High on a list of Derry City positives from Friday’s controversial 2-0 defeat against Dundalk, was an impressive debut for Aaron McEneff.
The 20-years old Cornshell Fields lad was making his first Brandywell appearance since signing from Tottenham Hotspur at the end of July and while it wasn’t the result he was hoping for McEneff was delighted to finally don the Derry shirt.
“It was nice to get playing,” he explained, “I have been in now two or three weeks and everything has been positive since I’ve been here.
“Even the beginning of the game, we were very positive and then we had the sending off which sort of killed the game off but I thought the boys dug deep and stuck together for the most part of the game. We were unlucky to concede the two goals but we can look forward in a positive mind set.”
McEneff was deployed in the centre of an advanced three man midfield and it was a role which suited the former Spurs man who showed some touches throughout. However, Conor McCormack’s red card saw a change of McEneff forced deeper which offered an opportunity to showcase the other side of his game
“You have to do what you have to do for the team,” he added, “I’ll play anywhere the manager asks me but, yes, I would have liked to play a bit further forward. Dundalk are a good side, credit to them, and they forced us back so we had to dig in and put in a shift which I think all the boys did.
“It has been very positive in training and in the last two games we scored a lot of goals and we were really putting Dundalk under pressure in the opening minutes. When Conor got sent off, the game changed. They had players dropping off and getting on the ball which meant we had to sit in more than we would have liked and defend deep.”
Derspite his disappointment, McEneff felt the game provided more positives than negatives for Peter Hutton’s revamped team and said he has been impressed with what he has seen from his Derry team mates and the League of Ireland to date.
“That’s the thing, coming off at home 2-0 down, some people might think it was a nightmare but we just have to look forward and stay positive because a lot of the players can take credit from that performance. As I said before, we were up against it after the red card but the players dug deep, stuck together and that goes for the manager, the assistant, the whole backroom team; everyone here is sticking together and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.
“It was a hard way to start, facing the champions but tonight was a battle. In games like these you have to win your headers, win your tackles.
“I think we could have imposed out style on them if Conor had not been sent off but obviously with 10 you have to changed things and try to catch them on the break. Overall, the standard and style of football in the league, I’ve watched it for the past few weeks and there are some very good players about.”