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Higgins praises grit after Dundalk win

Higgins praises grit after Dundalk win

McGonigle joined Derry from Crusaders in June

Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins praised his side’s grit and belief after they secured a 1-0 win over Dundalk at the Brandywell.

A second-half Jamie McGonigle penalty gave the Candystripes their first win over the Lilywhites, Higgins’ former club, since March 2017.

It was also a third consecutive league victory for fifth-placed Derry, who are four points off third.

“It’s three points but a really good three points,” Higgins said.

“It was a tremendous performance, it is clear that there is real belief growing in the group. We are starting to win home games as well, which is huge and the supporters can really identify with this team. I am sure we will have sent them home happy.

“There is a grit and belief that is growing in the group which I think is evident. Even the substitutions that came on had a massive, massive role to play and I am just very proud of them.

“I was at Dundalk’s game on Thursday night [when they exited the Europa Conference League to SBV Vitesse] and I’m not going to lie, the last 30-35 minutes scared the life out of me, they were tremendous and deserved to go through in my opinion.

“We met that challenge head on and came out victorious which is brilliant for us.”

It is the first time this campaign that Derry have won three league games in a row, and a first victory for the club over Dundalk in 18 attempts.

McGonigle’s goal arrived in the 51st minute when his shot was blocked by Andy Boyle and a penalty was awarded for handball, with the forward sending goalkeeper Alessio Abibi the wrong way with his spot kick.

Derry made a bright start to the match against a Dundalk side that was recovering from the disappointment of going out of the Europa Conference League.

McGonigle looked lively up front and had two efforts in the opening five minutes, heading just over the crossbar from a Ronan Boyce cross before having a shot across the face of goal cleared.

Evan McLaughlin then tried his luck with a long-range shot from a Joe Thompson lay-off, but it was too close to visiting goalkeeper Abibi who saved comfortably.

Derry came within inches of opening the scoring in first half stoppage time when an impressive break ended with Thompson swivelling and shooting, but his shot crashed back off the post.

There was little goalmouth action after the break with Derry holding on for victory after seven minutes of injury time were played.

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