Derry City manager Declan Devine described his side’s defeat to Shelbourne at the Brandywell on Friday as a “sad end to a positive couple of weeks”.
A defensive error by centre-back Shane McEleney ended up costing the Candy Stripes a share of the spoils when he allowed Philip Hughes in to score in the second half.
Devine said after the game that he had hoped to enter the two week break with Derry’s winning form intact but although he was disappointed with the result he has every intention of returning to winning ways when Derry take on Cork City at Turner’s Cross on Friday June 22.
“A defensive mistake meant that we gave away a soft goal and as I said to the players tonight we have to make it difficult for teams to come here [Brandywell] and score against us.
“If we don’t do that then we give ourselves an uphill task and it proved fatal tonight. We defended well for most of the game but a minute of madness has meant that we lost the game,” said Devine.
“We had a lot of decent possession and we moved the ball around quite well so I am disappointed that we didn’t create more goal scoring opportunities than we did. It’s a hurtful defeat as it’s one that I think we shouldn’t have lost.
“We played ok tonight without being very penetrative - it’s a sad end to what was a very positive couple of weeks.”
Shelbourne certainly created more clear-cut opportunities than Derry and it was an issue that Devine was lamenting after the game.
“We had one shot on target and I think we had two or three that went into the side netting or just over the crossbar. We also had five or six free-kicks that we didn’t hit the target from. Tonight was just pretty football without the end product.”
The 38 year-old Derry boss said that he will use the two week break in play to let the team recover and added that should some of those currently out injured return to action he believes that the team can mount a challenge for the league title.
“There are still plenty of games left. We have two of our three starting centre-backs who are missing tonight who should be coming back soon. I looked at our bench tonight and there were five players who have never started a game for this football yet and then I looked at Shelbourne’s bench and see that they have seven players with Premier Division experience. I think that this shows you just how many bodies we are down.
“We will remain positive because if we look at the league table we will see that the likes of Sligo Rovers, St. Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers are not too far ahead of us. We’ll hopefully see a few of our first team players return over the break. When we come back we’ll be refreshed and we’ll certainly be ready for our next match against Cork City in a few weeks time.
“I’d like to be challenging for a league title. Never say never. We are still a new team but I’d like to be challenging for a top three finish at the very least.”