Inside League of Ireland: Collins comments show lack of faith

The Candystripes boss has been deploying a negative brand of football and it will soon begin to frustrate supporters, while Cork City are buoyed by John Caulfield

Derry City manager Roddy Collins hit out at Patrick Hoban after his side's 3-0 defeat against Dundalk, with his 'cowardly' description of the Lilywhites' forward overshadowing other post-match reaction. Aside from attacking Hoban for his involvement in a clash with Ryan McBride, Collins said that the result was exactly what he thought his players would achieve.

"It was what we expected coming into the game," told Drive 105. "People have to get real. [Dundalk] are the best team in the league at the minute, there's no doubt in my mind about that, they've proved that in their previous fixtures and coming here we tried to keep it as tight as we could."

This attitude will not win many fans at the Brandywell, especially as some travelling supporters would have thought their side could get a result at Oriel Park.

Dundalk were held by Bohemians at the same venue just 10 days earlier, but Collins' post-match comments indicate that he never thought a positive outcome was possible.

"We matched them man for man, we frustrated," Collins admitted. "It was brutal to watch, I mean, we knew that. If you tried [to get the ball down and pass] and open the game up, they'd torture you."

If Collins cannot inspire confidence in his players that they can get a result from teams of Dundalk's calibre, then he should expect a similar form of torture from the Candystripes faithful.


On paper, Derry City's squad is arguably better than Cork City's, but the SSE Airtricity Premier Division table tells a different story six games in. The Leesiders are top of the table with a game in hand, and new manager John Caulfield surely deserves huge praise for their promising start.

The Cork boss has credited the large home support at Turner's Cross for helping his side, but the Leesiders have also impressed on the road, with the manager instilling confidence and belief in his youthful squad. "I know it's only early days, but there seems to be a passion there and I can't ask for any more," Caulfield said after the 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers.

"Sitting on the sidelines on Friday night, it was like the old days - a great night where the atmosphere was fantastic - and if we can create that as much as possible throughout the season, if the players can deliver it, then you know you're going to be somewhere in the mix."

Caulfield's comments are stark contrast to Collins' negative outlook, and highlight the disparity in styles between the up-and-coming manager and the wizened journeyman.


Veteran striker Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien took his tally for the new season to seven goals in five games with a hat-trick against Athlone Town and the equaliser in Drogheda United's 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers this week, and the 35-year-old will be crucial to Drogs' chances of a successful campaign.

O'Brien believes Drogs can mount a successful cup run, and as long as Robbie Horgan's squad can stay fit, there's no reason why they cannot also muster a top half finish. Gary O'Neill picked up the Player of the Month award for March, and so far O'Brien has been the outstanding player for April.

Like Robbie Keane in America, O'Brien has adpated his game in the latter stages of his career, but still remains the goalscoring threat he always was, being in the right place at the right time to win his side crucial points.