BARRY McNamee is clearly enjoying an extended run in Derry’s first team squad and his sublime strike against Dundalk on Friday night has unveiled another aspect to his overall game.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And while the 21-year-old Ramelton man continues to harbour hopes of securing a full-time contract with a cross-Channel club, his immediate priority is to ensure that he’s in the team to face Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell this Friday night.
Having now netted two goals in as many games, the creative midfielder is now considered another Derry City goal-threat and while his finish against Bohemians was something special with the keeper advancing, his curling shot which found the top corner of the net from the edge of the Oriel Park penalty area, was equally special.
“I was delighted to score against Bohs in the last match and it was great to score again against Dundalk,” smiled the player after Friday night’s game.
“I’m still working hard and continuing to learn and everything appears to be going well for me. I’m in the team every week and that’s vital, so it’s important that we keep scoring goals and winning matches in the hope that Sligo will drop points further down the road.”
When quizzed on his hopes of a future move across the Channel having spent what was understood to have been an impressive week at Nottingham Forest, McNamee’s priority was being included in the team to face Shamrock Rovers this weekend.
“It would be nice if a move to a full-time club materialised, but I’m not hung up on that. At the moment it’s all about helping Derry City win matches and while I enjoyed scoring in the last two games, I don’t care who scores just as long as we keep winning.
“I feel I’m playing well as I enjoy getting possession of the ball and trying to move it around. That’s my type of game and Declan (Devine) has given me the freedom to do just that.
“I’m really enjoying my football and while we are scoring goals we are conceding very few and that’s a great sign. I now feel much fitter and more confident having broken into the team last season and I really want that to continue,” concluded the Donegal man.
Red Card Appeal
Meanwhile, Derry City will decide if they will appeal the controversial red card which was issued to centre-back, Shane
McEleney, in the 73rd minute of Friday night’s fixture - an incident which rules the defender out of this Friday night’s high profile fixture.
Indeed, the “Candy Stripes” have claimed that McEleney did not foul Tiaran Mulvenna and that the Dundalk substitute “made the most” of what they believe was an innocuous challenge.
“I’ve requested a video of the match and we will also take advice on the matter before making a decision. But I am frustrated at the sending off as I don’t believe Shane actually fouled the player,” insisted Brandywell boss, Declan Devine.
“And I would also take issue with the referee’s suggestion that Shane denied a goal-scoring opportunity as the player was going away from the goal.
From the dugout, there appeared to be minimal contact if any and I didn’t think it was a free-kick,” he added.
As it stands at the moment, McEleney faces an automatic one match ban which will rule him out of the visit of Shamrock Rovers to the Brandywell this Friday night and with Stewart Greacen still in rehab after a knee operation, Devine faces a defensive dilemma.
However, should Derry opt to appeal the decision, then McEleney would be free to play against Rovers but failure to have the referee’s decision overturned would prove costly, both financially and, indeed, in terms of the length of suspension imposed by the FAI’s Disciplinary Committee.
“I’m not sure how we will deal with the matter as these appeals can be hard to overturn I’ve been told,” continued Devine. “In fact, the only appeal I know that was overturned in the past was tabled by Bray Wanderers in their game against us, when keeper, Darren Quigley, was sent off. That was a case of mistaken identity, so I’m not sure what the club will do in Shane’s case.
“From my own personal point of view, I want to see us appeal the red card but before that I think it’s very important that we take advice on the matter and, of course, view the television evidence.”
If Derry decide not to appeal, Devine pointed to the use of his first team squad adding that McEleney missed out on the Cork City match due to suspension.
“If the club decides not to appeal, then Dermot McCaffrey is now fully fit and he’s placed in the centre of defence in the past. We can also look to the younger lads and bring someone forward, so we do have options.”
Another option to cover for McEleney would be moving Barry Molloy into the back four, a position he has excelled in the past.
However, Devine confirmed that his midfield general sustained heavy bruising to his ankle against Dundalk and has been receiving around the clock treatment in an effort to be fit for Friday’s game.
“Barry has a badly bruised ankle and it’s causing us some concern,” continued Devine. “So it’s a case of wait and see at this stage.”
Looking back to the Dundallk win and the controversial penalties issue, Devine said there was “no controversy whatsoever” and that both incidents were stonewall awards.
“I would have been very angry had the referee not awarded both.
They were stonewall decisions and I’ve no doubt about that. I could even suggest that we should have been awarded another penalty during the latter latter stages of the match when Simon Madden was clattered by Dane Massey, yet the referee awarded a free-kick despite the fact that the incident was clearly inside the box.”
Delighted at his hugely impressive start to the season, Devine refuses to take anything for granted.
“Sligo Rovers lead the way and in their next three matches they will face Drogheda, Shamrock Rovers and St. Pat’s before they play us again for the start of the second phase of games.
“We face Shamrock Rovers, St. Pat’s and Limerick, so those fixtures will not be easy either and I do expect to see a few surprise results as the season continues.
“For us it’s always one match at a time and while we’ve got ourselves into a very good position, we can take absolutely nothing for granted,” concluded the Derry boss.