Friday night’s fixture in Tallaght Stadium kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 7.45 pm. Tickets are still available but selling quickly. The match will be shown on RTE2
Was Cork (last Friday) one of the most bizarre and frustrating evenings you’ve had as a manager?
Yeah, I think you could definitely say that. It’s probably the strangest game I’ve ever been involved in as a coach and a manager. It really was a bizarre evening all round.
Was the dressing room almost in disbelief afterwards because the team obviously went there to win the game and felt confident going in, but the game was ultimately taken out of their hands?
We were more annoyed, to be honest, because I think with 11, 10, and even nine men we were very comfortable and good in the game. And I felt even with nine men, we’d go on and get something out of the game, but then obviously when you go to eight it becomes extremely difficult. We still did have an opportunity to score, with Darragh’s header but the overriding feeling was frustration because we felt the game was taken away from us and that’s never a nice feeling.
The travelling supporters really got behind the team, especially when we were up against it going down to nine men, and then eight, and they appreciated the fight shown by the players.
I genuinely can’t thank the fans enough for the support on Friday night. It was incredible. I think they felt it was such a strange evening just like us and they responded in helping the team get through it because you could really hear them, and they gave the players real energy. I think the fans responded to the players’ effort and they were able to try and win the game and then in the end, try and get a point. The players definitely responded to the fans in terms of feeding off their energy, so, a massive thank you to the fans and how they were on Friday night. They were top-class.
You already spoke your mind on each of the red cards to Richie Towell, Johnny Kenny and Sean Hoare, but since then the wrongful dismissal appeal for Richie’s has been rejected so how disappointed was everyone at the club with that decision?
Yeah, of course we were. We felt that none of them were sending offs and we still feel that. So, I don’t think it’s surprising that it hasn’t been overturned but I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it now. We move on and we focus on what’s in hand and that’s three tough games in the next week.
That means four suspensions including Neil Farrugia, but as for injuries, where are Dylan Watts and Trevor Clarke at this moment?
Dylan’s doing really well. It looks like he’ll be back sooner than expected. Hopefully, we can maybe push him for next week. I don’t know whether that’ll be Sligo on Monday or UCD next week but hopefully, we can push him. He’s doing really well, and all the signs are good. Trevor will be after the break. He got a knock against Drogheda and it’s a little bit worse than what we felt, so Trevor will miss the next three.
Coming into the Dundalk game on the back of two defeats and being down a lot of bodies as we are, will there be an eagerness in the players who do step up to help us get back to winning ways on Friday?
Yeah, I always say that we don’t react to results and I think the last two games is a fine example of why you don’t do that. We had 29 shots and over 70% possession against Drogheda and we know what we did wrong. We gave up three opportunities and they punished us on the night, but a lot of it was really, really good. And Cork was a game that we felt was taken away from us. So, I think the group, we were playing well up until that point. Even when we went down to 10 men, we were playing well so the group is in a good place in that regard. We don’t like losing games and we’ll do everything possible to get back to winning ways on Friday night.
And being back at home in Tallaght and it’s live on TV, against a club we’ve had a rivalry with over the years, is this a good game to have at this moment in time?
Yeah, it’ll be a tough game. No doubt, Dundalk are a well-coached team. They always come with a good game plan, and I don’t see any difference with that on Friday night. We know they have players that have been around and won things and are dangerous so we’re in for a tough game, but every game we’ve seen this year is a tough game in this league. We expect no different on Friday, but if we stay at performing levels that we have been in the last few months, and obviously tidy up in both boxes, I think we’ll be OK.