One Step Forward, Three or Four Steps Back

Game 10

Dundalk 0-1 Sligo

These boys are not doing themselves any favours are they?

Lets just start with what we know. Several players were photographed in Belfast on Sunday, breaking COVID protocols and pissing off pretty much every single Dundalk fan. We don’t know if this was a sanctioned trip, we don’t know the reason for the trip, we don’t yet know the repercussions of the trip.

Which would be worse by they way? If the club had sanctioned this or if they didn’t? If they did then they’re proving, once again, that they are spectacularly unaware of what is going on. At least from a PR standpoint, how do you justify this?

At any other time in history it would be easy to explain. “It was a team building exercise” or “the boys just needed to let off some steam” any of the multitude of reasons that people have used for teams going on a piss up, which we have no proof this was either.

If the club didn’t give them permission and someone in the group decided “let’s go to Belfast so we can have a pint” and all the rest of them followed? You tell me, does that sound like a bunch of lads with their priorities right?

Let me be clear, this past year has been incredibly tough on everyone. Not least any of the number of new players that Dundalk have signed from far and wide, moving to Dundalk with no friends and not being able to properly socialize with team mates, not being able to bond with team mates. That aspect of the squad is so important and it is important for the team to find a way to gel and come together.

I don’t have a problem with them meeting up socially and skirting around the current COVID guidelines, who among us hasn’t ignored the guidelines for the sake of our mental health or need for social interaction. That’s to be expected and you can almost guarantee that every other squad have done this to bond or help tie the group together. Just be smart about it.

So on to the game…

Gary Rogers tried to prepare us. Before the game started as Peter Collins tried to build up Dundalk’s chances, Rogers very quickly reminded all of us that Dundalk have beaten Waterford and Drogheda in recent weeks and that that hardly represents a return to top form.

What followed was Dundalk returning to the form they’ve shown all season.

Again, a defensive mistake, some not incredibly convincing goalkeeping, going a goal down and not being able to get things turned around.

Ten games into the season and in four of those they’ve scored first. From those four they’ve won twice and drawn twice. In the other six games they’ve conceded the first goal and haven’t won any of them.

The pattern seems to be set in these games from the early going, Dundalk will enjoy a bit of possession, pass it around at the back, neat and tidy, not create very much, sloppy pass leads to a chance for the opposition and repeat.

Concede an infuriating goal, huff and puff, half chances followed by half chances followed by very good chances for the opposition followed by a herculean surge in the final moments where they may or may not get an equaliser which they barely deserve.

It’s not much fun is it?

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