Saturday 21 April 2018

Shiels dismisses title tilt after 'freak' Dundalk scalp

Shiels: “You get a break like this and one swallow doesn’t make a summer, we have to recognise that.
Shiels: “You get a break like this and one swallow doesn’t make a summer, we have to recognise that." Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has insisted that his side have no chance of winning this year's League of Ireland title.

Shiels was speaking in the aftermath of a win over champions Dundalk that maintained their 100pc start to the new campaign.

His opposite number on Monday night, Stephen Kenny, thinks that last year's third-placed side are realistic challengers this time around.

But the 60-year-old sought to play down his side's prospects after the famous win at their temporary home in Buncrana which ended their dreadful recent record against the Louth side.

However, in doing so, Shiels did declare that goalscorer Barry McNamee was the best number ten in the country - refusing to change that view when Dundalk's Patrick McEleney was raised - and he also hailed his squad depth when initially discussing the Louthmen's options.

"Not a hope, we are nowhere near Dundalk," replied Shiels when asked if his team were now candidates. "We had a good night but we're not in the same calibre as Dundalk and you look at the players they've to bring in ... but we do have players missing. Rory Patterson, Mark Timlin is primed to come in. We have injuries.

"You get a break like this and one swallow doesn't make a summer, we have to recognise that. We've got a result and beat Dundalk but let's not wallow in that, or show triumphalism.

"We're just an ordinary wee team who got a freak result and let's see where it takes us. It can give you impetus and that's seven league wins on the bounce if you accompany it with the end of the previous season. I can't praise the players any more.

"Our Poet Laureate over there (McNamee) is a fantastic player, he's great to watch. Poetry in motion. He's the best player in his position in the league by some distance. As a number ten. He is the catalyst for what we've done. You look at his intelligence and movement, he's fantastic."

Kenny was frustrated by the Nathan Boyle goal his team conceded just before the interval to send Derry in level. Both managers agreed that the away side deserved to lead at the halfway point.

But it was the Candystripes that finished strongest, helped by poor goalkeeping from Dundalk keeper Gabriel Sava - Kenny batted away a question about whether a recall was imminent for the fit-again Gary Rogers.

"Absolutely (Derry are challengers)," he said. "They have a very good side but it was a cardinal sin from us to concede just before half time. The other goals were mistakes."

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