Derry City manager Declan Devine has said the travelling support his team enjoyed during Friday’s game with St. Patrick’s Athletic helped the Candy Stripes to a share of the spoils in Richmond Park.
Derry have not lost a league game since they suffered defeat to champions Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell on the opening day of the season. They arrived in Dublin on Friday on the back of six consecutive league victories. The 1-1 draw with the Saints takes their unbeaten league run to nine matches.
“I’ve been involved with this club for a long time but the travelling support I saw in Richmond Park on Friday was the best I have ever seen,” said Devine.
“There must have been three or four hundred fans at the match and if we are to stand any chance of winning trophies this year we are going to need more of the same. I can’t thank the supporters enough - they were just amazing.
“The supporters were absolutely brilliant. They didn’t stop cheering the team. From the first minute to the final whistle - they were top class - I think the fans pulled us over line.”
St. Pat’s took the lead through Conan Byrne but Derry striker Michael Rafter equalised eight minutes before the interval.
“I wasn’t jumping with joy after the result but it was good that we maintained our unbeaten record.
“I think Friday’s result is a good one but it’ll mean nothing should we not get a win against Limerick when they come to the Brandywell next week.”
St. Pat’s threw everything they had at the Derry defence towards the end of Friday’s game but a combination of good goalkeeping and good defending ensured the Candy Stripes travelled north with a valuable point.
“I’ve always said that as far as I am concerned Gerard Doherty is the best goalkeeper in the country.
“The players have given the team everything this season. Last week it was Ryan McBride who did the business against Shamrock Rovers and this week it’s been Gerard. Gerard knows how important he is to the team and he did well.”
Devine hinted at the secret of his success this season. The Creggan- born manager said he has tried to get his players to look at every game as if it were the most important game of their careers.
“Nothing exists for us except the next match. I’ve told the players they get the same number of points for beating the team at the top of the league as they do if they beat the team at the bottom.
“Having a philosophy is one thing but I have to say that the way the players have applied themselves this year has been nothing short of brilliant.
“We will welcome Stewart Greacen back to training tomorrow [Monday] and I was glad to see Sean Houston get a run out against St. Pat’s.
“We don’t fear anyone and if we can continue the way we have been going I have no doubt that we will continue to be in with a very good shout at the end of the season. But we have to remember that no trophies will be handed out after nine or ten games. We must remain focused,” he said.