Competition for places at Derry City keeping Eoin Toal on his toes

Bohemians' Ali Reghba with Eoin Toal of Derry City
Bohemians' Ali Reghba with Eoin Toal of Derry City

EOIN TOAL produced another terrific performance at the heart of the Derry City defence at Dalymount but the Armagh native isn’t taking his place in the side for granted.

He’s produced a string of top displays for the Candy Stripes and has formed an impressive partnership with Ally Gilchrist over the past four fixtures.

However, Toal is fully aware that there’s lots of competition in the City squad and insists the thought of losing his place is ‘keeping him on his toes’.

“We had a few injuries, but as Decky (Devine) has said before we have 23 players in the squad all capable of stepping in and the competition for places is really high.

“There’s always someone looking to get your shirt, so you just need to be on our toes.”

On Friday night he was a commanding presence in the air and, as a centre half, he thoroughly enjoyed the backs to the wall mentality as they fought for a valuable point. He even took a kick in the head for his troubles from Bohs striker, Ali Reghba who attempted an overhead.

“I threw my head on it and went down because I knew I would get a free for it,” he recalled.

“Once we conceded the goal it was a case of, can we hold on? And it was good that we had it in us to hold on.

“We kept a clean-sheet at Turner’s Cross and that’s very hard to do, especially defending in front of the Shed End and tonight I felt we defended well for large parts,” he explained.

“We have a had a few tough away games but we have shown that we can match them and we aren’t mugs.

“When the pressure was on at the end it was a case of just heading the ball away and making sure we all defended and kept battling away, which we did.

“Any time I have been here at Dalymount over the last few seasons, we seem to do alright but it’s never easy and it wasn’t easy tonight, especially in that wind.”

It’s another game down and as he prepared to get back on the team bus his attention had already turned to the visit of the champions to Brandywell next Friday night.

“Dundalk is always going to be tough no matter where you play them, but hopefully the Derry crowd can get behind us and help us to hopefully get the three points,” he insisted. “Look it’s our home patch, so anyone who wants to come to the Brandywell and beat us then they are going to have to work hard.”