O’Conor Laments Goal Timing As He Prepares For UCD Trip

paulDrogheda United’s Paul O’Conor has put the timing of goals conceded in Malmo down as the reason why his side bowed out of Europe.

Malmo secured a 2-0 victory courtesy of goals at the end of the first half and right at the death when Drogheda were pushing for that late goal that would have sent them through.

O’Conor explains; “The timing of the goals was very unfortunate. I thought we were doing well in the first half then to concede on the edge of half time and the whistle goes thirty seconds later is a killer.”

“It was a tough night. Malmo showed their quality at times. I can assure you though that everyone gave it their all.”

The difference in the quality between the two sides on the pitch was evident but Drogheda didn’t turn away from the challenge of Malmo in front of just over five thousand at the Swedbank Stadion. Malmo fans were loud and caused a stir but they eventually saw their side qualify for the next round of the UEFA Europa League and a date with Pat Fenlon’s Hibernian.

The former UCD midfielder paid homage to how passionate the Malmo fans were; ” I said they were loud in Tallaght but they were louder on Thursday. Normally in the warm up it’s quiet but not tonight, they’re fans were up and singing throughout the warm up.”

“Even when we came out to warm down after the game their fans were still singing their hearts out. It shows unreal passion and we want more of it. It’s a good experience for the fans and I know they want to be in this competition next season. But to do that we’ve to now focus on our league form, hope that other teams drop points and get back to our winning form.”

O’Conor signed for Drogheda United back in December of 2012, leaving behind Dublin and UCD for a short trip north. His side now travel to the Belfield Bowl this afternoon, knowing they need a win.

“Europe has to be our primary objective for this season, it’s going to be tough though. We need to go on a really good run. We’re still in all the cups if we have to do it that way, semi-final of the E.A. Sports cup, in the FAI cup, there are still ways of doing it. We need to be focused now though.”

Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke thought his side were still firmly in contention for the match at half time despite being a goal down. “Going in at half time we were still in it. The shape we played was very good, Malmo found it hard to break us down.”

“I think frustration began to creep in as they were taking shots from far out. Daly could have scored when he had the header, nobody was around him it was  massive chance but I thought we gave it our best shot, to concede late on to a second goal is no disgrace. We played well.”

Mick also mentioned how there was no frustration from him on his side’s European dream being cut short, as he was proud about how his side had fared against the mighty Malmo “I’m very proud.”

“I want more of these opportunities. The only way we can get to Europe is either improve our league form or lift the FAI Ford Cup. We have to raise our standards. I’m not sure if the shape we played tonight would work in the league.”

The Drogs will be hoping to bounce back from their European heartbreak this afternoon when they face a UCD side who are also in search of three valuable points.


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