartside. How did you think the second half played out?
“I thought we were good. To be fair to Derry, I thought they had a spell in the second half, without causing any issues, but they had a spell of possession for 10 minutes which away teams are going to have at times. I thought we managed that well and then we were comfortable for the rest of the half. We could have had maybe one or two more goals, but their keeper made one or two good saves. So, we’re happy with how the second half went.”
Barry Cotter has been nominated for Player of the Month. He’s made such a positive impression in a short space of time, hasn’t he?
“Barry has had a good start to his Shamrock Rovers career. He’s started well and his attitude has been very good. He’s come in and worked really hard and long may it continue. It’s been a good start but it’s only a start. I’m sure he’ll get fitter and stronger as time goes.”
What’s the mood like going to face Dundalk at Oriel Park?
“We’re really confident. We’re playing well and winning games, so we’ll go there full of confidence. We know it’s a difficult game, it always is because they have some really good players. But it’s a game we’re ready for and looking forward to.”
Is there always an intensity to our games up here even when they’re down lower in the table?
“Yes, I think when you play Dundalk, whether it’s home or away you’ve got to respect that they have some very, very good players. I’ve always said that’s one thing that hasn’t changed there. If you’re not quite on it, they obviously can hurt you, so we’ve got to make sure that we go there and impose ourselves on the game as soon as possible.”
It was good to have Sean Hoare and Sean Kavanagh back from injury, on the bench for the Derry game, and were you pleased with the cameo from Neil Farrugia as well?
“It was great to have everyone back, bar Graham Burke. It’s been good to get Neil on the pitch the last few weeks. It’s about building up his minutes now and getting him back on that pitch full-time because I think he showed, in the small time he had last week, real glimpses of quality. It was great to see him back out there and enjoying it again.”
Graham is taking longer in his recovery. What is the injury issue with him?
“We just need to be careful with Graham. We could have rushed him back last week, so we just felt that it was important that we got it right and gave him a few more days. He’s coming on really well and he’s not too far away at all. We’ll have a look at him again this morning and see how he is tomorrow. It was more us, the staff, being cautious with him.”
Pico Lopes is on international duty. Are there any new injuries or suspensions?
“Pico is away but other than that we’ve no new injuries from last week, and no suspensions.”