DERRY City boss, Declan Devine, raced out to congratulate his playing staff after the final whistle in Tallaght, his walking wounded having plundered a precious point despite having been reduced to 10 men.
And he heaped praise on his troops when interviewed afterwards. “For such a young bunch of players with a mix of experience, I thought they showed tremendous courage to try and play, to keep our short game and our passing right.
“I’ve got to commend all the players for what they have brought to the table in terms of effort and commitment. And when you look at the team we had to put out, it’s nowhere near what I would class as our strongest side,” said Devine.
“These players have really put their bodies on the line over the last few weeks. Tonight we lost Mark Farren with a hamstring while Stephen McLaughlin and Kevin Deery didn’t play.
“Stewart Greacen didn’t play, Shane McEleney wasn’t fit to play and Mark Patterson wasn’t fit to play,” declared Devine.
“Add in the fact that Ruaidhri Higgins is playing his second game after having been out for four weeks and he hasn’t trained yet, so we are getting it tough at the minute.
“But to have reached an All-Ireland final at the start of the week and to come down here to Tallaght, be reduced to 10 men and fall a goal in arrears just after half-time and still show the character to be brave enough to pass the ball, I felt we got our reward in the end.
“We knew that Shamrock Rovers were going to have the lion’s share of possession when we saw the squad we arrived her with but I thought we were very brave. We defended as if our lives depended on it and, to be fair, we carried a little bit of luck as well which is what you need.
“I thrilled with the result and delighted for our players and supporters,” he concluded.
Missed so many clear-cut
For Rovers boss, Stephen Kenny, it was a case of wasting so many clear-cut scoring chances.
“It was symptomatic of our performances at home I think. We’ve absolutely blitzed teams in Tallaght this year winning 4-0, 6-0 and 3-1.
“We had just one tight game against Bohemians who packed their packed their defence but we eventually won 2-0. However, all the other games we won convincingly and our performance against Derry was very good, it was exceptional,” maintained the Dubliner.
“In the first half I thought we played really well. We missed a host of chances, got the goal and to be fair to Derry they kept going, they kept playing but we conceded from a setplay which is unforgivable really, a second-phase set-play.
“It was slack. We’ve brought two men over for a wall for a cross for some bizarre reason. We’ve left a spare man at the back who hooked it back across the goal.
“It was slack defending but the performance was exceptional, a really top performance, particularly in the first half. In the second half we played well too but didn’t take our chances.”