Tickets are still available for Bank Holiday Monda’s match in Tallaght Stadium. Buy here. The game kicks off at the earlier time of 5 pm.

We had a 1-1 draw on Friday night against Bohemians. Given the other results at the top of the table, a point wasn’t the worst result, but given our second-half dominance, are you still a bit frustrated with only a point?

“Yes, we’re frustrated we haven’t won the game. Up until Bohs scored we were very good, then after that goal, it was a bit of a basketball game which Bohs like. But second half, we controlled it, which I said after the game and again after watching it back. If we’d been slightly better in the final third, we could’ve won the game. But it’s a point, it’s the Dublin Derby, but we’re also slightly frustrated we haven’t won the game.”

Bohs’ goal was soft from our point of view and that seemed to energise their team and their fans and they might’ve gone 2-0 up before Johnny Kenny’s well-taken equaliser. How important was that goal to maybe deflate their team and fans and did that goal change your halftime discussion?

“No, it didn’t change anything in terms of half-time. Johnny’s goal is the goal, but how we controlled the second half didn’t happen because of that goal in what we did or how we played. It didn’t change what we spoke about, but we could’ve gone in ahead when you think of Aaron’s chance, if he squares it, it’s a tap-in for Darragh Burns. We just got more control in the second half and completely dominated it.”

We’d mentioned Josh Honohan on Friday in the team news and he continued his excellent start to his Rovers career against Bohs, but you rightly described Darragh Nugent’s 90 minutes as “high level”. Has Darragh given this group a fresh or new sort of identity in terms of his impressive energy, ball-winning ability and constructive contributions?

“I think Darragh is different to what we usually have in midfield and that’s what we really like about him. He’s a completely different player to certain types, to Dylan, Conan, Richie or Markus. Darragh and Aaron McEneff would be similar. What I love about Darragh is his mindset and attitude. He went on loan to Longford and Drogheda and did the hard yards for both, played a lot for us last season and this year, but he’s earned it. He’s a pleasure to work with and that’s all you want as a manager, someone with that attitude and mindset. You can see improvements with him every week, his performance against Bohs was top class”

We saw the massively welcome return to action of Jack and Neil for the last 15 minutes. Did they emerge ok for their cameos and, given injuries to Darragh Burns and Dylan Watts, their return to fitness is a massive relief?

“Both came through it well and both did well. You want to put them on earlier, and give them more time, but you’re conscious both have been out for a long time as well. It’s about trying to get that balance. But Jack and Neil are fine which is great, but unfortunately, we’ve lost both Dylan and Darragh (Burns) for the Waterford game. Dylan’s is frustrating as we’ve known for a number of weeks, that he’s been in that red zone of walking that line of getting injured. We tried to protect him, last Monday by taking him off, but all the minutes he’s played have caught up with him, he’s been brilliant. With Darragh Burns, we’re not too sure how he is yet, but he’s also played a lot of minutes, but hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Waterford are the visitors to Tallaght Stadium for the Bank Holiday Monday game (5pm kick-off). They have a reasonably good away record this season so, as always, the three points will need to be earned by the team?

“Yes, it will, like every three points in this league. You look at Waterford’s threats, they have some really good ones in the final third, what you get with Keith Long’s teams is they’re well-organised. You combine those two and you know it will be a difficult game. We know we’ll have to be at our best to take the points.”

As mentioned, we’ve lost Watts and Burns following last Friday’s game. Are any players back for Waterford; how are Seán Hoare, Rory Gaffney, Graham Burke and Richie Towell?

“We’ll check on all four of those today (Sunday). Again, if it was a different stage of the season, could you push them all. We probably could, but we won’t take any unnecessary risks with them. We’ll see how they are today, but if they’re not quite there, we won’t push them, we’ll wait and hopefully have them ready for Pat’s next Friday. The longer-term absences (Lee Grace and Gary O’Neill) are doing really well, scans have come back good, may be back sooner than we first thought. The prognosis was that we’d have them all back by May, that hopefully still holds and hopefully Dylan and Darragh aren’t too bad. It’s frustrating but we’re getting there so we just need to stay focussed on Waterford and what’s in front of us.”