THE mood of Derry City supporters departing Brandywell Stadium, sometimes tells one all one needs to know in relation to how the game had gone.
For me, just one word described the mood of Friday night’s attendance, electric!
Even after the game finished, that special buzz remained around the Lone Moor Road stadium, a feeling I personally haven’t felt since the club’s magnificent European adventure back in 2006.
Obviously, so much of that goes down to the game itself and the end result, but I felt there was more to it than that.
Indeed, everyone connected with the club from the players right through to the Derry fans themselves, had only one thing in mind before the game kicked-off – to record a victory of the current champions and current leaders of the Premier Division.
And those determined thoughts had been fashioned by the shameful attack on Derry City’s good name from certain quarters associated with Tallaght Stadium during last week.
Claims that Rovers supporters did not feel safe when travelling to Brandywell by coach disgusted local supporters who rightly consider themselves the best behaved fans in the League of Ireland.
And I felt those very fans retaliated by vociferously supporting the “Candy Striped” heroes throughout the 90 minutes.
With both teams attempting to get the measure of each other during the opening half, Derry will have felt disappointed at the break as Stephen Kenny’s men deserved to be at least one goal to the good.
But once Danny Lafferty’s free-kick had been helped into the net by Rovers’ keeper, Alan Mannus, the RTE viewers were treated to a pulsating final 37 minutes of play.
During the final 15 minutes, with Derry experiencing a near-Alamo type siege, the home side held out with young Ryan McBride stepping up to the mark while keeper, Gerard Doherty, certainly playing his part.
In fact I was told by an FAI delegate after the game that Gerard should be made a “freeman of the city” following his incredible display and while I can’t arrange that, I will do all in my power to make him a “freeman of Creggan Estate!”
Several players stood out on the night but this was very much a solid and committed team performance and we would dearly like to experience further nights like these.