Monday evening’s match in Tallaght Stadium kicks off at 8pm. Tickets are still available here.
Were the players hurting after losing our long unbeaten home run in the league since 2021?
“Yes, the players were obviously disappointed afterwards. We’re not used to losing games, we don’t like losing games and we felt we didn’t deserve to lose, so the players were disappointed after the game.”
We had a makeshift back three who did well but both of Derry’s goals came against the run of play. Were you disappointed with the manner of the first in particular?
“We should definitely deal with both goals. The first one, we had two opportunities to deal with it and we didn’t and got punished. We’re really disappointed that we didn’t deal with that, first on the edge of the box and then on the halfway line, usually we do but we didn’t on the night. I thought both Seans did well considering they hadn’t trained and were only back, but you could see for the second goal, Sean Kavanagh just lacking that match sharpness and fitness caught him and he just couldn’t sort his feet in time.”
Johnny Kenny, assisted by another new signing Markus Poom scored his first goal with a great finish. Will that do his confidence the world of good?
“Our goal is really good. We win it back with a good press, Gary does really well with his play and then Markus’ first time pass into Johnny’s path. Once you put Johnny in on goal you always fancy him, left or right foot. He’s a really good finisher and he showed that on Friday night. It was a really good goal from our point of view.”
The team were really impressive in the first half with Trevor Clarke and Neil Farrugia running rampant and we could have scored one or two more through Graham and Jack – will most opponents find that impossible to deal with this season?
“I felt they did find that, and on another night we could have had the game over with at half-time. We created a number of opportunities and their keeper made two brilliant saves as well to keep them in it. I thought some of our play in the first half was really high level, probably the best we’ve been at home in a long time, and on another night we’re a couple of goals to the good.”
Our best second half spell was in the latter stages. Did Derry do well to close out the game?
“I think if you look at it, they cleared one off the line and Jack is unlucky. He has a chance from a few yards out but it hits the keeper and his one-on-one with the keeper, his touch gets away from him. We had created some really good opportunities that just didn’t fall our way. They were a half-yard short or wrong. It’s not about just kicking the ball in the box and hoping, it’s about trusting what we do and keep playing. We did that and we had a number of half chances off the back of that in the second half.”
Is having a game come so soon on Monday probably a good thing to try and put it right and earn our first win of the season?
“There’s not much to put right, other than the result, which we don’t like and don’t want but in terms of performance we just need to keep improving on what we’ve been doing the last two weeks. I said after Drogheda I felt it was getting there and I think we saw that on Friday night. We just need to stay there, continue in that form and trust what we do. I’ve no doubt everything will fall into place off the back of that. I said after the game to the players, and after watching it back in the morning, after our meeting that I really liked 90% of that performance on Friday.”
Newly promoted Cork got their first win against UCD. What do you make of them?
“I think what you’ll get with Colin’s teams is a team that’s really well organised and they know their jobs. If you watch their game against Derry, they had three or four really good opportunities to equalise and go ahead in the game. They’re off the back of a really good win against UCD so I’ve no doubt they’ll come up and have a right go. They’ll go to win the game, we’ve got to respect that and I’m sure we will, as we do every opponent. If you look at Cork as a team, they have real pace in their team so we’ve got to respect that as well.”
The fans travelled in numbers to Sligo and Drogheda and it was a sell-out on Friday. Even Monday games last year had pretty high attendances, so hopefully, a similar backing will help the team against Cork?
“We’re going to need the fans like we did last year and even more so this year. I thought they were brilliant on Friday night, they stayed with the team right to the very end. I think they appreciated that the players left everything out there for them and performed really well. The fans responded to that and the players felt that fantastic support. We keep saying we know how important they are, they really help us and give us that energy to keep playing, so hopefully we can get another big turnout tomorrow night.”
Pico Lopes is still banned but you’ll have two of your centre-halves back from suspension and it was great to see the return of Sean Hoare from injury off the bench. Who is out for Monday?
“Pico and Ronan Finn are the only two missing. We have Lee, Dan and everyone else back, which is good. Sean Hoare came on for a few minutes on Friday but it’s still very early in Sean’s rehab, so we just need to be careful because he’s missed a large part of pre-season.”