Derry City manager Declan Devine praised his team for the way in which they secured a draw with Airtricity Premier Division champions Shamrock Rovers in the Tallaght Stadium on Friday.
It was the third time in 11 days that the Candy Stripes took on Stephen Kenny’s team but it was perhaps the most remarkable of three encounters as Derry ‘keeper Gerard Doherty saved a penalty, Patrick McEleney was sent-off and with seven minutes to go David McDaid equalised.
Devine told the Sunday Journal that the share of the spoils was an indicator of just how hard his players have been working in recent weeks.
“To go to Tallaght and come away with a result with 11 men is great but to do it with 10 men is just fantastic.
“When we beat Shamrock Rovers 3-0 in the Tallaght Stadium recently some said that the only reason it happened was because Rovers had a man sent-off but we had Patrick McEleney sent-off and we came away with a result.
“The players have been working so hard recently and I think they did themselves proud on Friday.”
Devine went on to say that although he was without the services of some of his key players he was delighted with how some of the older players came to the fore against Rovers.
“Obviously, our injuries are well-known and we had a few reserve players in the team on Friday night but the experienced players we had in the team really delivered. We had experience in all of the right players and they did the team proud.”
David McDaid’s second half strike was enough to make sure that the Candy Stripes came away with a point. Devine’s men are now nine points behind league leaders Sligo Rovers.
“David McDaid has been outstanding for Derry this season,” said Devine.
“The one thing that you are guaranteed when David plays is an outburst of energy and aggression. He’s been playing some good stuff this year and I think that he really deserved his goal.”
Devine described the last few weeks as a “tough period” but said that Derry City could start to climb the table if the players continue to improve and some of the long term injured start to return.
“I think that when we are at full strength we are more than capable of challenging anyone but we need to keep improving.
“Dermot McCaffrey performed well against Rovers on Friday night and I think that he’s getting better with every performance. I told him that after the game. I think he’s starting to show what he can do.”
Mark Farren limped off during the first half after straining his hamstring and was replaced with Ryan Curran.
Devine said that he will know the true extent of the Donegal man’s injury at the beginning of next week.
“Mark hasn’t been 100 per cent all week but I asked him to play. The squad is depleted so I needed him to play but fair play to Mark he gave his all. Hopefully his injury is not too bad.”