Eoin Toal trusts Kenny Shiels’ judgement and eyes start at Oriel Park

Derry City defender, Eoin Toal attempts to stop the run of Brandon Miele during Saturday's game at Brandywell.
Derry City defender, Eoin Toal attempts to stop the run of Brandon Miele during Saturday's game at Brandywell.

EOIN TOAL says he ‘respects’ manager, Kenny Shiels’ judgement after making his first appearance for Derry City in almost two months.

The 19 year-old defender had sat out the previous eight matches, including the EA Sports Cup Final and the FAI Cup quarter-final since his sending off in the dramatic win over St Pat’s on July 27th.

He had looked an accomplished centre half during an extended run of games earlier in the season and was likened to a young Johnny Evans by Shiels in pre-season.

Many supporters were calling for Toal’s return as the City defence struggled in recent weeks but the Armagh teenager, while admitting he was frustrated, insists he respects the decision of his manager who he believes knows best with regards his continued development.

Returning to the starting XI on Saturday for the visit of Shamrock Rovers the Northern Ireland U19 international produced a solid display and he’s hoping he’s done enough to earn a start against champions elect, Dundalk at Oriel Park on Tuesday night.

“It’s nearly two months since my last game and Kenny put me back in so I respect him for that. We were just unlucky not to get a win or a clean sheet (against Rovers) but that’s football and it’s up to him to pick the team for Tuesday.

It was frustrating because I had played so many games but I’m only turned 19 and I think Kenny has managed me right and whatever he does I always respect his judgement.

Eoin Toal

“It was frustrating because I had played so many games but I’m only turned 19 and I think Kenny has managed me right and whatever he does I always respect his judgement.”

Oriel Park was, of course, the scene of Toal’s first senior goal as he completed a remarkable comeback for 10 man Derry in the 2-2 draw with Dundalk last April - the eighth in a 10 game unbeaten run for the Candy Stripes.

With Dundalk preparing for a party after the 1-0 win over Cork City last Friday night practically ensured they will retain the league title and with a win over Derry all but confirming it on Tuesday night, Toal knows a formidable test awaits City’s defence in Co. Louth.

And he warned the Candy Stripes can’t afford to waste the chances they missed against Rovers on Saturday at Brandywell if they’re to take something from the game.

“We got a draw down there we were going 10 games unbeaten,” recalled Toal. “We were on a run of form so I don’t see why we can’t do it on Tuesday. Hopefully we can take our chances against Dundalk because we’ll have to take them to get something from a top quality side.”

The defeat to Rovers was hard to take for Toal who admitted the City defence simply switched off to allow substitute, Dan Carr to creep in at the back post and slot home the winner.

“Hopefully we can cut that out in the last five games and give it a go. I actually thought it was offside but the linesman made it clear he wasn’t so we’ll have a look at the video and see if it was or not.

“I think we definitely deserved a draw anyway. We had plenty of chances and I thought we defended well for the first 45. They got their bit of luck then for the goal. I thought we set up well and defended well but just switched off for the goal. It’s just tough to take.”