Conneely focused on finishing strong
Speaking on this week's Rovers Review on Ocean FM Seamus Conneely felt that Rovers were unlucky to come away from last Friday’s 2-1 defeat with Cork City with nothing. With just four games remaining this season he also spoke of how important it is for the team to finish the season as strongly as possible.
It was the second time this year that Rovers took the lead at Turners Cross but failed to get the win and Conneely thought that they played well enough to have taken at least a point on Friday: “I thought we should have come away with something from the game at least. The first game I didn’t play in. We scored very late but then we gave away a penalty in the last minute to drop two points there. And then Friday night everything was going well, we played very well in the first half. We had a lot of possession and could have been two or three up at half-time.
“Going in at the break one up we thought we could build in the second half but I think John Caulfield must’ve got stuck into them and they came out firing. Cork played very direct up to Mark O’Sullivan and he caused us a bit of bother though Gavin Peers and Evan McMillan held their own. They got a couple of goals that we should have defended better on. We pressed for the last 30 minutes and had chances but it didn’t come. It’s how are season has gone really.
“Cork are near the top of the league so it shows how good we can be but we haven’t done it for long enough in matches this year. We didn’t have our best team out but it showed that with the team we did bring down there that we can be more than a match for a team that’s contending for a league title. It wasn’t nice coming back having played well but not got anything from it but we’ll bounce back and it’d be nice to get a first win under the new management this week against UCD.”
On working under interim manager Gavin Dykes as well as Ciaran Kelly recently Conneely says the squad are happy with how it’s gone: “We’ve enjoyed working with them, it’s not new to us. Unfortunately the first game we didn’t do ourselves justice. We probably let them down to a certain degree and let ourselves down. I thought we played better last Friday against Cork. We’re not playing for anything but we are playing for pride in these last few games so it’s important we put on a good show.”
One pleasing aspect of the Cork game and other recent games has been the performances of a new generation of young players who are emerging at the Showgrounds and Conneely is pleased to see them come into the team: “It’s very encouraging, Gary Boylan has been outstanding since he’s come in. Gary Armstrong came off the bench against Drogheda and was one of our best players even though he only played 10 minutes and he did well again against Cork. Ruairi Keating is improving every game. He’s working hard, learning his game and being taught things. It’s very good to have a foundation of young lads coming through. Gavin Dykes and Ciaran Kelly have done very good work over the last couple of years.”
With four games remaining Conneely is still focused on winning as many games as possible: “The main motivation between now and the end of the season is personal pride and wanting to do justice to the manager who is working hard with the team every day in training. If you are a good footballer you want to win matches. There is no better feeling than walking off the pitch when you win matches and no worse feeling when you lose. We want to win the next four games and finish as well as we can and there’s no reason why we can’t do it. We will start next week against UCD.”
This Saturday’s game against UCD is the penultimate home game of 2014 and the last to be played on a Saturday night. Conneely would like to see the fans turn out to support the team and in particular the younger players coming through: “It means a lot to us when we have a big crowd at the Showgrounds. Even in the last few weeks the crowd have shown up at the home games which has been brilliant. It would be great if they could show up in their numbers for the final games against UCD and St. Pat’s and hopefully we will give them some reward for their efforts this season.”
The game against UCD takes place in the Showgrounds this Saturday at 7:45pm.