Danny Lafferty - 'I'd never taken one in a shootout before. I think I changed my mind about five times on the walk up to the ball!'Tue, Sep 01 2020
Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
Danny Lafferty was the hero on Monday scoring both Shamrock Rovers goals in their 2-1 FAI Cup win over Cork City. The victory came a few hours after the Hoops were drawn against AC Milan in the Europa League qualifiers.
Rovers needed a penalty shoot-out win over Ilves Tampere to earn that shot at Milan.
There are some very fine margins in football and Lafferty reckons only for the rain in Tallaght last Thursday he might have missed his spotkick sending Rovers out the European exit door rather than a match against the seven times European Cup holders from Milan.
“It was great to be on the scoresheet today, score two goals and get us into the next round,” said Lafferty speaking to extratime.com after the victory. “We are unbeaten in nearly a year (17 games in total) and that is something we take pride in as a team.
“I thought we played some lovely football especially in the first half. Alan didn’t really have to make a save. We restricted them and dominated most of the game as we try to do and implement our style so we can control the game.”
31-year-old Lafferty has 13 international caps for Northern Ireland but last Thursday’s Europa League First Round qualifier was his first competitive match in Europe and it was also his first involvement in a penalty shootout.
“I’d never taken one in a shootout before – I think I changed my mind about five times on the walk up to the ball! I didn’t connect with it as I wanted to but on a wet night it skipped off the ‘keepers foot. On a dry night maybe he would have saved it but I was pleased I didn’t put us out! When big Al saved that penalty and then Joey scored to get us through it was so pleasing and we were still on a high today from that.
“It will be a great occasion,” said Lafferty about facing Zlatan and Co. from Milan in mid-September. “But it is a shame that there won’t be fans here so it won’t have the same feel or the same buzz about the match. It is AC Milan coming to town so we won’t need any more motivation for the match.”
Next up for the Hoops is a Dublin derby in Tallaght on Saturday against Bohemians. “I know what it is about and how important it is. It will be a tough game. They are going well in the league and were unlucky in Europe losing on penalties. Our soul focus now is getting a result against Bohs.”