Derry City: Let’s now look to Cork

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Derry City goalscorer Mark Stewart is congratulated by teammates'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Derry City goalscorer Mark Stewart is congratulated by teammates'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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VERY FEW Derry City supporters would have accurately predicted the Brandywell club’s starting line-up on Sunday, so imagine the look on the Shamrock Rovers’ management team when they read the “Candy Stripes” sheet.

In short, it was Roddy Collins at his absolute best!

Out goes last season’s leading hitman, Rory Patterson; no place for the technically gifted Patrick McEleney in the “No. 10” role, while Aaron Barry operated at left-back and not wide on the flank, with Dean Jarvis on the bench!

Collins, in his wisdom, opted for youngsters, Michael Duffy on the left with Enda Curran ploughing a lonely furrow in the front line with Shane McEleney deployed in front of holding midfielders, Barry Molloy and Danny Ventre who provided total protection for the Derry City back four.

Result?

Not only were Rovers caught out on the team-sheet front, but Collins had declared that the match would descend into a dogfight and the tactics he deployed were always going to guarantee that.

Full credit, therefore, to the Derry boss for not only his attention to detail, but for his reading of the opposition and how to disrupt their own game-plan.

“I think they scored 18 goals in their pre-season games,” he declared.

“They netted five against Drogheda and five against Glentoran in the Setanta Cup, so we’ve got to get realistic here. I’m still learning about my players and they are still learning about me,” he claimed.

“Every game we play represents a new challenge and as we continually monitor the opposition, the opposition will constantly monitor us.

“And I would also envisage changes in personnel, depending on the opposition. In fact, Cork City will visit the Brandywell next Sunday.

“It’s our first game at home, so that could force changes and the fact that it’s also a match which we will wish to dominate, could also see others come in.

“I would even suggest that it will take maybe 10 games for me to fully understand the capability of my playing staff.”

Delighted with the effort put in against Rovers, Collins again heaped praise on his playing staff.

“I have no complaints whatsoever. Every one of them, to a fault, gave me the effort I had asked for.

“As I’ve always said, I will use 14 players in every game - not just 11 - it’s a squad thing and it will always be that for me and the three subs were brought on against Rovers as we attempted to push on and win the game,” he insisted.

“We nicked the lead and it was time for Patrick (McEleney) to help ease the pressure on us by carrying the ball from defence with Rory (Patterson) the new target man up front, holding things up for us.

“I actually turned to Marty McCann in the dugout and said that the game would either finish 1-1 or 2-0, as I felt we could hit them on the break.

“Rory had a chance to finish it, he did everything right but was unlucky and then they netted a loose header with two minutes remaining.

“Disappointed, of course we were, but I do view the 1-1 as a fair result in the end given the chances Rovers created.

“Gerard (Doherty) pulled off a couple of good saves for us so, in the end, a draw was probably a fair result and if I’m to be honest, that’s what we had planned for in the first place. Anything more than that would have been a bonus,” maintained Collins.

Operating a 4-2-3-1 system Derry stifled the Rovers midfield and it was clear that Collins’ game-plan was working a treat as the ‘Foylesiders’ kept the Rovers faithful quiet on the sidelines.

And while the Derry back four opted for a dogged no-nonsense defensive approach, Messrs. Molloy and Ventre and, indeed, Shane McEleney, bossed the vital area.

Hard to watch with very little fluent football on offer and with scoring chances at a premium, half-time arrived with the scoresheet blank and, for Collins, it was always going to be a case of “more of the same” after the break.

And within three minutes of the re-start Derry’s persistence was rewarded albeit in fortuitous fashion.

Barry Molloy fed the ball out to Mark STEWART on the right and when the Scot’s high, swirling cross-cum-shot floated into the danger area, Rovers’ keeper, Barry Murphy, appeared to have been caught out, the ball dropping into the net behind him and the small band of travelling “Candy Striped” fans made themselves heard.

