Perth reflects on ‘special’ night
Dundalk FC lifted their first major trophy of the season in dramatic style on Saturday night, overcoming the challenge of a resolute Derry City after a nerve-jangling penalty shootout in the EA SPORTS up Final.
Chris Shields’ spot kick secured a 6-5 win from the spot – after seven penalties each – after Dundalk came from behind twice to finish the tie level at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
The win marked a first major trophy for Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth since taking over the top job at Oriel Park at the start of the season, but the Dubliner was keen to heap all the credit onto his players.
Here’s what Perth had to stay as he reflected on proceedings in the aftermath of last night’s game.
On winning the EA SPORTS Cup…
“It’s a wonderful night for the club, the owners, the players, the staff and the fans. It was brilliant away support and I think we’ve all chipped in together.
“But ultimately the highest praise must go to the players. To do what they’ve done tonight after such a hectic schedule shows the level of dedication and the level of determination that they have as a group and I think they’ve been outstanding the last two months.”
On his nerves on a dramatic night and how the game panned out…
“I was actually calm enough in the penalties and calm enough in the game. I thought our attacking play could have been better at times and we’ve given away two easily-avoidable goals there tonight.
“The sending off swung the game back in our favour and we’re probably disappointed we haven’t won it in normal time but I think there’s no doubting that, on possession alone, we were the superior team at stages.
“The conditions were tricky, particularly in the first half with the wind behind us. It was actually easier going into it second half, but we’re better than what we showed at times in the first half.
“At the same time, Peter Cherrie’s made an outstanding save from Michael Duffy’s header and that may have changed the game if we’d have got that.”
On the celebrations in front of the Dundalk faithful at the end…
“It was very special and people have traveled a long, long way. It’s late in the night leaving the ground, so I can’t thank them enough. I don’t know if it came across on TV, but the level of noise and encouragement that we got from the away support tonight was very humbling.
“It’s a real to honour for us as players and staff to represent this club on what is a very special night and a night we must not take for granted and enjoy these nights as best we can.”
On whether this trophy is extra special, being his first as head coach…
“Judging by the reaction from my family and very close friends [it is]. They have all helped me achieve this. I’ve been working hard for the last 10 or 11 years at the lower levels and obviously at Dundalk, so ultimately I’m very happy to get over the line.
“But it’s really about the group, it’s about the players and it’s about the club. Fundamentally that’s the most important part of what we do. It’s a brilliant night for the club and I think we truly deserve this – we had to do it the hard way.”
On the importance of getting back to business this week…
“To be fair, we can’t really enjoy tonight. We enjoy the moment and enjoy the couple of hours after the game but our focus has to be next Friday down in Waterford.
“It’s a difficult venue and a lot more travel. We’ve got to get the players back on an even keel. Ultimately our number one goal this season is the league and we’ve got to be ready for that.”