Derry City's unsung hero Cameron Dummigan receives special praise from Will Patching and Ruaidhri Higgins
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Assigned to nullify KuPS dangerman Urho Nissilä in the first leg, Dummigan played a key role in breaking up attacks and getting Derry ticking in the middle of the park.
Goalscorers Cian Kavanagh and Patching, substitute Paul McMullan and Brian Maher earned most of the plaudits after Derry fought back from a half-time deficit to take a one goal lead to Finland this week but it might not have been but for Dummigan's selfless display in his defensive midfield role.
Ruaidhri Higgins has gone on record more than once claiming the Lurgan man's form warranted a senior international call-up for Northern Ireland.
And the City boss once again insisted the versatile ex-Dundalk and Crusaders midfielder was 'an international level player' after his performance against the Finnish side in the first leg of the second round tie at Brandywell last week.
"He played against Nissilä, their No.10 who has 12 caps for Finland. He's an exceptional footballer. I think his performance was brilliant. You can see Dumnmnigan with the games under his belt, he's back to his best and enjoying his football again.
"I know I've said it loads of times but I actually think he's an international level player. When he's fit and healthy and at himself and plays the way he played there tonight against a top level player you can see why I might have that opinion."
Reassured by Dummigan's defensive qualities, Patching felt confident to get into more advanced positions during the game which resulted in his equalising goal when he headed home McMullan's cross on 69 minutes.
Afterwards Patching singled Dummigan out for praise, hailing the midfielder as 'the best I've ever played with' in terms of his work without the ball and insisted the player deserved more credit.
"He's unbelievable at what he does," claimed Patching. "He helps us out massively in that midfield especially when myself and 'Fats' (Patrick McEleney) are in there and our more creative players. To have someone like Dummigan winning the ball back and giving it to us is unbelievable.
"He should get a bit more credit and maybe goes under the radar a bit because he's not a technical kind of player but off the ball I think he's the best I've ever played with."
Heading into Thursday’s second leg in Kuopio, Patching reckons Derry should approach the match in a similar way.
"It's always hard when you play against good players, technical players like that and they set up well tactically. They have a few internationals in the team and you can tell a few of the boys are top players.
"So you've always got to be wary and the gameplan has to be right. Tonight it was. When we play with that confidence we can beat anyone. It worked tonight so hopefully in the second leg it can work again.”