Bohemians boss Declan Devine glad to see back of Derry City for season!

​​Bohemians boss Declan Devine admitted he’s glad to see the back of Derry City for a season after Friday's 2-2 draw left both clubs with work to do in the Premier Division title race.
Ruaidhri Higgins and Declan Devine. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2315GS – 99Ruaidhri Higgins and Declan Devine. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2315GS – 99
Ruaidhri Higgins and Declan Devine. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2315GS – 99

A night of high drama on and off the pitch began with a 45 minute kick-off delay after floodlight failure but when the action got underway it was worth the wait as Derry fought back from James Clarke's opener thanks to goals from Michael Duffy and Danny Mullen's first for the club, only to be then pegged back by a second half Jonathan Afolabi penalty.

It was breathless stuff and leaves the two challengers with identical records against each other after four meetings and former Candy Stripe boss Devine admitted he's not sorry he won't be facing Ruaidhri Higgins' team again this season.

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"I think had anyone lost tonight then you were really in a dark place but, look, there are a lot of points still to play for and everyone has to play each other," explained Devine, "I'm glad to see the back of Derry to be honest because the games we’ve played have been nip and tuck, there’s been very little in it.

"We beat Derry and drew at the Brandywell; they beat us here and drew so if that is the barometer then it is big steps from us. We'll continue to try to get better and we feel we still have a few gears to go through between now and the end of the season.

"Full credit to Derry and their fans, it was a fantastic spectacle. Our fans were brilliant and it was a real good advertisement for League of Ireland football."

The Bohs boss said both teams had chances to win and paid tribute to his keeper James Talbot for a number of crucial stops.

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"They are two really good teams, teams that set up the right way," he added, "The attacking options both teams have is credit to the two clubs.

"We felt we could have been out of sight in the first 20 minutes and then Derry, with the players that they have, caused us huge problems and found themselves 2-1. But my guys have fantastic spirt and have come from behind so many times this year.

"We got ourselves back to 2-2 and both teams went for it. That’s been the case right throughout our season, we try to win the game.

"We needed our goalkeeper but Brian Maher has also had to do well for Derry. It would have been easy for this fixture to fall into a nothing game after the delay and how late it started but it was far from that. Credit to 'Higgs' and his staff and credit to my players as well, they had a right good go."

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The result sees Bohs and Derry slip seven points behind Shamrock Rovers with Devine's team travelling to Tallaght next on another weekend where the top six meet each other.

"Those are the games you want, and we go there with confidence. We are on a good run, we are playing well, we have good players but they are the benchmark. They are going for four in a row.

"We will dust ourselves down, go there and have a real go ourselves but we know it’s going to be really difficult.

"This could go to the last week of the season," he added, "Nobody can predict it. Even with the length of time I’ve been in this league, I've never seen a tighter league. You have had Derry and Shels over the years; Derry and Cork, Cork and Dundalk, Rovers and Cork, Rovers and Dundalk - now you have four or five teams and that's full credit to the league."