Hoban delight after late winner seals “massive win”
Dundalk striker Patrick Hoban said it was a “great feeling” to score a late winner for the Lilywhites in front of a noisy Oriel Park crowd on Friday night.
Speaking to dundalkfc.com about an hour after the final whistle, the striker was still on a high after his 89th minute header – his second goal of the game – clinched a deserved 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers.
“What a feeling,” said Hoban, reflecting on the winner. “It’s a great feeling. I couldn’t explain to you what goes through your head when you score a late winner. I don’t think I’ve ever done one like that before, so they were great emotions.
“We were probing and probing for the whole game and it was just so frustrating. Sligo were making it difficult for us, slowing the game down. We missed a lot of chances so to score with just a couple of minutes to go – it’s a massive win for us.”
Hoban put Dundalk in front from the penalty spot on 23 minutes, but a Rhys McCabe spot kick on the stroke of half time levelled the tie for the Bit o’ Red.
The Lilywhites pressed constantly in the second half and, when a couple of gilt-edged chances went begging, it felt like it would be a frustrating night, but Hoban believes the determination to keep going for the three points demonstrates the strong mentality within the squad.
“There’s great character and bottle in this team,” said the 26-year-old. “All the boys just put in a massive effort. Things weren’t going for us and we weren’t playing that well but to stay going to the bitter end and get three points after such a frustrating game is a massive plus.
“We have that ability to dig out late wins which successful teams need. We keep going until the bitter end. That comes from the gaffer and goes right through the whole squad, not just the eleven on the pitch. Everyone feels we can win any game at any given moment – it’s a great spirit to have.
“Getting the win tonight was massive, especially after the frustration of losing to Waterford last week when I thought we played well. Sometimes you don’t care how you get three points, so long as you get them and that was the case tonight.”
Hoban’s tenth and eleventh goals of the season sent him to the top of the SSE Airtricity League’s goalscoring charts, but the Galwegian insists he doesn’t pay any attention to the record books and, after a long spell on the sidelines before returning to Dundalk this season, he is just focused on continuing to improve his own performance levels.
“I don’t look up the scoring charts to be honest. I never have and I never will, but I’m feeling good. I feel like I’m getting stronger. I’m not getting any injuries, touch wood, which is a massive plus for me. My body is more resilient and I’ve another 90 minutes under the belt tonight.
“I feel like I could still get a bit fitter but it takes time, especially after such a long time not playing, but I’m happy to be back and putting in my contribution to winning games.”
Dundalk travel to the Brandywell to take on Derry City on Monday and, with the games coming thick and fast, Hoban knows how important it is to recover and prepare well for games, both mentally and physically.
“It’s quite tough on the body but you have to get yourself mentally right for these games. I find a lot of it is about mentality and a will to win, but that’s what we have in there.
“We’ve a massive game now on Monday, so we need to get our heads right and our recovery right and make sure we’re 100% ready for Monday.”
Monday’s trip will be Dundalk’s first visit to the newly-redeveloped Brandywell, where Derry City have yet to be beaten this season but, after a frustrating 2-2 draw at Oriel Park just three weeks ago, Hoban says that the Lilywhites will be heading north expecting a tough game, but with a point to prove.
“It’s going to be tough. They’ve a new ground and more fans going into the ground. They are playing very good football and haven’t lost yet this season. We’ll make sure we’re going up there fully on it and ready for a battle, because that’s what you’re going to get from Derry.
“But I felt that they nicked a draw against us here. We missed enough chances in the first half to win probably four games, so we kind of owe them one. Hopefully we can go there, put in a good performance and get three points.”