Dundalk FC head coach Vinny Perth and assistant Ruaidhrí Higgins converse with Waterford boss Alan Reynolds (centre) before last night's SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash. (Pic: Sportsfile)
Vinny Perth says Shamrock Rovers “are not going away any time soon”, with the Dundalk FC head coach remaining fully focussed on domestic matters after his side made it 15 games unbeaten in all competitions by brushing aside Waterford 3-0 at Oriel Park on Monday night.
In the aftermath, Blues boss Alan Reynolds admitted that his club is in a “rebuilding” process and, given their predicament, he was disappointed that they handed Dundalk a second-minute gift.
Waterford have lost strikers Aaron Drinan and Ismahil Akinade over the past month, and “gambled” on playing defender Rory Feely up front in the first half. In truth, there was little doubt about the result after that early concession as they offered little threat.
It was all too easy for Dundalk as they collected their eighth straight SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win, which maintains their eight-point lead over the Hoops at the summit.
However, Perth insists his players must keep their eyes on the prize, with a difficult date in Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday (7.45pm), before their UEFA Champions League campaign begins next week.
“It was a good weekend,” Perth said, after Dundalk bagged six priceless points in the space of 72 hours, following on from their 1-0 win at Tallaght Stadium.
“It was a sort of up-and-down night tonight, but we had some tremendous attacking play. The game was a little bit flat at times, but I’m really happy with how we attacked and we could have had a lot more goals.
“We probably could have conceded one or two. But, again, it’s another clean sheet and three points – it’s excellent.
“Shamrock Rovers are not going away any time soon, so we have just got to keep doing what we do. We have been playing really well of late, we’re on an amazing run, but these things can change very quickly with Europe about to start.
“To be honest, we really have to focus on this game against Derry. Derry have really hit form of late and that’s a really, really tough game for us on Friday.”
Jamie McGrath made his first start in nine weeks on Monday and the 22-year-old midfielder – who was so impressive from the bench against Rovers – capped another excellent display with a second-half goal.
“I think Jamie is a real player for us,” Perth said. “You saw on Friday when he came on, he changed the game back in our favour.
“Tonight, he showed his value in terms of keeping the ball. We do feel he needs to add goals to his game and I think he’s starting to do that, to be fair to him.”
On another night full of positives for Dundalk, the ease of their victory allowed Perth to give more game-time to Robbie Benson, who made his first appearance at Oriel Park since fracturing his tibula on the opening day of the season against Sligo Rovers in February.
“It was really good to have Robbie back on the pitch,” Perth said of his midfielder. “He is someone we hold in really high regard.
“He came on and made a difference against Rovers, and again tonight, in a different game, he showed that he’s not that far off it. We just need to get some minutes into him ahead of what is going to be a busy period over the next few weeks.”
Following Monday’s game, there was high demand for tickets for Dundalk’s Champions League first qualifying round first-leg clash with Riga of Latvia, with the queue finally subsiding around 10.30pm.
The club announced that a limited number of remaining Carrick Road Terrace tickets will go on sale at Oriel Park from 10am on Tuesday.