Derry City captain Kevin Deery said that the Candy Stripes deserved their 2-0 victory over Dundalk FC at the Brandywell on Friday evening.
It was Stephen Kenny’s second win in a row after beating Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last weekend and Deery said that he believes there is more to come.
“We’ve played the best two teams in the league in Shamrock Rovers and Sligo [Rovers]. We drew with Shamrock Rovers and were unlucky to concede late on against Sligo but to be honest with you, I thought we were very good tonight,” Deery told the Sunday Journal after the game.
“We really put it up to Dundalk and no disrespect to them but they never really looked like the answer for us – I don’t think they expected us to play the kind of attacking football that Stephen told us to play. I think that if we play every match at the Brandywell like we did here tonight then you’ll see more results like tonight. We played the game at a high tempo and the crowd were really behind us – hopefully we’ll get our rewards.”
Derry won the game courtesy of two first half strikes from Gareth McGlynn and Eamon Zayed respectively. Derry’s goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and attackers all combined extremely well to ensure that Friday’s game against Dundalk was to be the first Premier Division victory at the Brandywell this season.
“Everyone played their part tonight and I think that the result is a sign of just how good the team performed,” said Deery. “Every team has the nights when three or four of the players are not playing their best and sometimes that can be the difference between a team winning and drawing a game.
“Thankfully, tonight was not one of those nights for us – the whole team played extremely well and I honestly believe that we thoroughly deserved all three points.
“We worked hard as a team tonight and sometimes that can be half the battle and thankfully it resulted in us scoring two goals in the first half.”
Deery missed all of Derry’s pre-season training schedule but has played in all of their last four games. Admirably, Deery modestly suggested that he is taking nothing for granted and added that as long as he is playing games he’ll continue to improve.
“I am four games in and I still think I can do better. I’ve been a bit sloppy in some of the things that I’ve done but it’s important to recognise these things and try to make sure that they don’t happen again. I’ve no doubt that with every game I get under my belt the better I’ll feel. I just want to keep seeing the team improve and build upon the belief within the team – we are coming along nicely.”
Deery added: “Once you win back to back games you can see how quickly you can climb up the table. We won against Bray last week and now obviously we’ve taken another three points here tonight. I’ve no doubt that we’ll continue to do well and I believe that we’ll shock a few teams this season.”
The Derry City manager praised his side for the way in which they defeated Ian Fosters’ Dundalk and suggested that the victory might have been his side’s best performance of the season so far.
“It was a good night for us – especially when you consider just how talented and capable Dundalk are,” said Kenny after the game. “They’ve beaten Linfield and Glentoran recently so for us to go and win in the manner that we did shows just how well we played tonight.”
Kenny was able to welcome back Patrick McEleney after his three game FAI ban was lifted against Dundalk. Friday’s game also saw the continued resurgence of players like Kevin Deery, Ruaidhri Higgins and James McClean.
“I think you saw the real semblance of a team out there tonight. To be fair some of the players weren’t able to play in the opening few games because they were injured. I am delighted to see players like Kevin Deery, Ruaidhri Higgins, James McClean and Patrick McEleney all back playing. I think people were able to see the team’s potential and I was really pleased with that.”
Kenny went on to lavish praise upon midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins for his performance against Dundalk. The 39-year-old Dubliner claimed that some people had doubted his reasons for bringing Higgins back to Derry this season and said that the Limavady man’s performance on Friday was one of his best to date.
“A lot of people asked me why I signed Ruaidhri Higgins again. Some people think Ruaidhri is great while others are not so hot on him. I think tonight showed just how talented a player Ruaidhri Higgins is – he totally controlled the game, he was brilliant in midfield and his accuracy and intelligence of passing was top notch. Ruaidhri Higgins is a big asset to Derry City - I realise it and the other players realise it.”