Now attempting to protect a lead, the visitors appeared galvanised and resolute, but the goal forced changes in the home dugout.

Highly experienced midfielder, Stephen McPhail entered the fray, eventually followed by experienced defender, Jason McGuinness with Ronan Finn also called upon with 12 minutes remaining.

Collins also played his hand with a double substitution. Shane McEleney called ashore at the expense of younger brother Patrick with the hard-working Enda Curran replaced by Patterson.

McPhail dragged a great opportunuity wide of the target post while Patterson was presented with a superb chance to end the game as a contest as the game entered extra-time. The Strabane man doing well to loop the ball over his marker but he failed to get the necessary power into shot and Murphy parried the ball and gathered it.

With an amazing six minutes of additional time ordered by referee, Paul McLaughlin, Derry dug in, but Rovers got that vital break in the 94th minute.

Ryan Brennan crossed the ball back into the danger area from the right and up rose Ciaran Kilduff, the striker’s looping header dropping inside the Derry upright and Rovers had battled their way out of jail.

With Derry players clearly disappointed not to have held out, Collins had no problems.

“The lads were fine in the dressing room. The priority had been to take something from the game and while I would have been delighted with a cleansheet, you hve to take the positives.

“Rovers players were celebrating with the draw.”

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Murphy; Cornwall, Kenna, O’Connor (McGuinness), 64) L. Byrne; McCabe (Finn, 78), Bayly (McPhail, 53), Brennan, Waters; Zayed, Kilduff.

Subs. not used: Craig, Sheppard, Kelly, S. O’Connor.

DERRY CITY - Gerard Doherty; Roddy Collins jnr., Cliff Byrne, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry; Barry Molloy, Danny Ventre; Mark Stewart, Shane McEleney (Patrick McEleney, 57), Michael Duffy (Ryan Curran, 89); Enda Curran (Rory Patterson, 57).

Subs. not used: David Elebert, Dean Jarvis, Ramond Foy and Michael Lynch.

REFEREE - Mr. Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).

In short, it was Roddy Collins at his absolute best!

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Shamrock Rovers' Kieran Waters with Ryan McBride of Derry City'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Shamrock Rovers' Kieran Waters with Ryan McBride of Derry City'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Out goes last season’s leading hitman, Rory Patterson; no place for the technically gifted Patrick McEleney in the “No. 10” role, while Aaron Barry operated at left-back and not wide on the flank, with Dean Jarvis on the bench!

Collins, in his wisdom, opted for youngsters, Michael Duffy on the left with Enda Curran ploughing a lonely furrow in the front line with Shane McEleney deployed in front of holding midfielders, Barry Molloy and Danny Ventre who provided total protection for the Derry City back four.

Result?

Not only were Rovers caught out on the team-sheet front, but Collins had declared that the match would descend into a dogfight and the tactics he deployed were always going to guarantee that.

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Shamrock Rovers' Robert Bayly with Ryan McBride of Derry City'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 9/3/2014'Shamrock Rovers vs Derry City'Shamrock Rovers' Robert Bayly with Ryan McBride of Derry City'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Full credit, therefore, to the Derry boss for not only his attention to detail, but for his reading of the opposition and how to disrupt their own game-plan.

“I think they scored 18 goals in their pre-season games,” he declared.

“They netted five against Drogheda and five against Glentoran in the Setanta Cup, so we’ve got to get realistic here. I’m still learning about my players and they are still learning about me,” he claimed.

“Every game we play represents a new challenge and as we continually monitor the opposition, the opposition will constantly monitor us.

“And I would also envisage changes in personnel, depending on the opposition. In fact, Cork City will visit the Brandywell next Sunday.

“It’s our first game at home, so that could force changes and the fact that it’s also a match which we will wish to dominate, could also see others come in.

“I would even suggest that it will take maybe 10 games for me to fully understand the capability of my playing staff.”

Delighted with the effort put in against Rovers, Collins again heaped praise on his playing staff.

