Gala team manager Peter Dods spoke of the Maroons being down but not out in the aftermath of their devastating defeat to Glasgow Hawks with the last kick of the game in last Saturday’s Cup semi-final, writes Alan Lorimer.
“We now have to look towards next season, added the former Scotland and Lions full back.
He added: “It’s very very hard to take defeat especially two weeks on the trot. Rugby is a cruel game. In my whole career I don’t think I was ever beaten by the last kick of the game. But that’s just one of these things. You just have to take it and plough on.”
Gala were missing three key players and that arguably was a crucial factor. But Dods believes that the Maroons were not overly handicapped by the loss of skipper George Graham, and centres Chris Auld and Euan Scott.
He said: “We’re a very tight-knit squad and the guys who came in today played well and they knew what they had to do.
“But I’ve got to take my hat off to Glasgow Hawks. They stuck in right to the end and it paid off for them. We’ve had very close games against them this season especially the 30-30 draw up at Hawks. That was a different game. We were 19 points down in the first twenty minutes but we came back at them and got a draw. We were quite happy with that score up there. They came down here with a game plan and it worked for them.
“The game could have gone either way. It was a great match to watch if you were a neutral but not for a Gala supporter. We were 31-19 up and, I’m not saying cruising – it was a very hard game – but we let them back and that was very disappointing.”
Where Hawks had the edge was at stand-off and centre while Jamie Dempsey, who took over the coaching of Hawks following a spell with Hillhead/Jordanhill also believes that his side’s determination to move the ball and to play the full eighty minutes were crucial.
He commented: “We’ve got a real strong work ethic.
“We’re not flash but we want to play an attacking and dynamic game.
“We were playing, in my eyes, the top performing team in the country up until the last fortnight and we knew it was a massive challenge and so we had to come down here and just play without any fear of losing.”