Dundalk caretaker manager Darius Kierans was full of praise for goalscoring hero Chris Shields after the midfielder cum defender popped up to secure Dundalk a share of the spoils against Derry City on Friday night.
The Lilywhites club captain forced home a close range header in the 85th minute to wipe out David McDaid’s opener for the Candystripes to earn Dundalk their second draw in succession under Kierans’ stewardship.
“Chris is a leader and he leads by example. With Liam Burns out he had to fill in at centre-half and I thought he was outstanding. You know what you’ll get from Chris. He does what it says on the tin. You’ll get 110% from him and he never gives anything less. He’ll play anywhere you want and I’m delighted for him.”
Reflecting on the match, Kierans said he was happy with a point.
“We could have won it in the end but we gave away a soft goal. We contained them pretty well in the first-half but we gave away silly balls at times and our composure in the final third wasn’t great. In saying that they didn’t really cause us too many problems.
“There was a 20 minute period at the start of the second-half were Derry were in the ascendancy. They were shifting us about pretty well at that stage. We brought on Michael Rafter and I thought he opened the game up but unfortunately they scored just as he came on.
For the second week in succession, Kierans was disappointed with the manner in which Dundalk conceded but he was also delighted with the manner in which his side responded to going a goal behind.
“It was a soft goal to give away. There was probably a lack of communication between Paul Walsh and Ben McLaughlin but we showed great character. I’m delighted with them. They fought there way back into the game and we maybe could have won it.”
One of the game’s talking points came in the 62nd minute when Robert Waters looked to have squeezed a header past Ger Doherty at his near post. The Dundalk midfielder wheeled away in celebration only to see the game continue.
“I thought it crossed the line and most of the players who were close to it, including the Derry City players thought it had crosses the line”, said Kierans.
“Nathan Murphy probably had the best view of it as he was taking the corner kicks. Nathan said he thought it was over the line but you get some decisions and you don’t get others; we got lucky when they hit the post and the bar.”