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19 May 2022

‘Not many will come to Tolka Park and win’ - Ruaidhri Higgins

‘Not many will come to Tolka Park and win’ - Ruaidhri Higgins

SATISFIED… Ruaidhri Higgins was more than happy with the 1-0 win at Tolka Park.

Ruaidhri Higgins is relishing the view from the top of the league, but he knows the hard work is just beginning after the weekend victory over Shelbourne.

The Derry City boss has led his team to four games unbeaten so far which, when you consider the strength of the opponents so far, is a fine achievement, all this without Michael Duffy, and for the most part Matty Smith, as well as the loss of Ciaron Harkin.

Winning at Tolka Park is something Higgins knows that Derry City can never take for granted despite the different expectations of both teams this year, and he was delighted to come away from Dublin with another three points.

“This is going to be a difficult venue for every club that comes here,” he said. “It was a really professional controlled performance away from home and I feel we definitely deserved the win. We were able to bring players off the bench to inject a wee bit of pace and life into it. I did feel with the amount of possession we had that we would wear them down and that proved to be the case.”

Jamie McGonigle has been earning all the plaudits in recent weeks, but this time it was Patrick McEleney with the winning goal, and Higgins admitted that he has asked other players to make sure they chip in this season.

“We’re asking the likes of Patrick and Brandon and these creative players to get in the six-yard box a bit more,” he explained.

“I’m delighted with that goal and I would actually prefer Patrick to get a few of them types of goals rather than screamers from 20-25 yards. I’m delighted and it’s great to have him back at the club.

“He has turned himself into a real leader and he’s really vocal in the dressing room now which he wasn’t when I played with him.”

With Ciaron Harkin ruled out for the season, Higgins has a ready-made replacement in Cameron Dummigan, who again showed his class at Tolka.

“I felt Cameron Dummigan was the outstanding player on the pitch,” he continued. “He’s come into Ciaron Harkin’s position and put in an amazing performance in my book.

“I felt we controlled possession and Dummigan won so many second balls and kept it simple.

“Patching gave us control of the game getting on the ball. This is a really difficult venue, really difficult and we’re delighted to come to Dublin and pick up the three points.

“I don’t think (Brian Maher) had a real save to make, but I don’t think there were a lot of chances in the game. A lot of the play was between both boxes, but any chances in the game we probably had them.”

‘Draw would have been fair’

Higgins’ view on the game was in contrast to Damien Duff’s who felt his team were comfortable and deserved a point from the game.

“Derry are one of the favourites for the league and they have unbelievable quality but I never felt threatened all night and never felt that they ripped us apart so it’s disappointing that we gave away a poor goal,” he stated.

“If Derry are going to score let them do it with their quality, not from our mistake, so it’s disappointing.

“I thought the players were brilliant, and worked really hard, but the disappointing thing was the loss. It’s just taking care of the ball and having that calm in the final third and having belief. I’m always telling them how good they are, so I’m not going to have a go at them for not scoring. We just weren’t good enough on the ball but for me a draw would have been the fair result.”

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