Dundalk's John Gill. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
no panic

'It seems to concern you lads in the press' - Dundalk unworried by 10-point gap to Rovers

The champions suffered their first defeat of the season at Richmond Park last night.

DUNDALK ARE REFUSING to worry about the widening gap between themselves and league leaders Shamrock Rovers after their shock 1-0 defeat at Richmond Park last night. 

Daniel Cleary’s own goal in first-half stoppage time consigned Dundalk to a first league defeat of the season, and that surprise coupled with Shamrock Rovers’ 3-1 win at Turner’s Cross means the champions trail Rovers by 10 points, albeit with two games in hand. 

Speaking after last night’s game to The42, Dundalk’s first-team coach John Gill insisted his club are not worrying about Rovers or anything else beyond next Friday’s trip to the Showgrounds. 

“Just disappointed”, said Gill when asked for his immediate reaction to the defeat. 

“It’s a disappointing night. We haven’t had many of them over the last few years. 

“There were probably too many players off-colour. But listen, we  have a great dressing room, a great squad and we will reassess over the weekend. 

“We’ll have a look at the video, see what we have to learn and then push on for Sligo next week.  We certainly won’t panic. We’ll focus on ourselves and let other people focus on the other things like games in hand, and gaps and points but we don’t do that. 

“We focus on ourselves, and focus on the next match and the next match is down in Sligo next week.” 

When The42 returned to the topic of Rovers’ early-season lead, Gill insisted that it preoccupies the media far more than it does his club. 

“It seems to concern you lads in the press. It doesn’t concern us. All we are worried about is the next game.

“We will brush ourselves down, reassess, and hopefully get a couple of players back from injury. We’ll be okay.” 

Georgie Kelly reacts to a missed chance in the final minute A frustrated Georgie Kelly. Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

Dundalk hope to have Chris Shields and Patrick McEleney back from injury soon; the former is in contention for next Friday’s clash with Sligo having been put through his paces ahead of kick-off at Richmond Park.

Robbie Benson, meanwhile, faces another four to six weeks out as he recovers from the broken leg he sustained on the league’s opening night in February. 

A frequent refrain of Vinny Perth’s during the game – audible from the press box – was the importance of Dundalk passing the ball, and Gill admitted afterward that his side were occasionally guilty of forcing the issue a little too much. 

“We felt that, particularly in the first-half. Not so much in the second-half. That maybe comes with being a goal down, and the timing of the goal we gave away.” 

That goal was scored by Dundalk centre-half Cleary, who slid in front of goalkeeper Gary Rogers to divert Rhys McCabe’s low cross into his own net in stoppage time at the end of the first-half.

Gill doesn’t think that his defender could have done too much about it. 

I don’t think so, the ball came in. Could we have stopped the cross?

Maybe, I don’t know, we’ll have to look back at the video. I wouldn’t blame Daniel; I thought he was magnificent tonight. He was one of our better players tonight, and he’s been magnificent all season. 

“We’re not blaming him, we’re a team. We win together and we lose together, we don’t blame individuals.”

The April fixture list is exceptionally busy, with this Dundalk’s second of eight games slated for the month. Gill is optimistic that the size of his squad will stand to him during the packed schedule. 

We’d hope so. But we still have bodies to get back. We’re not working with a full squad at the moment, but we have a very good squad and we have full trust in them. We came down here last Monday, made 10 changes and beat a very good Pat’s team in the league cup.

“So we need to dust ourselves down, get the disappointment out of our system and focus on next Friday.” 

Dundalk kick-off at the Showgrounds at 7.45pm next Friday night. Shamrock Rovers, meanwhile, host Waterford at 8pm. 

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