Away tickets for Friday night’s match in Tolka Park are SOLD OUT. The match will be streamed live on LOITV
Was Monday one of the maddest games you’ve ever been involved in your playing and managing career?
“Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, it was the strangest game I’ve been involved in. It was 4-4 and it could have been 6-6 or we could have won 8-6, it was one of those type of games. A really strange game with lots of opportunities for both teams that you don’t get very often.”
You were critical of our defending for the four goals. Did you feel that we didn’t look ourselves at the back at all and were the manner of the goals conceded a concern?
“They’re just disappointing because we know that we have top players. They’re top defenders and they had an off night. It just happened that three together had an off night, which is very unusual. We made basic errors which we don’t normally do. It’s very unlike us but hopefully, that’s it now out of the system and we’ve no more nights like that.”
Were the positives our attacking threat on the night – Rory Gaffney and Simon Power scored their first goals of the season while centre-backs Lee and Sean also netted from corners?
“I think our attacking play on Friday night was brilliant and Monday was just as good. I don’t think we’ve created so many clear-cut opportunities in a long time, so the attacking side of things is really good. But on Monday we let ourselves down with basic errors and we got punished.”
And our spirit and determination to salvage a result at 4-2 down also must have been pleasing?
“That’s a credit to the players and they’ve shown that over the past few seasons. We never feel we’re beaten, we never feel we’re out of the game and we keep going to the final whistle. We’ve shown that on a number of occasions throughout the years, and even in the 87th minute the staff are having a chat on the touchline and we said we can win this game because there’s so much belief in the group and what they can do. We nearly did and probably should have in the end but the players deserve tremendous credit for that; they fought to the end and got the point.”
It was a late 2-1 win and a dull 0-0 draw at Tolka Park last year, and Shelbourne have a win and a draw at home so far. What sort of team are Shels this season, particularly on their own turf?
“It’ll be a difficult game for us, I’ve no doubt about that. I’ve watched all their games and you can see that they’re very well organised. Damien always has them well organised so it’ll be a difficult game, and throw in that it’s a Dublin Derby and that they’re in good form. It has all the makings to be a really good game.”
Aside from the Bohs games there are Dublin derbies with Shelbourne Friday and St Pat’s on St Patrick’s Day coming up. With the rivalry and good atmospheres involved does that make them a bit tougher to win but also enjoyable?
“They’re very enjoyable to be part of, the derbies. Both sets of fans are obviously so passionate about their clubs and you can feel that on the night. They’re usually sold-out games, which is great so they’re great games to be part of. I think over the years we’ve managed them really well in terms of how we’ve played within those games and we’ll look to do the same on Friday. We have to be ready for a different game but we also just have to do what we do and bring what we bring to the table”.
Nobody would have expected Rovers to still be searching for our first win in the fifth game of the season but will the experience and know-how in the group help to remain patient because it’s so early in the campaign?
“If you only look at results you can obviously understand why people would be frustrated and I understand that. All of us wanted more points than we have right now but the performances as a whole – taking away our defensive display on Monday – have been good. We just need to not lose sight of that, relax and focus. Trust what we do and what we’ve done the last few years. The players worked extremely hard on Monday and we’re going to need that again on Friday. Add that bit of quality and we’re not too far away.”
It’s great to have Pico Lopes back from suspension. Has he been missed in our team and who will be out for Friday?
“I think any team misses good players. We know Pico is one of the top defenders in the country, so we missed him and it’s great to have him back. I’d imagine it’ll just be Ronan Finn who’s missing. Everyone else seems OK. We need to check on one or two knocks in the morning but not too serious.”