BRANDYWELL boss, Roddy Collins, was delighted to get a ‘behind closed doors’ practise match organised against a Finn Harps Select yesterday afternoon.
And while the end result was not the major concern, Collins was delighted to field probably his strongest team to date and, indeed, the vast majority of yesterday’s starting line-up would be expected to line-out in Tallaght Stadium on March 7th.
Mark Stewart broke the deadlock after just 20 seconds of the kick-off before Finn Harps centre-back, Shaun McGowan, netted an own goal to double Derry’s lead midway through the first half.
Rory Patterson then missed a penalty, when crashing his effort off the upright before the Strabane man made it 3-0 with a quality finish. In fact, the club’s top hitman could so easily have netted a hat-trick during his time on the pitch.
After the change of ends the home side saw significant changes with so many of Derry’s experienced new faces substituted and replaced by the young players who will continue to compete for their places over the new season.
But it didn’t get any easier for a youthful Finn Harps when Michael Duffy combined well with Patrick McEleney who made it 4-0 after the break when he produced another fine finish.
Harps, however, continued to battle their way back into the game and they netted two goals before the end to place respectability on the eventual scoreline.
For Collins it had been another successful workout and he heaped praise on his staff for their efforts suggesting that he felt he was very close to identifying his first starting XI for the opening match against Shamrock Rovers.
“I’d like to express our sincere thanks to Ollie Horgan and Finn Harps for facilitating our request at short notice for the practise match,” he said.
“Obviously, the scoreline meant nothing but it was good to get the lads playing together again as the gelling process continues.
“We scored some fine goals, we probably could have scored a few more than we did, but we did produce some decent passages of play which was good.
“Overall, I was very happy with the workout,” concluded the Dubiner.