'It was a tough battle' - insisted Derry City boss Declan Devine
Manager Declan Devine admitted in the cold light of day Derry City's draw against Bohemians last night, may prove to be a big point in their quest to secure European football for next season.
The scoreless draw means Derry still sit two points behind Keith Long's men, but crucially have a game in hand against Cork City, which takes place at the Brandywell next Friday night.
“Listen, I’m disappointed we didn’t take three points but when I reflect on it at the end of the season, I’ll probably think that it was so important that we didn’t lose the game," he insisted.
“It was a tough massive battle, but I thought we were very expressive in our attempts to try and win the game.
“I felt we drove at them at every opportunity we could, we tried to pass the ball and at times some of our passages of play were excellent.
“We knew that they were decent on the counter-attack and could cause us problems, because lets be honest they have so much freshness in their legs and we are at the end of a 40 game season, but it was a real good ding dong and I thought it was a good battle."
The Brandywell boss was really pleased by his centre-back pairing of Eoin Toal and Ally Gilchrist, who he felt were a rock throughout the 90 minutes.
“The one thing I’ll always say is that it’s vitally important that your not soft in this league, you have to ensure that you don’t concede poor goals and I thought we were far from soft tonight," he said.
"I thought Ally Gilchrist and Eoin Toal were rocks at the back and the legs in the middle of the field from wee Jackie (Ciaron Harkin), (Greg) Sloggett, Jack Malone and Barry McNamee were excellent and David Parkhouse and Junior (Ogedi-Uzokwe) were also class."
In the second half the Candy Stripes had two strong claims for penalties turned down after Jack Malone and substitute Aidy Delap tumbled inside the box, but referee Paul McLaughlin waved away their protests.
“They did look like penalties but the one thing I’ll say about Paul McLaughlin is I think he’s a magnificent referee," he said,
“I thought his handling of the game tonight was excellent, he didn’t stop it and start it; he let two good teams have a right ding-dong. He wasn’t flashing cards for this and that.
“Paul is a referee who I respect a lot and look if he says they aren’t penalties, then fair enough."