It's 100 not out for Derry City sharpshooter Jamie McGonigle
SHARPSHOOTER Jamie McGonigle hit a century of senior goals with his stunning strike at Dalymount Park on Monday night but he’s expecting to score plenty more for Derry City.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a 25 year-old who admits reaching the incredible landmark was becoming a bit of a burden as he went three games without a goal, stuck on 99 career strikes.
And the relief was palpable when he turned inside his man and curled a sublime effort into the far top corner of the net against Bohemians to get his team on level terms on the night with a trademark finish.
The Dungiven man has three goals from five starts for Derry since arriving during the summer transfer window and he’s hoping to continue his goalscoring exploits in front of the biggest attendance of the season at Brandywell tonight when basement club Longford Town arrive in town.
McGonigle was delighted to get back on the scoresheet and was equally as happy with his role in Derry’s other two goals in what he agrees was his best performance yet in the red and white Candystripes.
“Junior was breaking through and I was shouting for the ball because there was a lot of space on my side and he played it right into my path,” he recalled.
“Once I get into the box there’s nothing else I’m thinking about but shooting. Jack Malone jokes with me sometimes that I never pass to him but I told him once I get into that sort of area the only thing comes into my head is how I’m getting a shot off.
“That goal I scored, the touch onto the right foot and into the far top corner, I’d say I have 15 or 16 goals like that. I had two or three of them last season alone. It’s not that it’s second nature but it’s just like instinct and I act on it. Once it hits the net you just start celebrating and it was good to get the 100th goal.
“After I scored the penalty against Dundalk, it was actually my dad who said to me ‘that’s 99 now’.
“I went a couple of games not scoring and it was becoming a bit of a burden on me so I’m glad I’ve scored that now and hopefully I can kick on.”
That talk sounds ominous for visiting Longford tonight particularly after Derry’s outstanding offensive performance against Bohemians in Monday night’s six goal thriller.
However, McGonigle has adjusted to life in League of Ireland well enough to know there’s no easy game.
“I’ve only played against Longford once down there and they had a couple of dangerous chances early on.
“They actually beat Derry at the start of the season as well so there are no easy games and Longford will definitely be coming up to get a result. It’s up to us to take the three points.”
McGonigle can’t wait to play in front of a packed Brandywell tonight with over 2,000 supporters expected at the Lone Moor Road venue.
The striker believes something special is brewing under boss Ruaidhri Higgins and Philip O’Doherty and claims everyone is now ‘striving towards the one thing’.
The immediate goal is qualifying for Europe and McGonigle knows City can’t take their foot off the pedal with just nine games remaining. However, following the exertions of Monday night’s thriller in Dalymount, the Dungiven man has called on the home supporters to roar them to three points against Longford.
“You can definitely feel the togetherness at the club,” said the striker. “When I scored on Monday, the first people I saw coming towards me were Raff (Cretaro) and Ruaidhri. Definitely there’s a real togetherness. Everybody gets on. There are no disputes in the changing room and everyone is striving towards one thing.”
The players haven’t had time to dwell on Monday’s controversial late equaliser but McGonigle knows they can’t become complacent against teams they’re expected to beat at home.
“Ruaidhri has drummed that into us. Nobody can look past the next game because that’s where you get complacent, if you write off games. We’re definitely in the right form. It’s just about keeping that going, picking up as many points as we can and see what happens from there. Hopefully the fans fire us up and help us get over the line. It does make a difference when you hear them roaring. “
"It motivates you to keep going and going. Hopefully we can perform for them again like we have been over the last few weeks.”