Hoban and Dundalk aiming to maintain recent momentum
In-form striker will bid to add to his goals tally against St Patrick’s Athletic at Inchicore
Dundalk’s Pat Hoban: “I had a very frustrating year in terms of not playing, injuries, little niggles . . . I’m lucky to be playing here now under Stephen Kenny.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
“We haven’t done a lot wrong this season,” says Kenny, whose side would have been seven points off the pace had they lost to City. “We’ve played well, and probably those two games we drew, we should have won.
“It [the win over Cork] is just one win in isolation,” he says however. “That’s what I said to the players straight away afterwards. We have a tough game now against St Pat’s. They have done alright, they have six points already and they have an experienced team so we are going to have to be focused.
Pat Hoban getting back amongst the goals with three in the last two games will have gone a long way to increase confidence levels, both for the striker himself and the side generally.
He and his team-mates passed up a fair few chances on Friday but the 26- year-old says that he is feeling good again around the opposition goal and that the strength of Dundalk’s squad is beginning to shine through. For the Galwayman, it is a welcome return to form after a difficult end to his time in England.
“I wanted to prove myself in England because in my eyes I am definitely good enough,” he says, “But I had a very frustrating year in terms of not playing, injuries, little niggles, it was a very frustrating year for me.
“I was doing well before January, I know I’m going back a long way here, but at Mansfield a new manager comes in and that’s just the way it is, the way football is over there, it’s just really ruthless. You get into a mindset then and think, ‘this guy is never going to play me,’ and your confidence goes. And my confidence did go.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard. But I’m lucky to be playing here now under Stephen Kenny. When you are at home, even if things weren’t going so well, you always have family you can turn to, but I’m getting sharper every week and we have a great squad here... we played 11 v 11 last Tuesday and you literally could not tell between the two sides, both playing the same style of football it was very, very good.”
They face a couple more tough tests this week with St Patrick’s this evening following by Waterford on Friday but they certainly have momentum behind them now as they go into Monday’s game.
Cork will be aiming to regain their momentum by beating an in-from Shamrock Rovers side that scored six goals for the second straight game on Friday.
“When you lose like that,” John Caulfield says of the Oriel Park game, “you have to take the criticism and come back stronger. You have to show what you are made of and that is what tomorrow is all about.”
The hosts will again be without Alan Bennett, whose experience was missed at the weekend, while Mark McNulty is reckoned to be a doubt. Rovers plan to give late fitness tests to Ethan Boyle and Greg Bolger.
If City slip up again then Waterford could be top by the end of the night. Alan Reynolds has quite an injury list to contend with ahead of the visit of Bohemians, though. Ismahil Akinade is apparently one of those likely to miss out against his old club with Bastian Hery and Gavan Holohan also on the doubtful list. But Faysel Kasmi comes back into contention.
Fixtures (7.45). Premier Division: Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers, Cork City v Shamrock Rovers, Derry City v Limerick, St Patrick’s Athletic v Dundalk, Waterford v Bohemians. League Cup: Finn Harps v Mayo League.