THEY SAY a week is a long time in politics, but surely that saying could also apply to football?
Certainly in terms of Derry City, it’s been a very interesting seven days. The first half performance against Shelbourne in the FAI Cup had quite a few fans of the “Candy Stripes” preparing for a bleak finish to the 2010 season, yet the team recovered superbly to record two magnificent victories in Dublin on Wednesday and Saturday night last.
Most of the club’s injured players have returned to active service and that, plus the confidence gained from the 3-0 victory in Tolka Park followed by the equally impressive 3-1 defeat of Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium, will have done wonders for morale.
It’s been suggested that Derry seem to play much better away from the Brandywell but, personally, I believe the recent results have been fashioned by the return to fitness of key players in the squad.
I watched Sligo Rovers defeat St. Pat’s at the weekend to clinch the Premier Division title and nobody could say that Sligo didn’t deserve it over the season, however, I felt they were extremely lucky to win the match on Saturday.
With 90 minutes on the clock St. Pat’s substitute, Anto Flood, crashed a shot off the Sligo crossbar with keeper, Rogers, beaten and hat that effort gone in, this Friday night’s game at the Brandywell would have taken on huge significance.
As it is, St. Pat’s need to win against Derry to secure the runners-up spot and I don’t think Declan Devine will wish to give too much away before next month’s cup final.
That said, St. Pat’s will play good football but having defeated Shelbourne and Rovers back-to-back I’ve no doubt Derry will wish to continue to prepare for the cup final with a quality performance which will, hopefully, be watched by a large attendance before we prepare to set sail for the Aviva Stadium on November 4th.