Patrick Hoban paid tribute to the travelling support who spurred Dundalk on at the Skonto Stadium on Latvia on Wednesday night.
Over 400 fans made the trip to Latvia and they witnessed a glorious night for the club thanks to a dramatic penalty shootout victory.
“Fair play to them for coming out in those kinds of numbers,” Hoban told Dundalk Sport. “It shows the great support that Dundalk have. They took over the place and were just unbelievable.”
Hoban acted as a cheerleader during the shootout, visibly encouraging Gary Rogers and each of Dundalk’s penalty takers before they stepped up.
“Part of it was trying to get into Riga’s heads,” he said, “but, mainly, I was just trying to make sure that everybody was upbeat and not too disappointed when we missed a couple of penalties,” he said.
“You’re never really out of it in a shootout. You have to keep going until the bitter end. I just kept shouting! I don’t know if it worked but we went through and that’s the main thing,” he smiled.
“I felt we deserved it, to be honest. We were the better side over the two legs. It was kind of frustrating because they played in the same way as they did in the first leg but we had to dig deep, we stuck together and we got our rewards.”
The win sets Dundalk up for a showdown with Qarabag and Hoban said the League of Ireland champions were looking forward to a crack at the Azerbaijani giants.
“We’re going to be the underdogs against them but I think that will suit us. They might leave some gaps and space as opposed to Riga who were so defensive.
“Qarabag are obviously a much bigger club than us but we have our qualities and a lot of determination to do well in Europe so we’ll be giving it absolutely everything.”
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