“I have no complaints whatsoever. Every one of them, to a fault, gave me the effort I had asked for.

“As I’ve always said, I will use 14 players in every game - not just 11 - it’s a squad thing and it will always be that for me and the three subs were brought on against Rovers as we attempted to push on and win the game,” he insisted.

“We nicked the lead and it was time for Patrick (McEleney) to help ease the pressure on us by carrying the ball from defence with Rory (Patterson) the new target man up front, holding things up for us.

“I actually turned to Marty McCann in the dugout and said that the game would either finish 1-1 or 2-0, as I felt we could hit them on the break.

“Rory had a chance to finish it, he did everything right but was unlucky and then they netted a loose header with two minutes remaining.

“Disappointed, of course we were, but I do view the 1-1 as a fair result in the end given the chances Rovers created.

“Gerard (Doherty) pulled off a couple of good saves for us so, in the end, a draw was probably a fair result and if I’m to be honest, that’s what we had planned for in the first place. Anything more than that would have been a bonus,” maintained Collins.

Operating a 4-2-3-1 system Derry stifled the Rovers midfield and it was clear that Collins’ game-plan was working a treat as the ‘Foylesiders’ kept the Rovers faithful quiet on the sidelines.

And while the Derry back four opted for a dogged no-nonsense defensive approach, Messrs. Molloy and Ventre and, indeed, Shane McEleney, bossed the vital area.

Hard to watch with very little fluent football on offer and with scoring chances at a premium, half-time arrived with the scoresheet blank and, for Collins, it was always going to be a case of “more of the same” after the break.

And within three minutes of the re-start Derry’s persistence was rewarded albeit in fortuitous fashion.

Barry Molloy fed the ball out to Mark STEWART on the right and when the Scot’s high, swirling cross-cum-shot floated into the danger area, Rovers’ keeper, Barry Murphy, appeared to have been caught out, the ball dropping into the net behind him and the small band of travelling “Candy Striped” fans made themselves heard.

Now attempting to protect a lead, the visitors appeared galvanised and resolute, but the goal forced changes in the home dugout.

Highly experienced midfielder, Stephen McPhail entered the fray, eventually followed by experienced defender, Jason McGuinness with Ronan Finn also called upon with 12 minutes remaining.

Collins also played his hand with a double substitution. Shane McEleney called ashore at the expense of younger brother Patrick with the hard-working Enda Curran replaced by Patterson.

McPhail dragged a great opportunuity wide of the target post while Patterson was presented with a superb chance to end the game as a contest as the game entered extra-time. The Strabane man doing well to loop the ball over his marker but he failed to get the necessary power into shot and Murphy parried the ball and gathered it.

With an amazing six minutes of additional time ordered by referee, Paul McLaughlin, Derry dug in, but Rovers got that vital break in the 94th minute.

Ryan Brennan crossed the ball back into the danger area from the right and up rose Ciaran Kilduff, the striker’s looping header dropping inside the Derry upright and Rovers had battled their way out of jail.

With Derry players clearly disappointed not to have held out, Collins had no problems.

“The lads were fine in the dressing room. The priority had been to take something from the game and while I would have been delighted with a cleansheet, you hve to take the positives.

“Rovers players were celebrating with the draw.”

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Murphy; Cornwall, Kenna, O’Connor (McGuinness), 64) L. Byrne; McCabe (Finn, 78), Bayly (McPhail, 53), Brennan, Waters; Zayed, Kilduff.

Subs. not used: Craig, Sheppard, Kelly, S. O’Connor.

DERRY CITY - Gerard Doherty; Roddy Collins jnr., Cliff Byrne, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry; Barry Molloy, Danny Ventre; Mark Stewart, Shane McEleney (Patrick McEleney, 57), Michael Duffy (Ryan Curran, 89); Enda Curran (Rory Patterson, 57).

Subs. not used: David Elebert, Dean Jarvis, Ramond Foy and Michael Lynch.

REFEREE - Mr. Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).