Dundalk head coach Stephen O’Donnell felt there were lots of positives to take out of Tuesday night’s opening pre-season game of the year against Cobh Ramblers at Lotamore Park.
A tidy strike by debutant Dan Williams and a brace from Patrick Hoban secured Dundalk a 3-0 win in Cork and speaking afterwards, O’Donnell said it was a very worthwhile exercise.
On the performance
“I’m very happy. It’s the first game of pre-season and you want everyone to come through unscathed. I think we’ve come over that hurdle. Mayowa Animasahun aggravated his hip a little bit but everyone else is okay and it was a good run out. We haven’t done much in the way of tactical stuff so we are probably a little bit further ahead than I would have thought in that regard.
“There were a lot of new faces in the team that played in the first half and I thought we had some very good combinations. Cobh were competitive in the first half and as the game opened up we made a lot of changes and killed the game off.
On Dan Williams
“Dan could also have had a goal in the first half. He has very good quality, is a good footballer and what I liked about him out of possession is that he was very tenacious. It’s not easy coming in on your first week. It takes time to get used to your surroundings but he looked at home and he has a personality about him which you need in that deep midfield role.”
On Brian Gartland’s return…
“It was brilliant to see Brian back on the pitch. I said it in the dressing room after the game that it was a testament to him, at his age, coming back after basically missing the whole of last season. He has been fresh as a daisy in training and he’s not carrying his leg at all, all his movements are natural, and he looked sharp and fresh this evening. It’s great to have him back.”
On youngsters Jack Kavanagh and Tadhg Walsh…
“They did really well. They haven’t trained with us at all but we gave them a late call on Monday. It can be intimidating for young lads to get on the bus if they’re not in the group but they came on and they look as though they’ve been with us since the start of pre-season. They definitely showed potential and they can be really happy with how they did.”
On the remainder of pre-season…
“You can’t replicate games. That will do the lads the world of good and bring them on. We’ll go more into the tactical side of things from here on in. The first couple of weeks was about conditioning whereas now we’ll be going into match specific stuff. I’m delighted with the start and we’ll kick on now and look forward to Bohemians next Tuesday.”
The behind-closed-doors friendly with Bohemians on Tuesday, January 25th is followed by a trip to Waterford on Saturday, January 29th. A friendly with Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park on Wednesday, February 2nd at 7.30pm has also been added to the schedule before the final pre-season outing takes place at Oriel Park on Friday, February 11th when Drogheda United visit in the annual Jim Malone Cup.