Patience pays off for Derry City's Marc Walsh after frustrating injury spell
RUAIDHRI Higgins is cautiously easing Marc Walsh into action at Derry City but the ex-Swansea winger has other ideas and hopes his last gasp goal scoring heroics against Bohemians kickstarts his Brandywell career.
The lightning quick 20 year-old Donegal man has endured a frustrating beginning to his time on Foyleside having been hampered by recurrent hamstring problems.
Those injuries have restricted the Loughanure lad to just three substitute appearances for the Candy Stripes thus far but he’s certainly made his impact with a 94th minute strike to seal a precious point on Friday night - a point which elevated Derry into seventh spot!
He immediately ran towards the 155 fans at the Southend Park stand to celebrate and it’s a moment he reckons has announced him as a Derry City player.
“I’m delighted to get the late goal, it’s always nice but it’s still not the three point,” said Walsh afterwards. “It would have put the cherry on the cake if it was three points but we’ll take one.
“Hopefully that’s the start of it now,” he continued. “I came on against Bohs down in Dalymount the last time and played a few minutes against Rovers as well but hopefully that’s it now and I can get into the swing of things.”
He made a similar impact when he came on as a late sub on the left wing against the Gypsies in Dalymount at the end of April and helped swing the momentum before Cameron McJannet netted the winner on that occasion.
On Friday night he was in the right place at the right time as the ball broke across the face of the Bohs goalmouth and he fired his first time shot across the goaline. Bohs keeper James Talbot was either convinced the ball hadn’t crossed the line or gave his best Hollywood audition to convince the referee that his assistant made the wrong call. Walsh never doubted it for a moment but admitted his heart was in his mouth as he waited for the assistant to raise his flag.
”I knew 100 per cent it crossed the line. The keeper caught it over the line,” he smiled. “I was a bit scared in case the ref didn’t give it then but I’m delighted because I haven’t scored a goal in ages. I’ve had a tough time with injuries. My hamstring keeps going on me but hopefully that will get me into the swing of things. It’s a nice way to start things off there.
“I’m sure the fans are aware of me now so hopefully I can get more minutes under my belt and push on.”
When his three year spell at Swansea came to an end, Walsh was determined to reignite his career and the ex-Gweedore Celtic winger admitted he wanted to prove the Welsh club wrong when he signed for Derry City last February.
Injuries have stunted his progress under both Declan Devine and now Ruaidhri Higgins but Walsh is grateful for everyone at the club for keeping faith with him.
"Ruaidhri pulled me aside and said ‘have confidence and believe in yourself’ and that’s exactly what I want to hear when I’m coming on. What I want to do is take men on and get into these opportunities to score goals. For him to say that just pushed you on a bit more.
“They’ve all been patient with me and they’ve given me time to get it right. Any time I come on he tells me to have confidence, go out and enjoy it and get at people which is what I like to do so it’s all about confidence and if you have the confidence you can go out and just do it.”
Walsh admitted he was ‘partly’ culpable for Bohemians’ opener as he failed to close down Ali Coote who found the net from 20 yards on 84 minutes so he was delighted he made amends in dramatic fashion 10 minutes later.
"It was partly my fault as I didn’t press the man quick enough but I’m happy to get one back for the lads. Good teams fight to the end and we can do that. Well never give up on the game, there’s always another chance there for us and we showed that tonight."
He introduced himself to the Brandywell Faithful in the best possible way and with his former club Finn Harps up next in Ballybofey, he endeared himself to the City support when explaining there will be no divided loyalties in the North West derby.
"Not at all. I’m a Derry man now,” he laughed. “We’re a good team and we’re only going to get better. We’re sitting seventh now but it’s not where we should be so hopefully we can push on up the table.
“It’s lovely to see the fans in and hopefully in the coming weeks there will be more in. It’s nice for them to see the equaliser and hopefully they go home with a smile on their faces.
”It puts us in good stead for the Harps game and it would be good to get a wee result at Harps now that’s what we’re pushing for.”