Brendan Barr's full senior Derry City debut has instilled belief

BRENDAN BARR reckons his impressive full debut against champions Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday night will give him belief as he enjoys his breakthrough season at Derry City.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 5:53 pm
Brendan Barr holds off the challenge of Liam Scales during the defeat to Shamrock Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore

The 20 year-old Newtown native has been in and around the Derry first team for the past three seasons but last Friday night he was handed his first senior appearance in the 2-0 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.

With Derry down to 10 men Robbie Benson had just put St Pat’s ahead when Barr was introduced to the fray just after the hour mark. It was a commendable performance in a game which was destroyed by the sending off so early in the game.

The midfielder obviously did enough to warrant a surprise start against Rovers at Brandywell four days later, finding himself up against the likes of Danny Mandroui and Graham Burke. Playing predominantly in the No.10 role, Barr, alongside fellow Donegal youngster, Ronan Boyce, was one of the stand-out performances in a Derry shirt.

He was grateful to Devine for having faith in him and he hopes he can remain in contention for the visit of Drogheda United to Brandywell tonight.

“To be fair I was buzzing to get on from the start and I have to thank the gaffer for throwing me in there for such a hard game against the champions,” he said.

“We are all disappointed in there but on a personal note, hopefully that performance will give me some belief going into the next game on Friday.”

Was he surprised to see his name in the starting line-up prior to kick-off?

“I’ve been working hard all preseason and have been doing well so fair play to the gaffer for throwing me in there. Hopefully I can kick on now and be in the team on Friday night and help get the result we need. I definitely feel like I’m involved and very much part of the first team now which is great.”

Barr has been biding his time having trained with the first team for quite some time now and while his two appearances so far have ended in defeat, he’s confident Derry will learn from mistakes and bounce back.

“I think that was my third preseason with the first team and I’ve been biding my time and learning off everybody everyday and I’m just happy to be out there. It is just my third season now with preseason with the first team so I think I’ve learned a lot from some of the senior pros.

“I thought we created some great chances against Rovers and played well for large parts of the game. That second goal (Burke) was just quality there wasn’t much you can do about that. That’s what happens when you’re playing against the best players in the league.”

Barr, Boyce (18), Caolan McLaughlin (19), Patrick Ferry (18) and Caoimhin Porter (19) were all involved in the game against the Hoops on Tuesday and Devine has been encouraged by the performances and attitudes from the younger members of his squad despite the poor run of results.

“I thought Brendan (Barr) and Ronan Boyce were our best two players,” said Devine. “I thought they were excellent and showed real bravery. Their full debuts against Shamrock Rovers - the champions who haven’t lost a game since September 2019. I thought it was two magnificent performances but ultimately we’ve lost the game and people won’t remember how well they’ve played. From my point of view I was delighted for both of them.”