BOIP meets… Mick Cooke

Last night, Drogheda United made the short trip down the M1 to take on Bohemians at Dalymount Park. Drogheda have been performing above expectations this season, and find themselves level on points with champions Shamrock Rovers in 4th place. They were firm favourites for the game but both sides contested an open 1-1 draw. Ryan McEvoy gave the Gypsies the lead but Alan McNally cancelled out the youngster’s superb strike with a controversial effort of his own not long after.

Drogs manager Mick Cooke

After the game, BOIP’s very own Robert O’Reardon, with the help of Neville Tumulty, caught up with the former Monaghan manager to ask him his thoughts on the game and of his team’s superb performance in the first round of games this season.

So, Mick, a 1-1 draw for your side tonight, how do you think that panned out?

Well, I would have liked to get three points obviously. I think we started very brightly, but it ended quickly. After 5 or 10 minutes Bohemians came well into the game, retained the ball very well, created a few chances and I think we were very luck to equalise so quick against them to get back into the game because had we have went in (at half time) 1-0 down it would have been an uphill battle in the second half.

Speaking of your first goal, there was a hint of a foul on Bohs ‘keeper Andy McNulty. What did you make of that?

Well, with the penalty area being so crowded, that’s a referee’s angle, I was at the far dugout. There is a lot of pushing and shoving that goes on, some referees give frees, some referees give penalties. It’s hard for a referee to judge when there is so many people around.

Much has been made of your spectacular start to the season with your team being so high up the league, what has been the secret to your success so far this season?

Well, I think it’s been hard work. We put in seven very hard weeks of pre-season training. We got off to a good start, although we lost our first game to Rovers, but to go 8 or 9 games unbeaten and only to lose two games in our first eleven fixtures was great. Had someone said that to me at the start of the season I would have bitten their arm off, as I said, the first 5 games away we’re unbeaten so hopefully we can carry that form up to Tallaght next Friday night.

With the cups fast approaching, with games against Mayfield and Dundalk, do you reckon they might become a distraction with your side being in good league form?

No, I don’t think so anyway. I think the thing is, if you have a team that’s 4th in the league, we’ve 21 (players) in the squad – and everyone is fighting for a place. I’m sure if I give them a game in the league cup or the FAI cup they’ll be in there to show me they should be playing when the league games come around.

Do you reckon your start to the season could make expectations higher than they were at the start of the season?

Yeah, well obviously, as you’ve seen for the last couple of years, the club struggled badly. When I came in last year the aim was to avoid relegation and that we did so now I have my own handle on the team. I’ve brought my own players in, but certainly we’re higher in the table than we anticipated and long may it continue.


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