Dundalk boss Sean McCaffrey was understandably happy with his side’s late resurrection against St Patrick's Athletic in Inchicore on Monday night.
Dundalk came from a goal down to score two goals in the final 12 minutes, one in injury time, to claim all three points against the previously unbeaten St Patrick’s Athletic.
McCaffrey summed it up simply after the game. “It was good, good to win, great to win”, adding, “we were fortunate tonight, we got the win tonight against a good Pats side.”
That, frankly said, was down largely in part to unfit striker but goal hero Mark Griffin. The twenty-year-old was plucked from the bench at half time in an attempt to get something from the game after the sending off of Michael Rafter. McCaffrey spoke about Griffin after the game.
“He’s quality, we haven’t had him all season and he’s just back from eight weeks of rehab, but with the lad (Michael Rafter) getting sent off at half time we were forced to put him on earlier than we had wanted.”
McCaffrey, who is in his first season with Dundalk and has amassed 12 points so far, also gave his thoughts on the half time red mist. “Well Robert Waters was supposed to pick up Chris Forrester from corners, didn’t pick him up and he scored, so Michael and Robert were giving out to each other and jostling each other, and the next thing we heard he’d been sent off for striking his own team mate, which is absolute nonsense.”
Despite the odds now stacked against Dundalk, McCaffrey still believed that Dundalk could salvage the game, and brought off his two wide men from the midfield five, Stephen McDonnell and Robert Waters, to allow Griffin and Bob McKenna come on upfront, switching to a 4-3-2 formation.
“I always felt we’d have a chance upfront, they are a good St. Pat’s side but if they’ve one weakness, they are not that mobile in central defence, they have good central defenders, but we felt we could get at them if we had a run at them.”
And running at them is what worked best first for Dundalk. Mark Griffin’s lengthy run was stopped 20-yards from goal by John Russell, and eleven minutes later John Mountney was taken down by Conor Kenna in the exact same position.
McCaffrey said that Dundalk fans would have to be patient, as the club couldn’t compete wage-wise with the top sides.
“I approached seven or eight of those St. Pat’s players to see if they’d sign for Dundalk, and we couldn’t match what they were getting. We couldn’t match the players who went to Sligo or the players who went to Shamrock Rovers, it’s as simple as that. If you want instant success open the chequebook, but that’s not sustainable.”
Damien Byrne joined the Extratime.ie team for the 2012 season. He is a Dublin based freelance reporter who is partial to a Friday in Richmond Park, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @damienbyrne92