By Aaron Clarke (@Aaron_c91)
On Friday evening, Shelbourne extended their winless run at home to five games after Owen Heary’s side squandered a first-half lead before drawing 1-1 against UCD. An early Chris Lyons goal was cancelled out by a second-half looping headed effort from Georgie Kelly, and after the game the Shels boss spoke about his side’s performance.
“UCD had a lot of possession without really threatening us,” he said. “they were passing a lot in front of us which we expected. They’re a decent team, we got one chance [in the first-half] and we took it.”
“I don’t know if it was an own goal or what happened, but I’m delighted it went in. Then we got on top in the second-half and conceded against the run of play, but we had numerous chances to win the game but again we didn’t take our chances.”
Friday’s result saw Shels earn only their 11th point of the season at home from 11 games and the Red boss explained they are creating chances despite not getting the results.
“It’s hard to put a finger on, I think we are top of the table on away performances and second bottom on home performances. Maybe the fact we do go and create a lot of chances, if we take them we win a lot more games at home, but the transition from attack to defence is what lets us down a little bit more at home because we commit a few more players to attack, whereas away from home the onus is on the home team to come at us and we are able to counter-attack a little bit more.”
“Look, we know what the problem is, it’s about putting the ball in the net – we are creating chances, if we weren’t creating chances I’d be more worried.”
With league action taking a short hiatus for the Second Round of the FAI Cup next weekend, Shels have been drawn away from home against Waterford FC and Heary believes his side are capable of competing with the First Division league leaders at the RSC next Friday evening.
“Yeah, it’s a difficult draw. Waterford are walking away with the league at the moment and they had a few players suspended tonight that will be available for next week, so they’ll have a full strength team, but we’ve no fear going down there and trying to win the game.”
“It’s a one off game, there’s no coming back for a reply. We’ve played Waterford a couple of times, we’ve done very well against them, we’ve drawn twice against them at home and lost once down there, but we finished strong against them here so we’ve no fear in playing them, so it’s important we concentrate on that and come away with the result and get into the next round.”
Friday marked the 13th anniversary since a Dave Rogers goal at Tolka Park saw them beating HNK Hajduk Split, however, unlike 13 years ago, only 410 fans came through the turnstiles on this occasion and Heary admitted it’s disappointing to see so few fans at the game, but it’s important his players give their all for the Shels jersey.
“It is disappointing, we don’t get the crowds that we were getting a couple of years ago, but there is people who still come to the games and cheer on Shels and back us, so it’s important that we go out whether there’s one man at the game or 20,000 and put in a performance and play for the shirt and that’s one thing the players do. “
When asked if he’d be hopeful that the fans who’ve chosen to stay away from Tolka in protest this season may return in the near future, the Shels boss admits he can understand the fans frustrations, but he is also hopeful they can sit down and work through some of the fans issues.
“Yeah, I think they will, I can understand their grievances and I’m sure we just need to sit them down around a table and get them talking and get them back in the gate, because the one thing we want them to do is support Shels and if they can come in the gate it will help us financially. Then hopefully I can get a bit more money to get a few more players in and make a right good go of it next season.”
Having won five league titles with Shels in his eight year spell with the club, many fans look at Heary as a club legend and he exclusively revealed to theleagueofireland.com that he’d be willing to chair a discussion between the fans and the club.
“Yeah, I’d do it,” he instantly replied without hesitation. “I’d talk to everyone, there’s no problem with me sitting down chatting to Shels fans and asking what can we do to help them get back in, or what can we do to help them come back supporting the club, I’ve absolutely no problem in that case.”
“My door is always open to anyone to come in and help the Shels whatever way it is. We’ve a couple of fans Andy and Johnny McGovern, who come down and give me a hand, whether it’s helping with the kit or whether it’s going off and getting much needed sponsorship, they do everything and we want everyone to be a part of the club.”