Was a scoreless draw a fair result at Shelbourne last Thursday?
“Yes, I think it was. We only really had the Dan Cleary effort from distance. They had nothing of note either, to be fair, so a draw was a fair result.”
Dan Cleary hit the crossbar like you mentioned but we didn’t test the goalkeeper on the night when in possession. Was that a frustration?
“We had a lot of possession but in the final third we didn’t do enough to test the goalkeeper and obviously if you don’t do that, you’re not going to create chances or score goals. It’s something that we’ve been very good at this year but on Thursday night we just didn’t do enough in the final third.”
In terms of our approach play, how do you feel we did with our tempo and efforts to break a good Shels defence down?
“Some of it was good and some of it could be better. When you’re on the pitch and you see the pitch for what it is, you can understand why the players sometimes take two or three touches for what they could easily do with one touch. It’s very easy to be critical but some of it was good. Some of it could be better and it has been for a large majority of the season. On Thursday night, it just wasn’t quite there.”
The fixture schedule has been hectic with Belgium, playing with ten men in extra-time in Derry and then Tolka Thursday. How do you think the players are dealing with that heavy workload at the moment?
“The players are fine. They’re in a good place and they’re focused. We know it’s a really exciting end to the season that we have coming up. There’s a lot of good games, a lot of big games and the players are in a good space.”
Despite losing a couple of important players, have UCD improved overall in the latter stages of the season, and certainly from their visit to Tallaght on opening day?
“Yes, I think when you look at UCD’s recent results they’ve had some really good ones. We’ve got to show up and think we’re going to face the best UCD there is. We’ve got to be ready for that and make sure that we’re right at our levels because they’ve shown recently that they’re more than capable of beating any team in the league.”
After three away games, will it be nice to get back to Tallaght and hopefully put on another good home performance in front of the fans?
“It’ll be good to get back to Tallaght and back in front of our fans. The fans will be really important for us. We need them to bring their energy and their noise between now and the end of the season. It was a bit flat from everyone on Thursday night and we all need to improve – players, staff and fans. We’re going to need them to bring that energy and what they can bring because it helps. We’re looking forward to getting back into that Monday.”
Being in a title run-in with eight games left, will the squad’s experience and know-how help with the pressure that comes in these big games remaining?
“We’ve never felt pressure, we’ve just played what’s in front of us and played the game in front of us. All the noise and all the talk from people outside has never fazed us. It’s about focusing on what’s in front of us and wherever that leads us, wherever we end up, we just play the game in front of us.”
Andy Lyons and Justin Ferizaj are still away with Ireland. It was good to get Richie Towell back on the pitch Thursday but how are Simon Power, Sean Hoare and Pico Lopes doing?
“It was good to get Richie back and there were no issues. Sean and Pico are doing really well and they’re ready to go but Simon will be another two weeks.”