Kilduff makes late intervention for Shamrock Rovers

Tallaght side settle in to grab point against Derry City

 Ryan Brennan attempts to keep Derry’s Michael Duffy at bay.  Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy

Ryan Brennan attempts to keep Derry’s Michael Duffy at bay. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy



The “stats attack” section of the home side’s website said in advance of this game that Rovers had won just nine of their last 28 top-flight campaign openers, a success rate, it was suggested, of “42 per cent” which suggests, on the one hand that the Dubliners are not great at hitting the ground running and, on the other, that somebody on their website isn’t all that great at stats.

The former point might be of some small consolation to Trevor Croly this morning as he reflects and a disappointing start to his second league season in charge of the Tallaght outfit although the performance can’t exactly have filled him full of confidence. Still, the club apparently hadn’t lost an opener in a decade and at least Ciarán Kilduff’s header, after a fine Ryan Brennan cross from the right, in the fourth minute of stoppage time spared his side an end to that run.

Deserved point
The locals deserved their point having made almost all of the running from the 58th minute when Mark Stewart had put the visitors in front. Still, City will be disappointed to have taken just one for Rory Patterson had had a chance to wrap all three up not long before the equaliser.

In his programme notes Croly acknowledged that there had been a “”fair bit of change” over the close season and, in fact, just one (Gary McCabe) of the 11 who started for the Dubliners when these two clubs last met, at the Brandywell in October, retained his place for yesterday’s game with two others sitting on the bench.

After an overhaul of that scale Croly badly needs the new team to be better than the old and while a settling in period might seem natural, yesterday’s performance, particularly through a really poor first period, would be far easier to understand had the goals not flowed through preseason.

Open scoring
Derry, to be fair, are much changed themselves and looked no more likely to open the scoring. When they did, through a Mark Stewart effort from way out on the right, the strike looked suspiciously like it had been intended to be a cross.

Stewart, in any case, must have been particularly chuffed to see it loop in at the far post given that his previous effort, a few moments earlier, which looked suspiciously like it was intended as a shot, had gone out for a throw.

Things weren’t generally helped by the fact that neither Stephen McPhail nor Ronan Finn started for the hosts or that Roddy Collins kept a couple of his most creative players under wraps early on too and as they were all introduced over the course of the second half things did improve a little with Rovers poking and prodding at the opponents in search of the equaliser.

The closest they came before the goal was when the generally impressive Clifford Byrne took a poor first touch and Brennan struck a low drive that Ger Doherty saved with his feet.

At that stage, the Rovers fans seemed to have started fearing the worst. By the time their goal came, they’d surely have happily settled for the draw but over the months ahead, they’re bound to expect much better than this.

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Cornwall, Kenna, O’Connor (McGuinness, 65 mins), Byrne; Waters, Bayly (McPhail, 53 mins), Brennan, McCabe (Finn, 78 mins); Zayed, Kilduff.
Derry City: Doherty; Collins, Byrne, McBride, Barry; S McEleney (P McEleney, 57 mins); Stewart, Ventre, Molloy, Duffy (R Curran, 89 mins); E Curran (Patterson, 57 mins).
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).