Derry City defender Ronan Boyce thrilled to grab late winner at Sligo Rovers

Derry City’s Ronan Boyce was modest in his assessment of his stunning late winner against Sligo Rovers on Saturday night.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 6:05 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 6:08 pm
Derry City's Ronan Boyce.
Derry City's Ronan Boyce.

The Ramelton man, who signed a new three and a half year deal with the Candy Stripes in May, made no mistake with a superb volley after bursting into the box in the closing stages.

“It’s fallen nicely to me in the box so I took a touch, then just hit it and I’m glad it went in,” insisted the full-back.

“It’s a big three points. Coming to Sligo it was always going to be tough but we are in a good form. They probably weren’t in the best form but it’s always tough coming here, no matter what time of the season and tonight was no different.

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“We would have been disappointed with the draw because that’s the mentality that Ruaidhri (Higgins) has installed. We keep going right until the end, that’s what we always do and thankfully we managed to get the three points because three points is a must every time we play.”

The 20-year-old, who has netted an impressive six goals this season to leave him the club’s joint top scorer alongside Will Patching, is already looking forward to this Friday’s FAI Cup derby against Finn Harps, a tie which may see some Donegal based family members become City supporters for the night.

“It’s another big derby for us. Harps are flying and got a brilliant result against St Pat’s on Friday night, winning 3-1, so it’s going to be another tough game,” he added.

“Look, it’s a cup tie and a derby rolled into one but bring it on. I know most of the Harps players and some of my family and friends are big Harps fans but, listen, we’ll do our best to try and get through to the next round. As I said, it’s going to be very tough.

“I’ll be aiming to disappoint some of my friends and family but some of them might just become a red and white fan for the one night. Well maybe, we’ll see how it goes!”

Since breaking into the Brandywell men’s starting line-up last season Boyce hasn’t looked back and his versatility has seen him deployed as a full-back, right-sided centre-back in a three or as a right wing-back, something which doesn’t bother him.

“I’m enjoying things and I’m just happy to be in the team. Wherever Ruaidhri puts me in then I’ll do my best to do a job for him and that’s all I can do,” he explained.

“Once I do get into the team then it’s up to me to give him no reason to put me out and that’s all I can do.”

The young defender made his senior debut for the club against Cork City in 2019 and admits that as much as he’s enjoying scoring goals, he prefers to play his part in keeping clean-sheets.

“You want to keep clean-sheets as a defender and I probably would have taken a 1-0 but, listen, what can you do? We conceded but thankfully we got the win so we’ll take that,” he added.

“It’s always important how you react to conceding any goal and in the first half we were slow getting going but in the second half we were braver. We just kept going until we got the winner.”

Boyce also conceded that boss Ruaidhri Higgins calmed the City players down at the break and told them to simply go out in the second half at the Showgrounds and get back to ‘playing football’.

“The first 10 minutes we were very good and got the goal but then we kind of sat off Sligo a bit and didn’t get up to the tempo that we had in the opening 10 minutes. They got back into the game and equalised before half-time, but Ruaidhri got us in at half-time, calmed us down and told us to get our football going again in the second half,” he confirmed.

“That’s what we needed to do, to just calm things down again and get back to passing the ball properly again as we had in the opening 10 minutes. It was simple as that because football is a simple game once you pass the ball well.”