Details of a limited amount of remaining away tickets have been emailed to Members and Season Ticket holders. Friday night’s match in Eamonn Deacy Park will be televised on RTE2. Kickoff is at 7.45 pm

Firstly, some reflections on last week’s 0-0 draw away at Sligo. Losing Gary O’Neill in the warm up wasn’t the best of starts to put it mildly and were you happy with the point?

“Yes, we were happy with the point. It was important to get back to a clean sheet, which we did and it was good to get Pico back in the team. There were no excuses, but the pitch was probably the worst we’ve ever played on domestically. I don’t know how it looked to others, but it was horrendous. We talk about standards in the league, wanting to improve things, that can’t be acceptable for this level. To be fair to John Russell (Sligo manager), I think he said something similar afterwards. I know clubs are working hard and it’s hard work, but pitches like that, for Sligo’s third home game of the season, can’t be good enough. To be fair, both teams tried to produce some sort of quality on it, but it was extremely difficult.”

How difficult is that mentally to have that doubt in your mind to hit a first time pass when it comes so naturally in our style of play?

“We pride ourselves on being a team that whatever type of game it is, we’ll be the better team at it. Whether it’s a good footballing game or not, we’ll be a better team. But the players are human and when you put them on a pitch like that, they’re going to second guess certain passes to make. Touches that they’d normally just take without even thinking, they have to really focus on and as a result it hurts the quality and tempo of the game. I think it was quite evident in Sligo, and I watched their home games against Shelbourne and Derry, it was very similar. It needs to improve and I’m sure it’s not suiting Sligo either.”

You’ll lock horns again with John Caulfield tomorrow night, a man whose Cork team were very much the benchmark in your early days as Rovers manager, so a very difficult game awaits us given John’s and his assistant Ollie Horgan’s experience and Galway’s runaway First Division success last season.

“We’re coming up against a manager who has won everything domestically and an assistant manager who’s been around the game a long time and who knows the league inside out. They are two people that I have a lot of respect for. John’s Cork team were a top team, one of the best in the country that we’ve seen, so I’ve nothing but respect for John. We know what we’re going to face tomorrow, we know what they’re very good at, so we have to respect what Galway are good at. So if we do that we’ll be ok. It’s a tough game but I feel we’re ready for it.”

This week marks 15 years of Rovers’ first game in Tallaght Stadium. You played in that 2-1 win over Sligo. Have you any standout memories of that night and did the fans’ euphoria of finally having a ground to call home make that game more difficult for you?

“I remember the whole build up to the game, it was incredible. Me being local, I’d seen the stadium as a field, then a building site for so long, so you could feel the tension with the build up. As players, it almost felt like a cup final in terms of the energy and nervousness you get in those cup final games. We got the win, but to be honest I can’t remember too much about the game in terms of was it a good game, but we won and it was a great way to mark the first game in Tallaght Stadium.”

Finally, we lost Gary O’Neill before kick off last week, is he available again and other than Neil Farrugia, Seán Kavanagh and Aaron McEneff, is anyone else back in contention?

“Gary is out. He has an infection in his foot, which unfortunately swelled up so he came out of the warm up in Sligo. We were hoping it would settle down, but it hasn’t. Gary is usually very good in terms of pain, the type of player he is, he gets kicked a lot, but he gets on with it. So it’s obviously a sore one, but he’ll definitely be back after the international break. We’ll make a decision on Jack Byrne after training today whether we involve him or not. We’re nearly sure we’ve got to the end of his issue, which is good for everyone, and especially for Jack himself. He has been there several times, ready to play, but then been so frustrated with another little setback through no fault of his own. So it’s been incredibly frustrating for everyone, but we’re just there with him and we’ll make the decision after training. Aaron McEneff is progressing well, but will be another few weeks as is Seán Kavanagh. Trevor Clarke is back so we’re nearly there other than the longer term ones.”