Where to now?

Game 11

Finn Harps 1-1 Dundalk

Friday saw the return of the god awful 5.45 kick off and another performance that it feels like we’ve seen before. A familiar lackluster first half display before a revitalised effort in the 2nd half that was good enough for a point but not enough for three.

It’s happened so many times this season, but for a wonder save from a goalkeeper or a clearance off the line right at the death one point could and should have been turned into three. The reality is though that this team, as close as they have been to getting better results, are not operating on a level that deserves more points than what they have right now.

The table doesn’t lie, you get the points you deserve and now as we’re a couple of games into the second round of fixtures, the picture starts to become a little bit clearer. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to be able to match Rovers’ consistency and we have a lot of work to do to catch the teams that are still trying to chase Rovers down.

Rovers have come up with so many late goals to rescue games or to win games and we’ve had those chances too but the reason they’re top and the reason we are where we are is they have belief that they will get those late goals, belief that they will win these tight games and belief that they won’t be beaten and our lads don’t seem to have that.

I’m going to level with you. I’m really not looking forward to Friday night. It has more to do with what’s happening off the the field than what’s happening on it. On the field I think we can put it up to Rovers for 90 minutes, their results have been miles better than ours but in 90 minutes anything can happen.

Off the field is a different story. Even if we win the mood is still going to be toxic. People are angry, people are upset, people think their club is being taken away from them. It’s been such a difficult year for everyone and the disconnect between the owners and the board of the club with the fans has grown so much that it’s hard to see how this will sort itself out.

Say we do win on Friday and go on a good run of results and get a good manager in and things start to make sense on the pitch. A lot of assumptions there I know, but say that does happen. The issues are still going to be there. There is still little to no improvement in Oriel Park. We’ve seen successful attempts to improve grounds and facilities around the country with different clubs and still nothing from us.

We will see a protest against the owners on Friday that we all hope doesn’t turn into something it shouldn’t. No one will begrudge people the opportunity to make their voices and opinions heard but they certainly will begrudge people who abuse the situation and cause damage or deflect from the message that the protest is supposed to be about.

The club, players and staff have given us so much to be thankful for and to be proud of over the years but maybe chaos is cyclical at League of Ireland clubs. Maybe this is our time to snatch catastrophic failure from the jaws of consistent success. Maybe we just have to ride this wave of ill feeling and unrest and when it’s over we’ll all have a club that we can be proud of.

On a lighter note to finish on, here’s a teamsheet that Watch LOI gave us before the game on Friday

Now that would have been a bold selection.

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