It was The Righteous Brothers who sang about losing that loving feeling but for Gary Cronin and his troops it was the winning feeling that had been missing in recent weeks.
Having started the season with five draws and a defeat, The Seagulls finally got that feeling back on Friday night with a last-gasp 2-1 win away to Galway. A first half goal from Joe Doyle and an injury time Gary Shaw header sandwiched a Galway equaliser and afterwards, the gaffer couldn’t hide how good it felt when he spoke to James Fenton.
“It’s fantastic, we’d sort of lost that winning feeling,” he said. “We were where we were and coming into the game tonight with no wins, it’s hard as the weeks go on. To get our first win in Galway is a great result. The lads have been excellent in loads of games and unfortunately we haven’t got our stroke of luck. We came back up from Cobh after a game we should have won and it’s a frustrating feeling on a bus journey so now it will be a little bit better.”
Shaw’s game time has been limited since picking up an injury against Shelbourne on Good Friday and as the striker explained himself, Cronin felt Friday was the time to give him an extended run on the pitch.
“Gary’s a player who we don’t want to have on the bench, we want him on the pitch all the time,” Cronin said of his namesake. “He’s getting back to full fitness, he’s nearly there but playing 90 minutes just isn’t in his legs at the moment. That might change soon. To have someone like Gary come on in those scenarios with his experience and to score the winner is great.”
Friday’s game was a tetchy affair at times, with six players (two for Galway and four for Bray) as well a Galway member of staff going into referee Mark Moynihan’s book. While empty stadia mean that officials are safe from fan opinions, players and delegates from both clubs made their feelings known over the course of the game, leading to sympathy from the Seagulls manager.
“It’s a difficult job, refereeing,” Gary said. “The way the game has gone now, there’s shouts from everybody and it’s so difficult to manage for referees, I really don’t envy them. A lot of the time tackles are happening and you just want players to get up and get on with it and I mean that for both sets of players. I thought he got a couple of decisions wrong but that happens with every referee. I don’t understand why Dylan Barnett had a free against him in the penalty area but it’s difficult when all you hear is shouts. Overall I don’t think Mark had a bad performance.”
The main thing was getting the three points and Cronin described the feeling In the dressing room afterwards by saying “it’s great to get that monkey off the back. There’s been four games that we’ve played that we should have won but we didn’t, so obviously that’s on the players’ minds. We’ve been focused and concentrated throughout the whole lot and just made sure we didn’t get away from what we’re trying to do. Tonight’s game could easily have ended up a draw and that wouldn’t have been a bad result on its own but I think we deserved that stroke of luck.”
The next job for Cronin is to prepare his team for Friday’s East Coast derby at home to Cabinteely. You can watch it all unfold on LOITV.IE from 7.30pm.