AARON BARRY takes great pride in keeping clean sheets and so Derry City’s recent 5-0 thrashing by Dundalk at Brandywell didn’t go down too well with the dependable centre half!
The City defender admits he was ‘hurt’ by the result as the club’s ‘goals against’ column - which was joint third best in the league - stretched from 12 to 17 after just 90 minutes on a night to forget for the Candy Stripes.
The pivotal moment in the match was the first half sending off of his defensive partner, Ryan McBride for a late tackle on Stephen O’Donnell - a decision he felt was harsh.
He reckons his central defensive partnership with McBride is one of the best in the country and so the absence of the Brandywell native will be a big loss for Friday’s home clash against Longford Town.
And while Barry says he won’t forget that Dundalk loss in a hurry, he’s promised to learn from the mistakes and get back on the winning trail against the league’s bottom club this weekend.
“Obviously losing 5-0 against Dundalk, it was tough not to let the heads drop and with the game not being on for another week it’s tough,” said the Arklow native.
We take a lot of pride in our goals against record and so a defeat like that really hurts you.Aaron Barry
“So not that it’s forgotten about - it’s still on the back of our minds and it hurts - but we’re trying to get over it as quickly as we can and concentrate on the next league game which is Longford at home.”
European qualification is the target for the club this season and Barry insists another FAI Cup Final in November is high on his personal agenda for the campaign as he looks to ‘make amends’ for the 2-0 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic at the Aviva Stadium two years ago.
“It’s only one game,” he added. “I know it was kind of a ‘six pointer’ in terms of us trying to challenge for the league but it’s only three points gone.If we beat Longford then we’re back on track again for the European spot.”
Derry have been traditionally slow starters after the midseason break and while they got up and running with a 1-0 win over Wexford Youths at the end of June, their performances in the last two games haven’t reached the standard set before the three week hiatus.
“The Wexford game, we weren’t at our best whereas the first 15 minutes of the Dundalk game we were ropey and the two set-pieces killed us before the sending off finished the game. Dundalk are a strong unit with 11 men never mind against 10. Ryan will be a big loss against Longford,” he continued. “I think his tackle in the Dundalk game was just late. I was telling the referee that he wasn’t the last man because I thought that’s what he got the red for originally. Then the ref said he was too high and too late. If that’s what the ref thinks then fair enough.
“It was a late enough tackle but I’m not sure if it’s a sending off.”
The former Sheffield United defender has been a mainstay in the Derry side since arriving in February 2014 and he feels his defensive relationship with McBride is improving all the time.
“Since I’ve come to Derry I’ve played 90 per cent of the games. The more experience you have playing together the better partnership you have.
“I think we are one of the best centre half partnerships in the league,” he insisted. “That’s why losing 5-0 was hard to take as we take a lot of pride in our goals against record and it really hurts you.”
Barry admits he had hoped for more success on Foyleside than he’s experienced in the past two seasons as he played under FOUR different Derry City managers. But he remains confident Derry can challenge on three fronts this season as they remain well positioned in the race for Europe and are still in both cup competitions.
“I’ve had quite a few manages in a short space of time but thankfully I’ve managed to keep my head down and played my game and tried to develop as much as I can.
“Obviously I haven’t had the success I would have wanted since I’ve come in but hopefully with the way things are going under Kenny (Shiels), it would be nice to get a bit of cup success and a European spot this year.
If we could do that it would be a very good year. We’re realistically challenging for Europe. We’re in the semi-final of the League Cup against Limerick which is winnable and we’re looking forward to that. And we’re still in the FAI Cup which is a big one for me.
“I’d really like to do well in that and get back to the Aviva. It’s a long way away but it always seems the biggest match in the country every year so it would be great to get a good run in that. We never really got going against St Pat’s. It was a drab game and I would really love to get back and make amends for that.”