A difficult task in Derry was dealt with in a really ruthless and impressive fashion by the team with another three goals and three big points on the board. You must be happy with that performance.

“I said in last Thursday’s “Team News” I felt that we were in a good place. I genuinely felt that, and I think we showed that on Friday night. A lot was made of our second-half performance and rightly so, but some of our first-half play was really good also, just the final bit wasn’t there. I thought the overall performance was very good, disappointing to give away the goal, but the players were excellent, and I’m not surprised. You can see they’re focussed and when they’re focussed like they are at the moment, they are very difficult to play against, and they showed that in Derry.”

Both Aaron Greene and yourself in the post-match comments referred to some half-time observations in the dressing room about spaces to exploit Derry. Dylan Watts and Aaron really did just that.

“I think we knew before the game to be honest, we’d spoken about it. Sometimes when you’re a player on the pitch, it can feel a bit too easy, in terms of what you should play. Sometimes, not intentionally, you take that extra touch or extra pass, and we didn’t need to do that. At half-time, the players recognised it very quickly and in the second half, the pleasing aspect was how ruthless they were with it. They really exploited it and made Derry pay for the spaces that they gave us. That was really pleasing to see.”

The third goal was due to a great press from Graham Burke to force the mistake by Kelly and between him and Aaron Greene they’ve put it on a plate for Richie Towell. So, the hard yards to win a ball back even at 2-0 up really count for so much as well as the great creative play. 

“That’s the ruthless bit I’m talking about. Being 2-0 up and not sitting back and just seeing it out. At 2-0 up, the press was still really good, and Richie’s goal really summed up the performance and where Graham is at the moment. He works extremely hard to get the ball back, then at the end makes the right decision by rolling it to Richie who slots it home. That bit really pleased me in terms of when we had Derry, we were ruthless.”

Gary O’Neill hobbled off early last Friday, what was the nature of the injury, and will he be out for Monday? 

“We’re not sure if he will be available for Monday. It’s very unlike Gary to come off with any injury. He said he came out of either a pass or a tackle and felt the top of his knee turn. It was important that we didn’t take any chances with that. We’ll assess it and see how he is after Sunday’s training.”

We go into Monday’s derby with Shelbourne at Tolka Park in impressive form, while Shels are in a difficult run of form, is it just a case of us keeping it going in all facets?

“Yes, it’s a case of focus now, Friday’s win in Derry is gone, three points earned and move on. We know what let us down at Tolka the last time, the goals we gave away were poor from our point of view. The rest of the game was positive, so we need to make sure we focus and respect the game from the first minute to the last. Everything else will look after itself.”

What areas or individual Shelbourne players do we have to watch out for as a danger to us given the defeat there in February? 

“When you look at the goals that Shels scored against us the last time, they’re very dangerous if you switch off and, if you don’t respect the game in all aspects, they’ll punish you. They’ve been the team on top since the start and have set the standard this year so we know it will be a difficult game. But we go there in a good place, fully focussed and ready to win.”

You mentioned Gary O’Neill’s injury in Derry and you gave us a comprehensive injury update before the Derry game. Is that still the case for Monday with hopefully everyone else ok after Derry? 

“We’ll need to check on a few knocks, you always get them after a game like it was on Friday, especially on that pitch. We’ll make calls on those after training today. But none of those mentioned as injured for Derry will be back for the Shels game. They’re all doing well, but Monday will be too early for them.”