You can read Stephen O’Donnell’s programme notes for Friday evening’s game with Bohemians below.
Looking back at the game, there wasn’t loads in it. I don’t think either side really created too much but we gifted them three goals which I was really disappointed with. The first goal came from our own throw-in and two actions later, we’re conceding while it was too easy for Brandon Kavanagh to get his shot away the second goal.
We had some good spells, particularly from the half-hour to the 55th-minute mark, where we controlled the game but we need to be more dangerous when we have those spells, which we have done in recent games. When it went to 2-0, we had a couple of brilliant opportunities to make the last 15 minutes very interesting but we didn’t take them whereas Derry took their half chances.
Reflecting on it, without the emotion, I think it was a fifty-fifty game. Both teams didn’t look overly threatening and the main difference was we gifted goals, they didn’t. As I said after the game, I thought we could have been better on a physicality front. We watched the game back on Wednesday amongst each other so we know where we can improve and where we need to improve.
I don’t mean to sound boring but it’s a very young team and the average age went down even more when Darragh Leahy went off injured to be replaced by Ryan O’Kane. Young players can be inconsistent and they’re still on a learning curve but we want to speed up that process and their development and we don’t want to use that as a crutch either but that was the bottom line. We had a very young team out at the Brandywell with very minimal first-team appearances in comparison to the team we were playing against.
As we know, Darragh Leahy got a bang on his ankle during the game. We had a good look at him on Wednesday and I’d be quite hopeful that he’ll be available for the game with Bohemians. Our injury record has been well documented over the past few weeks but when you look at Darragh’s on Monday, it was an impact injury. It’s very frustrating but it’s part of the game. We just seem to be getting it all at once.
I was asked afterwards about my team selection and, in particular, the decision to start with Patrick Hoban on the bench. We need to remember that Pat is only back from an injury and after playing almost 100 minutes against Cork on Friday night, it’s unrealistic to ask him to play three games a week, off the bat. That’s just asking for more trouble. Some people don’t comprehend what playing a match can take out of you and what it can take out of your body.
Bohs have had a really good start to the season and they’re very competitive, physical, very direct and play to their strengths. They have good players but it’s a game to look forward to. It’s the start of a tough run of fixtures but they are games that players will really want to play in and we’re looking forward to them all. Monday’s loss was our first in seven games so we just want to get back on the horse, starting with tonight.
Enjoy the game, Stephen O’Donnell