Stephen Bradley looks back at last week’s win in Donegal and gives the team news ahead of Friday’s game at Tallaght Stadium v U.C.D.
Last week’s win at Finn Harps:
“We had to take a lot of things into consideration for the decision to play the game. The three players were called up, three very good players and it was Finn Harps away in a tight game. The other factor was the busy schedule that’s coming up. We didn’t want to be travelling up there on a Monday night after a tough game on a Friday and we knew that would be the case, it’d be thrown in somewhere and give us nine games in so many days. We felt the squad was strong enough to go and win the game and it was.
We’re delighted with the win. We felt it was going to be a difficult game. We’ve watched them up there and we know the pitch is really small. They sit back so deep, played five at the back and everything went into the box. To be fair they work really hard and they’re together, I can see them talking points off a lot of teams up there.
We said at half time that they would tire if we kept moving the ball, they’d open up and gaps would appear. Early on they were really compact. We said it might take us until the last minute to get the the goal but to just keep moving them and there would be opportunities. The players never stopped believing in what we were doing, we didn’t start going back to front. Eventually we got it and the goal was actually well worked down the right from Dylan and Ronan.”
Greg Bolger’s Form:
“It was a great strike by Greg. He’s a really clean striker of the ball and that works against him at times but I was delighted he hit the target. He’s been excellent so far. We had a good conversation at the end of last season and we both agreed that last year wasn’t his level, he wasn’t where it can be. He’s better than that. This year he’s come back really fit and ready to go and his performances have shown that.”
The UCD game:
“We’ve actually seen a lot of UCD because we’ve had all the teams we’re playing next watched and UCD have followed their programme. I know they just got their first win but I think they’ve been excellent and very unlucky in a lot of games. They’ve played really good football and they have a really good bunch of players under Collie, who I know will want them to come and play no differently tomorrow night. I believe it will be one of our toughest games to date this year.
They have Farrugia, and McClelland who was here when I was with the 19s. Scales and Collins beside him is very good, O’Neill in midfield and Davis up front has really good movement. Although they’re down near the bottom now I don’t see UCD down there come the end of the year.
We need to respect that UCD are a good side. Other than Dundalk at home it’ll probably be our toughest game in Tallaght because of the way they play.”
Jack Byrne with the Irish Squad:
“Jack loved his time in the Ireland squad by all accounts, from speaking to Mick McCarthy and the management staff he trained very hard and did really well. He was unlucky not to get on the pitch but he really enjoyed it and it’s great to have him back.”
“Ethan Boyle is still out. Joey O’Brien (v Finn Harps), Trevor Clarke (with the Ireland Under 21s) and Dan Carr (in training) have all picked up knocks so we’ll have to have a look at the three of them today.”