McCaffrey’s decision to hand Hanley his league debut in such a vital game raised plenty of eyebrows when the teams were confirmed.
The night ended prematurely for Hanley when he limped off after 28 minutes with a suspected broken wrist but speaking afterwards McCaffrey said he had no doubts he made the right decision.
“There is no reserve division and if something happens to Peter Cherrie, Ger Hanley will have to step in and he might not have played in two or three months. He needs a game, that’s the first thing.
“Secondly, Ger Hanley is an excellent goalkeeper. I have no problems with him stepping in there but he needs the odd match to keep him sharp. When you have no reserve division that has to be done. It was made clear to the boys earlier in the season and there is no problem with it.
“Unfortunately Ger looks as though he has broken his wrist which is not good news for him”
Commenting on the game, played in front of just 158 fans, McCaffrey said he was happy his side didn’t lose the game.
“It was a reasonable game and we’re reasonably happy to get a point. It was important that we didn’t lose the match. We didn’t play well in the first-half and we were lucky to go in one nil up. Second-half we were a lot better and we could have nicked it late on but I’d say a draw was probably a fair result.
“UCD passed the ball better than us which was disappointing and we lacked a bit of energy. But at the same time it’s a point and it’s an important point because it keeps the gap two points over them with a game in hand.”
After taking a one goal advantage into the break thanks to Nathan Murphy’s first competitive goal for the club, Dundalk surrendered their lead after just four minutes of the restart. It disappointed McCaffrey who then made some inaccurate remarks about his team’s tendency to concede goals at that stage of the game.
“We have a habit of doing that”, said McCaffrey. “That’s about the fifth match in a row where we went in at half-time winning and then we come out in the second-half and give a goal away in the first five minutes. We did it against Cork, Sligo, Monaghan, Drogheda and now UCD.”
“We were shouting and talking about it but players need to take responsibility for it. You can organise and hammer stuff home as best you can but at the end of the day they have to stay switched on and do their job.”.
The result leaves Dundalk with just one win in their last seven league games. but McCaffrey was bullish when it was put to him that it is now time for Dundalk to be picking up the points needed to drag themselves clear of the relegation play-off spot.
“We’re after getting a point”, he said. “It’s an away match and we’ve picked up a point. If we could win every home match and pick up points in our away matches we would be fine.”