Delighted at Friday night’s narrow victory at the Brandywell, Stephen Kenny claimed his players must now back the victory up when travelling to the Belfield Bowl this weekend to face UCD.
And having been given the dreaded vote of confidence following last Thursday night’s Board meeting, the Rovers boss admitted that the victory over his former club was vital if the “Hoops” were to challenge Sligo Rovers for the title this season.
“A win in isolation means nothing, so we’ve got to back it up against UCD,” he declared. “We can’t look any further than that. It will be another tough game for us at Belfield, but the Derry victory will boost the confidence of the players who, at times, felt everything had been going against them.
“To be fair the players have been working hard and they’ve showed that over the last six weeks but we kept drawing matches when we deserved better.
“Defeating Derry City in the Brandywell was a big win for us and it was great in terms of effort despite the fact that we had a lot of tired legs on the pitch.
“I felt we certainly deserved to win the match and while we had no shortage of chances to score a second goal and avoid a nervous finish, we failed to get it.
“We knew Derry would keep going until the end so it was important to have the determination and put the effort in which we did.”
Delighted with Ronan Finn’s winning strike, Kenny heaped praise on his hard-working and talented midfielder.
“The goal itself was worth the admission price alone, it was a superb strike from Ronan and that’s what he’s capable of. He has that skill in his locker and I thought it was a fantastic goal.”
Looking to the future, Kenny remained confident of success. “We’ve just lost three games in the league this season so far, but we’ve drawn so many and, obviously, that has had a major effect on our points tally.
“However, we are now seven points adrift of Sligo and if we can back up this win over Derry at Belfield, we will move to within four and still have to play Sligo twice before the season ends.
“But we can’t afford to look beyond UCD, it’s as simple as that.”
When informed that his former club had now uncharacteristically lost four consecutive home matches, the former Brandywell boss pointed to the club’s injury crisis.
“The absence of so many key players has certainly not helped the club but the important thing is Derry have so many individuals who love this football club and I think the corner will be turned when they get those key players back,” he said.
“Declan Devine and Paul Hegarty and good football men, they know the game but they have a great love for the football club. In this league, three wins on the spin can change so much, so I think Derry will be fine once they get their players back,” he concluded.