Derry City need defensive reinforcements: warns Kevin Deery

KEVIN DEERY stressed the need for Derry City to strengthen defensively before they kick-off the season against a ‘ruthless’ Dundalk side at Oriel Park.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 9:43 am
Walter Figueira is congratulated by team mates after he opened the scoring against Institute in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup game at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Tuesday evening last. DER0420GS

The Candy Stripes’ assistant manager was concerned at the manner of goals conceded from set-pieces in the second half of the annual Billy Kee Memorial Cup clash with Institute on Tuesday night at Brandywell.

Derry had raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to a terrific brace from Walter Figueira after just 21 minutes.

However, the Irish Premiership strugglers pulled one back through an Ally Gilchrist own goal on 66 minutes as Derry failed to deal with Cormac Burke’s inswinging free-kick.

Ex-’Stute midfielder, Ciaron Harkin’s stunning strike with 12 minutes to go gave Derry some breathing space, however, Dean Curry’s glancing header from Burke’s set-piece on 88 minutes didn’t best please the Derry management.

City boss, Declan Devine insists he needs at least three new signings and his assistant was adamant that more defensive cover is needed to rival Eoin Toal and Gilchrist for those central positions in particular.

“I’m glad with the goals we scored but we still have a lot of work to do on our defensive displays and that’s what we’ll work on in the next couple of weeks to get ready for the tough challenge away to Dundalk,” said the former City captain.

“We know we need a bit of competition in the squad, especially in the middle of our back four. Eoin (Toal) and Ally (Gilchrist) have been absolutely great for us last season but it’s a new season and we need competition to drive it on. And we have a couple of options in the pipeline,” he claimed. “We’ve got one or two we want to explore. Competition is healthy.

Derry Citys Walter Figueira beats Institutes keeper Rory Brown to score his first goal

“We have a training camp coming up this weekend and we look forward to getting good quality work done down there and hopefully our squad is a bit stronger again.

“We’ve scored good goals throughout preseason but conceding the goals we did was probably the biggest negative on the night.

“I’m just disappointed in the manner of the two goals we gave away. It’s the champions who are just around the corner and they are ruthless at times so you can’t give away soft goals.”

There were plenty of positives to take from the performance, particularly in the opening 20 minutes of the game when Derry passed the ball slickly and took the ‘Stute defence apart at will.

Conor McCormack - who began the game in a holding midfield position before slotting in at right-back in the second half - hit the post with a rasping effort from distance after nine minutes.

Figueira probably should’ve added to his two goal haul when he chested down a failed defensive headed clearance inside the penalty area but he shot directly into the hands of ‘Stute keeper, Rory Brown.

A lovely move involving Moussa Bakayoko, who played Harkin into space, ended in the back of the net as Tim Nilsen, who applied the finish, was ruled offside.

So there were plenty of chances created by the League of Ireland men and Deery believes they will continue to get better in terms of their attacking play.

“Last year our front three was pretty much set in stone. We definitely have better competition in those attacking areas, as we do in the middle of the park.

“We’re content at where we’re at but we need to get better ahead of the season.

“We’ll learn from this, watch the game back and try and improve as a group.”

Institute: Rory Brown (Ryan Flanagan 84’), Oran Brogan (Niall Fielding 74’), Peter Doherty (Adam Green 85’), Colm McLaughlin (Ryan Morrow 56’), James Henry (Jack Bradley 77’), Evan Tweed (Robbie Hume 56’), David Carty (Cormac Burke 56’), Sean Doherty, Alex Pomeroy (Gareth Brown 56’), Liam Walsh (Gianfranco DeCarney 68’).

Derry City: Peter Cherrie (Nathan Gartside 45’), Colm Horgan (Tim Nilsen 45’), Ciaran Coll (Moussa Bakayoko 45’), Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Conor Clifford, Conor McCormack, Ciaron Harkin (Oran McLaughlin 86’), Jamie McDonagh (Michael Harris 86’), Walter Figueira (Patrick Ferry 86’), Stephen Mallon.