A delighted Stephen Kenny used the performance of his young centre-half, Ryan McBride, to highlight the progress which is being made at the Brandywell these days.
Suggesting that so many of his youngsters had “come a long way in such a short space of time,” the Dubliner felt his 21-year-old defender had really caught the eye.
“So many of the players have come a long way in such a short period, both individually and collectively and Ryan McBride is certainly one of those,” said Kenny.
“I’ve been very pleased with him over recent weeks and he did very well against Shamrock Rovers. He likes to attack everything and everything seems to be a diving header. But he’s courageous, athletic and spectacular and he’s a player who will certainly catch the eye.
“But he’s improved so much now that he has a better understanding of his position within the back four. He has also improved on his passing which is very important and he’s another young player who could have a good future in the game,” added Kenny.
Particularly happy with Friday night’s win, Kenny refused to get carried away.
“It was a very important win for us and while it was tight, I felt we deserved to take the three points given the chances we created on the night.
“Gerard made a few top quality saves and I don’t think we could have a better goalkeeper. His saves against Rovers were outstanding and they were important and the contribution from our supporters was tremendous on the night. That presence is hugely important to the players and they really got behind them which was fantastic,” noted Kenny.
He agreed that his players felt frustrated at half-time having created three quality scoring chances but failed to take advantage.
“At half-time we had to re-group and go at it again and while we started well enough, the goal, fortuitous as it was, it changed the game.
“Rovers didn’t allow us to play, they got really tight on us all over the pitch and didn’t give us a minute, so we had to work hard to get the space we need to play.
“In fairness to Rovers, they are not champions for nothing and they came back at us after we scored and put us under sustained pressure during the final 15 minutes.
“After the game I told them that we have to improve yet again and learn from the mistake that we made. I felt we gave the ball away too cheaply at times during the final 15 minutes and we also defended much too deep. I suppose it’s a natural reaction to try to hold what we had, but we invited pressure onto us and we almost got punished as a result.
“But it’s something we will learn from in the games over the coming weeks,” he concluded.