VIDEO: Half-time 'rocket' fires Derry City to victory over UCD

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MARK Connolly revealed how Derry City players received a ‘rocket’ from manager Ruaidhri Higgins during his half-time teamtalk at Brandywell on Friday night which fired them to a crucial victory over UCD.

The Candy Stripes went in at the break with a 1-0 advantage thanks to Ryan Graydon’s fifth minute goal but it was a largely forgettable opening 45 minutes for Higgins’ troops who needed to capitalise on the events at Dalymount where Rovers were being held 0-0 by managerless Bohemians.

Connolly admitted the dressing room got a bit heated at the interval as the players conducted an autopsy of their below par display before Higgins came in and let his underperforming team have it with both barrels.

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“It was a bit of a kick up the bum,” admitted Connolly. “We spoke together before the manager came into the room. We all knew and said to each other he would come in and give a rocket. I can’t really tell you what was said but there was enough said that we knew we needed to lift the standards.

“The manager shouldn’t have to come in and shout and say anything. He did and standards were lifted in the second half.”

The hairdryer treatment certainly had the desired effect as Derry began to get into their flow with Patrick McEleney’s link-up play with Michael Duffy proving to be a real treat for spectators despite the torrential downpour which forced fans in the Mark Farren end to race for shelter at the back of the stand.

Midfield general Sadou Diallo’s superb strike on 71 minutes, after a lovely flick from Duffy, gave Derry that safety cushion they thoroughly deserved as they dominated the play in the second half. And Duffy finally got his elusive first goal in his second spell at his hometown club to complete a convincing win.

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Derry were relentless in the second half and Connolly believes they must sustain those standards from now until the end of the season if they’re to push Shamrock Rovers all the way in the title race which was reignited after the Dubliners’ shock loss to Bohemians.

Derry City midfielder Sadou Diallo fires into the net in the second half against UCD.Derry City midfielder Sadou Diallo fires into the net in the second half against UCD.
Derry City midfielder Sadou Diallo fires into the net in the second half against UCD.

“We needed to be relentless and second half we were that,” said the Clones native. “It was good to win 3-0 so we’re delighted. First half we just weren’t good enough and the manager came in and said a few words. Second half it was a lot more professional, a lot more at it.

“We’ve got to be relentless. That’s what we’re saying, myself and Patrick McEleney and others, we need to be relentless if we want to win things and want to be up there, we need to be winning every game. That’s the attitude now. That’s the first time we’ve won three games in a row since April and our first home win in quite a long time. We need to change that. We need to be at it and the boys were professional in the second half and it was a massive three points.

“We need to make sure we’re there or thereabouts. We can’t be dropping points at this stage. The main things for us is that if they drop points we capitalise on it. We’ve got to keep going. We’ve Bohemians next Friday night. They’ ve just lost their manager and beat Shamrock Rovers tonight so it’s not going to be easy and we need to be at it.”