DERRY City boss, Roddy Collins defended his team selection and defiantly claimed his side’s defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Brandywell tonight was their ‘best performance of the season’.
A youthful ‘Candy Stripes’ outfit fell to a first defeat in six games as Gary McCabe’s long range strike late in the first half proved enough to see off the challenge of the home side who were without the suspended Rory Patterson and the injured Patrick McEleney.
Danny Ventre, Mark Stewart and Michael Duffy were among those who started on the bench while youngsters, Tony McNamee, Cormac Burke and Nathan Boyle were all handed their first league start of the season in a team dramatically changed from the one which held Bohemians to a 1-1 draw at Dalymount the previous week.
While Barry McNamee and Enda Curran had arguably the best chances of the first half, Derry lacked a cutting edge in the second period and Rovers comfortably held on to their slender advantage as Derry’s challenge fizzled out.
However, Derry boss, Collins was happy with his side’s display against a team which moved into second place with the win and one vying for the league title this season.
“That was our best performance of the season so far, without a doubt,” said Collins. “All we were short of was a goal.
“You’ll not get many chances against Shamrock Rovers but we got a couple in the first half and if we had of popped one of them in it would have been a different game.
“I thought we kept the ball well but lacked a bit of cutting edge and experience.
“We’ve defended really well and they got one shot on goal in the whole game and one at the end that went over the bar.
“But other than that, they never really troubled us. They never put more than five passes against us the whole match and that’s a Shamrock Rovers team supposedly going to win the league.
“So it’s disappointing we didn’t score but when you look at all our performances this season, that was our best.”