Maher: “Two Points Dropped”
Stephen Maher says it was “two points dropped” rather than a point gained as Dundalk had to settle for a share of the spoils against his old club Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park on Friday night. However, the 22-year-old midfielder hailed a “smashing game” of football and says there are plenty of positives to take out of the performance, before going on to nail down a target of six points from next weekend’s double-header in the West.
“I think you can see from after the game that they were happier with the point,” Maher told dundalkfc.com shortly after the final whistle. “We feel that it’s two points dropped, so I think that shows the mentality that we have. We do feel it’s two points lost. Still it’s eight points out of 12 and we got another clean-sheet which is a positive. We’ve got another point on board and we haven’t lost yet. It’s still only the fourth game in and there are so many games to play, but there were a lot of positives for the fans; we really had them on their feet tonight. I thought it was a smashing game; I thought both teams were absolutely brilliant. Both teams really gave everything.
“I think we deserved to win, to be honest,” the Dubliner added. “They had a chance at the end but I think overall we played the better football and we worked just as hard as them if not more. Maybe a draw was a fair result but I thought we played really well. We really went at them and really pressed for that goal, so you’re going to leave a few gaps at the back and they had one chance. But we really went for it and we were so unlucky with Wayne Hatswell and Ross Gaynor going really close, but it wasn’t to be. But there are great positives for the next couple of games. I thought Hatswell’s header was in; either side of the ‘keeper and it was a goal. Then straight away he had another header, so he was really unfortunate, but it just shows what a great threat he is from set-pieces.”
Dundalk still hold a 100 percent record on the road after wins at Bray Wanderers and Shamrock Rovers but have yet to win at home in two attempts this season, their last win at the border venue coming way back in September, incidentally against Ian Foster’s Galway United. However, Maher says it is still early doors. “There are only two games gone, it’s nothing to be worried about at all,” he said. “On another night we could have had three or four. It was just unfortunate. I think we can say we dropped two points, but that’s a good thing to say – we really played well tonight I thought in the second half. With a bit of zip on that pitch it’s absolutely great to play on and both teams really gave everything, and even though it was 0-0 I thought it was a great game of football.”
The Louth club now face a heavy weekend of travelling as they hit Galway on Good Friday before making another trip to the west on Easter Monday when they visit Sligo. And Maher says that the side will be going all out for maximum points. “Galway and Sligo aren’t as far as they used to be,” he commented on the double engagement in the Connaught. “I think if we can get six points next week it would be absolutely brilliant. We showed tonight, we really worked hard and created chances, so hopefully we can take them next week. I think six points has to be the target. We go into every game wanting to win and wanting to work really hard, and I think, at this stage of the season, you have to look to get as many points as possible.” Maher was one of the standout performers against St. Pat’s with a power-packed midfield display, but, on a final note, he said there is room for improvement. “I think I can get better,” he said. “I think I’ve been more consistent, which is what I wanted to be. A few more efforts on goal would be a bit better, but I was happy. But the most important thing is the three points and unfortunately we didn’t get that tonight.”