Belfast Telegraph

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels rules out title bid despite dream start

By 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 3-1 win over champions Dundalk that maintained their 100% start to the campaign.

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

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

However, Shiels did declare that goalscorer Barry McNamee was the best No.10 on the island - refusing to change that view when Dundalk's Patrick McEleney was raised - and he also hailed his squad's depth.

"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.

"One swallow doesn't make a summer, we have to recognise that. We're just an ordinary wee team who got a freak result and let's see where it takes us. I can't praise the players any more.

"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. He is the catalyst. You look at his intelligence and movement, he's fantastic."

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

But it was the Candystripes who finished strongest, helped by poor goalkeeping from Dundalk keeper Gabriel Sava.

Kenny said: "Absolutely (Derry are challengers). "They have a very good side. But we made mistakes."

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