Derry City’s Ally Gilchrist is back from the brink

Derry City's Ally Gilchrist wins this towering header before Cork City's Dan Casey, during Friday night's encounter at Turner's Cross.
Derry City's Ally Gilchrist wins this towering header before Cork City's Dan Casey, during Friday night's encounter at Turner's Cross.

ALLY Gilchrist claims Derry City has helped him rediscover his passion for a sport he had fallen out of love with.

The 23-year-old endured a disappointing time at Shamrock Rovers last season but after impressing in City’s last three games at centre-half, he’s adamant he’s now returning to his best form.

“I’m just loving playing football again, it was a tough season last year for me personally,” he insists. “I wasn’t playing much and fell out of love with the game but I’m back and I’m back enjoying it again, so it’s great.”

Ironically Gilchrist’s competitive Derry debut came against his old club in City’s second game and he hasn’t looked back since.

The centre-back has looked solid alongside Eoin Toal as the Brandywell men produced a ‘roll the sleeves up’ display at Cork on Friday.

At a rain soaked Turner’s Cross, Gilchrist and Co looked confident and composed and he’s hoping to continue that defensive form against leaders Bohemians this week.

“I think we set out to try and play but we know what Turner’s Cross is like, it’s a notoriously difficult place to defend, especially into that Shed End but I thought the boys were excellent.

“That’s another clean-sheet and we can build on that now. Turner’s Cross is a tough place and we are going to another tough place next week at Bohs but all the boys will relish the opportunity to get something from Dalymount.”

The Scottish defender was delighted with a second shut-out of the season but believes Derry can still improve as the young squad learn more about each other and the League.

“From back to front, we worked extremely hard and it was a great result for us.

“Sometimes I forget how young Eoin (Toal) is, he’s coming on leaps and bounds and is brilliant to be play with. He’s a great lad off the pitch as well and on it we are learning off each other quickly.

“The back four are starting to gel and big Cherrie has been excellent for us. It’s easy playing with Peter because he’s such a good guy and a good keeper. He keeps us going as he’s got an experienced head on him.

“From the back five perspective, it was great at Cork and while I could see a few of the lads getting a bit frustrated in front of us , they helped us defensively.”

Gilchrist felt Ciaran Coll’s last minute call-up to the starting line-up, after Patrick McClean picked up a quad muscle injury in the warm-up, shows how much everyone wants to play.

“For Ciaran, to get chucked in at the last minute, at such a hard place, I thought he was excellent,” he explained.

“As defenders we relish these types of games and Declan (Devine) has got us all firing.

“We are all honest with each other and Declan and the coaches have been honest with us; it’s just a great place to be right now and I’m enjoying it.”