EMBARRASSING, sickening and inexcusable. Those were just some of the words used by Dundalk centre-back Derek Foran to describe the Lilywhites’ season following Sunday’s FAI Cup semi-final defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park.
Pats’ 3-0 win means it will be their supporters who enjoy a trip to the Aviva Stadium on November 4 for the cup final. In comparison, Dundalk fans now have to prepare for a dreaded relegation play-off that will determine if their club play in the top tier next season.
And Foran, who has been outstanding in a woeful campaign for the club, said that the players - and not former manager Sean McCaffrey and current caretaker boss Darius Kierans - should bear full responsibility for a disastrous campaign.
“By right the fans shouldn’t have come out today to support us after the season we’ve given them. It’s sick how we’ve repaid them, not just today but throughout the whole season. We have three games to get a team ready for the play-offs now. It’s beyond embarrassing.
“It’s nothing to do with Darius”, he added. “He has been great since he came in and has clamped down on everything. It’s the lads in the dressing room that need to be looking at themselves and see why they are making the same mistakes every week.”
Foran’s frustration was evident throughout, especially when he was asked about the manner in which Dundalk conceded the first goal of the semi-final to Pat’s centre-back Kenny Browne and about Barry Conlon’s missed opportunity to equalise four minutes later.
“You have to take a chance like that and you can’t concede goals like we did if you want to win any game, never mind an FAI Cup semi-final.
“It’s been the same all season”, he went on to say. “We have players who simply aren’t good enough for this level. It is a great dressing room and we are all good mates but this is our job at the end of the day and some of the lads just aren’t up to this standard.
“You hear excuses like ‘we are a young team’ but look at UCD, they’re flying, they play great football and don’t conceded goals like we do. Players aren’t learning from their mistakes. People say we have deserved more from games this season but the table doesn’t lie. We have been making them from the first game of the season and we just aren’t putting them right.”
Foran said that too many players were “going through the motions” and agreed when it was put to him that some of the squad had given up the ghost of staying up following the 2-1 defeat to UCD back in early September.
“Absolutely”, he said. “Players are going through the motions. It’s the same in training. Lads are treating it like it’s a laugh and a joke. Come game day it’s still a laugh and a joke. It shows a lack of respect to the club and to the fans. It’s sickening”.
Sunday’s defeat also put an end to Foran’s hopes of a third consecutive final. The 23-year-old was an unused substitute in the 2010 and 2011 finals for Sligo Rovers who are on course to win the Airtricity League title this season.
The contrast with Dundalk could not be more different but Foran said he had no regrets about moving to Oriel Park.
“It’s frustrating losing games but Dundalk is a fantastic club. I don’t have any regrets about coming here. I needed to play this season and I have done that. Hopefully we can stay up and Darius can get a few experienced players in next year and we can have a right bash at things”.