Dundalk's Sean Hoare with Roman Debelko of Riga FC. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Champions League

'Important to keep the door shut' at Oriel, but Dundalk fancy scoring on the road in Europe again

Man-of-the-match Sean Hoare and Lilywhites manager Vinne Perth spoke after their 0-0 home draw with Riga.

FRUSTRATING TO BE held at home by Latvian opponents Riga FC, but the most important thing was not conceding an away goal.

That was the common feeling around Oriel Park after Dundalk’s 0-0 draw in tonight’s Champions League first qualifying round first-leg.

“We wanted to keep a clean sheet here,” man-of-the-match Sean Hoare told RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue just after the full-time whistle sounded.

We know if we go over there and score one, it makes it really difficult for them. It was really important to keep the door shut here.

His manager Vinny Perth echoed his words: “We haven’t conceded and we do fancy ourselves to score.

“I think the game opened up very much so in the last 10-15 minutes. We’ve just got to be a little bit better in that final third. I thought we lacked that little bit of quality, it was a little bit rushed at times. 

Listen, we can’t be too despondent. We’ve scored away from home often in Europe and we’re going to have to do it again. 

“We probably should have opened them up a little bit more but the players are in a very positive mindset heading into next week.”

While praising Robbie Benson’s impact from the bench, Perth offered an update on defender Chris Shield after he sustained an injury to his face in the closing minutes of the first half.

There was concern around the grounds after Cleary and Shields collided heads, the latter on the ground for an extended period of time before being assessed by the medical staff at half time. 

He played no further part in proceedings, and Perth revealed what exactly had happened.

“It’s just his cheek is in a lot of trouble and around the eye socket” he explained. “We just felt it was safer to take him off. He’ll be assessed in the morning. It is a concern but we won’t know until tomorrow morning.”

Hoare, who missed two valuable chances in the first half but impressed throughout, noted that they were prepared for a stern test from the travelling side. And undoubtedly, the Lilywhites will be gunning for another crack at them after that performance.

“We did our homework on them,” the 25-year-old Dubliner said. “They came here as we expected.

Look, we just weren’t good enough I don’t think. We didn’t create that many clear cut chances. In saying that, I think we’ll be disappointed not to score tonight. 

“It’ll be tough,” he added, looking towards next Wednesday’s return leg in Riga,

“It’s always tough travelling and being expected to perform at the highest level. But look, we’ve done it before. This group have done it lots of times. Look we’ll settle down and prepare for the next leg.”

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