Aaron McEneff hits out at 'disrespectful' and 'personal' abuse from Derry City fans

Shamrock Rovers midfielder, Aaron McEneff applauds the Hoops support at Brandywell.
Shamrock Rovers midfielder, Aaron McEneff applauds the Hoops support at Brandywell.

AARON McEneff has hit out at ‘disrespectful comments’ directed at him from a minority of Derry City fans during Friday night’s clash with Shamrock Rovers at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

The Derry native, who spent three-and-a-half seasons at his hometown club returned to the city for the first time as a Shamrock Rovers player as the Dubliners clinched a 1-0 victory thanks to Aaron Greene’s 43rd minute goal which made it eight wins on the bounce for Stephen Bradley’s troops for the first time since 1987!

He certainly wasn’t flavour of the month after his ‘Panenka’ penalty and passionate celebrations in Tallaght earlier in the season made him public enemy No.1 with some City supporters.

The midfielder, who has netted five goals already for the league leading Hoops, was subjected to a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball on Friday night.

McEneff insisted it wasn’t those jeers and ‘football banter’ which got under his skin but the ‘personal’ abuse from a small section of the boisterous Candy Stripes support he felt over stepped the mark.

“It was strange coming back,” admitted the former Spurs youth after the match. “I don’t mind all the football banter. I don’t mind all that from the fans. But there was a few things said that was a bit personal and I think it’s very disrespectful.

“I’m not going to comment on what was said from a minority of the fans but there was a few disrespectful comments made and I wasn’t very happy about it. Most of it was just football banter I’m sure and you have to come and you have to take it because it’s a professional game.”

The Cornshell man, whose father hails from Dublin, was impressed by Declan Devine’s Candy Stripes and reckons they’ve improved significantly since the 2-0 loss in Tallaght earlier in the season.

“I think they have (improved),” he said. “They were basically a full new team and it was always going to take time to gel together but they seem to be coming on nicely. They were on a good run before tonight but fair play for what the lads are doing and I hope they continue to have a good season.”

As runaway league leaders at this early stage, there will always be a target on Rovers’ backs and McEneff doesn’t expect it to get any easier as he chases the league title with his new club.

“Every game is going to be tough. You don’t get anything for nothing in this league. You have to work hard for it. There will be different types of games. There will be games when you dominate possession and games you have to dig in and that was one of those tonight when we had to dig deep and take our chance when it came.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming up here because Derry are on a good run as well,” he said. “I know from playing here it’s not an easy place for any team to come up and get three points.

“So we knew it was going to be a tough task. We came up and had a gameplan and at times Derry did make it difficult. You’re going to get games like that in this league. Teams won’t make it easy for you and sometimes you have to dig in

“I thought the back four were excellent tonight. They defender and limited Derry to very few threatening shots. We were limited to chances too but when we got our chance we took it. It was important to get the three points.

“There was a big build-up to the game which is great for the city and great for the place. Decky (Devine) has come in and has done a great job. I spoke to him after and the management team are doing a great job. I’ve still got mates in that team and fair play to them. I hope they continue to do well.

“It’s a professional game. I came here to try and get three points and that was the most important thing.

“The fans weren’t great to me tonight but they came out in their numbers for Derry and fair play to the Rovers fans who travelled well again tonight,” concluded the midfield man