SHAMROCK ROVERS keeper Barry Murphy believes their dramatic draw with league champions Sligo Rovers on Friday night can be the result that kick-starts their stuttering season.
Friday saw Trevor Croly's men draw for the seventh time in 11 games this season but the final whistle was greeted with cheers, not jeers, by the home fans as an 85th-minute goal from Karl Sheppard turned what was looking like a defeat into a valuable draw.
Rovers are still way off the pace, 10 points away from a European place let alone top spot in the table, but Murphy – who accepted the entire blame for Sligo's goal in the draw – insists that the point gained against Sligo will look very valuable at the end of the season, as Rovers prepare to welcome Dundalk and their boss, former Rovers manager Stephen Kenny, to Tallaght Stadium tonight.
"It's so close to turning our way this season that I know the draw from the other night will be a very good result for us," Murphy told The Herald.
"If we can pick up a win tonight – hopefully we can do that – then we'll have four points from the weekend and that's a decent return, that's how we have to look at it.
"The first series of games is over, if we can build on the draw with Sligo and push on in the second series of games we can get back into the race, and hopefully the first series of games is just the end of a bad period for us.
"Sometimes in a season you have results like that, where you nick something late on when it seemed as if the game was going away from you and you can build on that," added Murphy.
The former St Pat's and Bohemians man took the blame for the circumstances which handed Sligo's David Cawley their goal.
"It was a mistake from me for their goal and I have to admit that, I went to clear the ball but shanked it, put our defenders under pressure and the Sligo player went through to score," says Murphy.
"I take full responsibility for the Sligo goal, when I went to clear it, it just ricocheted off me and you do get things like that happening in games from time to time.
"But we showed great character to come back and get a result, it was another one of those nights when we played really well, created chances and deserved more than we got. That's been the story of our season, we create loads of chances but just can't put them away. We bashed UCD off the park last week and lost 2-0, that's how it has gone for us this season, we are not that far away."
The return of Kenny to Tallaght Stadium, made sure tonight's game was always going to be a fascinating one, but as well as that there's the issue of Dundalk's away form, with six wins from six away games this season.
"We know how good Rovers are and Tallaght is always difficult. We are ready to go again," said Kenny.
"Our away form has been excellent but we're not thinking about records or anything like that. We're looking to increase our points total and we're looking forward to the game."