Post Match Reaction: Connor
Dundalk manager Sean Connor hailed an ugly performance from his side after they secured their first home win since March as Declan O’Brien’s first-half finish saw off the challenge of Galway United. “I think what we did tonight was probably one of the most unattractive football games we’ve played, but we’ve picked up the points,” Connor told dundalkfc.com. “I think some people misunderstood my comments during the week when I said we’ve got to get nasty and ugly. I meant in terms of how we played the ball, and we probably put more balls into the channel and more direct balls into the box than we’ve done all season.
“I’m delighted with the three points. It was a very, very difficult game. Galway came here on the back of some very, very good form. That’s the second time we’ve played them and there’s really only been a kick of the ball between the teams. As I said, I think we’re in a six-team league and Galway right now are at the top of that league, so it was important for us to win tonight to close the gap. I thought we huffed and puffed without really creating any clear-cut opportunities, but I think when the goal did come it was a nice piece of football – a couple of wee one-twos and Shaun Kelly has put a ball through, and to be fair to Fabio, he’s got in there and he’s taken his goal very, very well.
“We wanted to try to win the toss (before kick-off) and we didn’t. But we decided that no matter what way we were playing that the first 20 minutes were vital to try to set the tempo and set the tone for the game. I think we did that at the start of both halves, which eased us into the game. I think there was a period in the second half where I think we maybe dropped off a wee bit and got a bit too deep and let them have too much of the ball, but thankfully the defence held out well and I thought we finished stronger. Although they pinned us back, I don’t think really they had what you would call a clear-cut opportunity. It was a six-pointer, because three points leaves us only two behind them. If we had lost tonight, they would have been eight points ahead of us which is a massive gap to try to catch.
“Last week was a car crash. I think if there’s anything in football that could go wrong it went wrong last week. Maybe it was good to get that out of the way in a game where we really weren’t expected to get anything. As I said, we’re in a mini league and Galway are top of that league now. This game was vital, as are our next five games. If we get enough points in the next five games and the next time and the next time, that is where our league is going to be fought this year. We’ve got a lot of home matches this series against teams that we should be picking points off, and that’s going to be very, very important. I think anything we do against Cork, Bohemians and Derry is a bonus. We’ve already picked three points up against Derry and I thought we were unlucky here against Cork. It’s important that we pick up as many points at home in this series of games as we can.”
Connor is hopeful that Liam Burns, who has missed the last three games, will be available for next week’s trip to Drogheda United, though the fitness of Darren Mansaram, who was withdrawn midway through the second half, will be assessed next week. Dave Rogers is also out for the next 5-6 weeks due to a hamstring injury, while the return of Harpal Singh and Chris Turner from suspension is offset by Declan O’Brien’s automatic one-match ban. Drogheda recorded their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory at Bray Wanderers on Friday but Connor is happy that they did so. “To be honest, it’s probably best they’ve got that monkey of their back before they play us,” he said. “I don’t think they’ll need any motivation, I don’t think we’ll need any motivation, and I think form goes out the window when you play local derbies.”