Stephen O’Donnell felt there was a “sense of entitlement” on display from his Dundalk players, who he says “didn’t start the game properly” against Galway United.

The Lilywhites crashed to a 2-0 loss to the newly-promoted Tribesmen on Friday night, erasing much of the positivity that came from their opening-day draw at reigning champions Shamrock Rovers.

Ed McCarthy and Aodh Dervin gave John Caulfield’s side a commanding lead by the 30-minute mark, and bar a bright burst towards the end of the first half, Dundalk never looked like recovering.

Afterwards, the manager could not hide his disappointment, particularly with his team’s failure to “engage the crowd”, as 3,122 turned out at Oriel Park for the first home league game of 2024.

O’Donnell on the result…

“I’m really disappointed – there’s no other way of describing it. We started the game exactly how we didn’t want to start the game.

“Our build-up play being so deep on the edge of our box and setting triggers for Galway to press us, and giving them a little bit of confidence, a little bit of hope.

“We only have ourselves to blame for going behind. Then we got a bit of a foothold in the last 10-15 minutes of the first half and should have probably scored a goal or two.

“Again, in the second half, we probably didn’t show enough urgency or belief that a goal turns this game. It’s a disappointing night.”

Killian Brouder of Galway United in action against Ciaran McGuckin, who was making his Dundalk debut, during their SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Louth. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

On the performance…

“It was a bitty performance tonight. We didn’t start the game properly – that’s the bottom line. We didn’t play in the areas where we wanted to play.

“Jamie Gullan was too isolated too often early in the game, just because our build-up play was so deep.

“The follow-on of that is that everybody is dropping down, your centre-forward is very isolated, and you’re giving the away team huge belief every time you do that, which we were doing in the first 20-25 minutes.

“We got a bit of cohesion after that in the first half where we looked a little bit slick, but apart from that, it was disappointing.

“Our goal was to get the crowd engaged. How you do that is by playing progressive football and getting players up around the opposition penalty area – the crowd latches onto that and gets behind you.

“Our play led to the crowd being flat because our play was flat, and it was deep. That led to a little bit of edginess with their bodies pressing our backline and ‘keeper. When that period was happening, we conceded two goals.

“Robbie (Benson) had a big chance at 0-0, then they had a big chance just after. You’ve got to convert those chances. But all in all, from our performance, we’d be hoping to do a lot, lot better.”

Compared to last week…

“We always want to be the front-foot team playing at home, all the time, and our home record shows us to be that type of team.

“That’s the way we’ve been, so it was always going to be a bit of a different game. We just didn’t start the game properly. Then we were 2-0 down. That’s the crux of it.

“There was a bit of, I don’t know, a sense of entitlement that we’re going to tip-off, we’re going to keep the ball at the back, we’re good enough to do that and we’re going to play up through Galway. We were punished for it.”

On Bohemians next Friday…

“It will be a difficult game. We’re disappointed tonight. We’ll focus on that next week and look forward to our trip to Dalymount.

“It’s a busy week next week, we’re playing Friday-Monday-Friday. It’s a big week.”