Dundalk captain Stephen O’Donnell believes his late winner against Drogheda United puts the Lilywhites back in a great position ahead of their visit to Inchicore to take on table-topping St Patrick’s Athletic.
The sides are locked level at the summit with the Dubliners ahead on goal difference as they prepare to meet on Friday week in Inchicore but the Lilywhites would not have had the advantage of going into that game level if O’Donnell had not seized upon a defensive slip-up to score the only goal of the derby.
“It was so important to get that goal and win this one going to Pat’s because it means we go there on level-pegging rather than knowing we need to win,” he said.
“We will be going there to do that regardless and it was great to get three points out of this one in a game that we didn’t play well in.
“I think the ending was better than the game which wasn’t great but Drogheda aren’t a bad side and are tough to play against with quality all around the pitch,” he continued.
“I think they can feel hard done by as we probably didn’t deserve to win it but to be honest, performances don’t mean anything at this stage of the season. It is all about results.”
He may have hit the crucial goal in the derby and also had the honour of scoring the goal that put Shamrock Rovers into the group stages of the Europa League but O’Donnell was modest in his assessment of the strike.
“I wouldn’t be a prolific scorer,” the former Bohemians man laughed. “I was quite a way away from the goal but I just wanted to take it early because I thought the ‘keeper might have expected me to come in further with it so I thought it might take him by surprise.
“I knew that he (Alan McNally) was going to get the ball and at that stage I thought we were sitting too deep and I didn’t want him to have all the time in the world so I just wanted to pressure them and luckily it worked out my way.”
Double-chasing Dundalk were not at their best on the night but O’Donnell believes that in games such as these, it is not the display of the team that people will remember but rather the fact that they picked up the points.
“It is hard to play well every week and the key is when you don’t play well still to get the three points. We did that and how many times do you see all of the top teams not play well but grind out the result which is what we did. Nobody really remembers the performance at the end of the season. It is all about results “, he said.