Rafter relieved to open his account

Dundalk striker Michael Rafter is hoping to “kick on and score a few more” after he opened his account for the season with the opening goal of the 2-1 win over Derry City.

Dundalk striker Michael Rafter is hoping to “kick on and score a few more” after he opened his account for the season with the opening goal of the 2-1 win over Derry City.

Rafter has been in fine form this term without finding the back of the net, but after doing so at The Brandywell, the 19-year-old Tipperary native is hoping that both he and the team can build upon the surprise result and “turn their season right round”.

“I’m absolutely delighted to get the goal,” Rafter, who netted in the 15th minute, said.

“I was getting a bit of stick because I was doing okay but not scoring goals, so I’m happy to finally get it and hopefully I can kick on now and score a few more. It’s a massive three points. I don’t think a lot of people would have expected us to come up here and get the win, so it’s brilliant. I think it could turn our season right round.

“We’re absolutely delighted as a team with the work-rate that we put in. That’s what it needs to be like now in every game. Especially after the defeat at Shamrock Rovers last week, I thought we were excellent. We knew we had to bounce back. That defeat was horrible. We got ourselves right in training during the week, prepared ourselves for the game and had a strategy, and thank God it worked.

“In previous games, we haven’t got an early goal. That kicked us on and brought us in at half-time 1-0 up. And then we got another early goal in the second half, which did wonders for us.

“Derry put us under a bit of pressure; they’re a quality footballing side. I think the way we set out our team was to stop them, and we had one or two up to support me when we had it. It was tough when they had the ball, but I thought we did well.

“We got a bit of luck for the second goal but I think we deserved that. We haven’t really been getting those sorts of breaks this season. The incident at the end, from where I was, it was definitely outside the box. It was definitely a free-in. Thank God, the referee went to the linesman and he made the right decision. Hopefully, we can build on it against Bohemians. It’s a home game, we’ll be looking to get ourselves right again in training, and hopefully we can push on and get another three points on Friday.”