Well, safe to say no one expected that. It was a bit of a weird sensation leaving the council house last night, proud but disappointed. Satisfied at the thought of ending the vermin’s 3-in-a-row hopes, gutted we didn’t finish them off and beat them to take the three points. No mistake, last night’s display was characterised by graft, heart, effort and commitment, the very attributes that have been missing far too long from Shels performances, and the only things we as supporters have been asking from the players. Credit where it is due, the players stood up and were counted and showed some pride in the shirt for once. Attitude and application in abundance, and those two traits can go a long way in this league, and it’s a pity we haven’t seen more of last nights fare recently. We could still be chasing a European place in the league if we had been producing those kind of displays on a regular basis since the midseason break.
Rovers are a mediocre side with one or two star players, it would have been a travesty if this lot of clowns were allowed get their grubby hooves on the league championship for a third successive time. It says an awful lot about how decidedly average they are, when they couldn’t beat our understrength side, missing arguably our two best and most influential starters in Daws and Shortall.
PaddyK was terrific, not just for his well-taken goal but for the general havoc he caused Rovers at the back with his menacing, winding runs. They couldn’t handle him. Smart finish to bring us level too. If we can get him to show up like that every Friday we’ll have a very dangerous weapon in our arsenal. Well in. Should have buried that chance let on though, tried to be a bit too clever.
Gorman put in an excellent shift, his brilliant goal just reward for all the hassle he caused Hawkins and Sives throughout. And what a fucking finish. Was like slow motion from where I was, the ball seemed to hang in the air for eternity but nestling in the back of the net. Hysterical carnage. I haven’t celebrated a Reds goal like that in many a long year. Fucking chaotic scenes, what going to games should be all about.
Cronin was a rock in the centre, breaking up Rovers play time and time again. One of his better games in the Red. It was also very heartening to see a real crowd favourite, David Cassidy, turn it on and put in an impressive performance. Written off in some quarters, I’ll always have a lot of time for Casso for his sheer workrate alone- even when things are not going right for him on the ball, you’re guaranteed to see him break his bollocks off it. He had a very good game, his reverse pass for PaddyK was a thing of beauty, a perfectly weighted through ball that opened Rovers up. And it was his hard work and refusal to give up that created our second goal, harrying and closing down Sives, to deflect the ball into HSWHW’s path. Tremendous stuff.
They say your defence is only as good as its weakest element- I felt Ian Ryan was caught out a few times playing a bit deeper than the rest of the back line and was partly responsible for rovers opener by playing Kilduff on. He had a competent enough game apart from that. It really is time Reds fans gave Chris Bennion a bit of a break- yes, it might have been a bit nuts surging from his box like that for their first goal, but overall he had a decent game. His handling was good throughout, and made a few decent stops. Was completely faultless for their equaliser too.
Decent enough atmosphere from the reduced travelling support, were loud from early on. Lets not pretend everything is now suddenly hunky dory at the club and that the team is now on the verge of great things. There are still a lot of fundamental issues that need to be addressed on the playing side of things, and few Reds are under the illusion that the FAI Cup is within our grasp. But after some truly depressing and dispiriting nights over the last few months, this was most definitely a small step in the right direction. I had almost forgotten what it was like to leave a game genuinely happy for once.
Roll on Monday and Friday.