Dundalk centre-back Brian Gartland will no doubt take a keen interest in the discussion about the Lilywhites’ 2-0 win over Bohemians when RTE’s Soccer Republic show airs tonight.
Dundalk’s artificial surface has come in for heavy criticism from the show’s pundits in the past but Gartland said that grounds like Dalymount Park and Lissywoollen should also be taken to task about the state of their pitch.
Despite having to contend with a difficult surface, where the grass was clearly longer than usual, Dundalk took all three points from Dalymount on Friday night and speaking to The Dundalk Democrat afterwards, the big centre-back didn’t hold back when the topic of the pitch was brought up.
“Tonight proves we can play a different way. People keep giving us grief about the astroturf pitch at Oriel Park but we’ve gone to Bray, the pitch wasn’t cut or watered, we’ve gone to Athlone where the pitch was like a car park and we’ve come here and the pitch was horrendous, the grass was twice the length it should be and wasn’t watered. I don’t think it’s justifiable that people are slating our pitch when some of the others aren’t in order.
“It’s a compliment to us that teams are prepared to let their grass grow to stop us playing football. We’ve got to deal with that. We showed tonight that we have another way of doing things, we can mix things.”
The clean sheet was Dundalk’s fourth in five league games and Gartland said he was more concerned about keeping them out rather than putting them in at the other end.
“Clean sheets is what my job is about. I have people on to me every week about scoring goals. I’m getting Tweets and messages over Facebook but keeping clean sheets is my main objective.”
The win maintained Dundalk’s lead at the top of the league table. May was a fine month for the Lilywhites who won all five of their league encounters but Gartland stressed that nobody in the dressing room was going to get carried away.
“It has been a great month but nothing is won now. We are flying at the moment and on the crest of a wave but we’re still only two points ahead of Cork City. If we lose one game we’ll be knocked off top spot so there’s a long way to go.”