Friday Night re-unionMonday, 30th Jun 2008
Harris, Ryan, Dempsey and Morrison wish Macca and co. well.
It was friends re-united in Derry on Friday night when St Patricks Athletic were the visitors at the Brandywell. With three ex Pars - Jamie Harris, Bobby Ryan and Gary Dempsey in the Dublin club's squad and Owen Morrison, one in the Derry City squad the Eircom Premier League match was one of great interest for a visiting Pars fan.
Derry City were also without Paddy McCourt after his transfer to Celtic and his only appearance was a half time farewell to the fans.
Jamie Harris returned from injury for St Pats. Gary Dempsey took the kick off and Bobby Ryan came off the bench for the last 15 minutes. Unfortunately injury sidelined Owen Morrison but he was present to meet his old pals and chat to the website.
Jamie was very aware that his second placed team were travelling north to face Stephen Kenny's Derry City. Defeat would see Derry leapfrog their opponents to put them one point off Bohemians at the top although the leaders would have two matches in hand because of their Intertoto Cup campaign.
Knowledge of how his former East End gaffer would approach the game was passed on to his current boss, Johnny McDonnell by Jamie:-
"I know he is a tactician and that he is very thorough in what he does. We just changed our formation for this game, sometimes it pays off sometimes it doesn't. I would like to think that I know Stephen fairly well and what he likes and what he doesn't like. Whatever I say doesn't go all the time but I'd like to think he tends to listens to me a bit more.
"It has been going really well at St Pats and I have been given the captain's armband as well. I use the experience I gained in Scotland, it made me a better player and more experienced. It played a part in tonight's game when concentration levels have to be high."
The Welshman still keeps in touch with happenings at Dunfermline through Scott Thomson and Calum Woods and he is optimistic that Jim McIntyre has the recipe for success:-
"I think he will do very well. He has all the right attributes of a very good manager. He is going to have its ups and downs like every manager but he can learn from that and take them back up to where they belong. He has lost a few players but given time and a bit of cash he will get them where they should be."
The impressive early-season form for St Pat's -- eight wins from the first nine games -- looked like being a dream move for Bobby Ryan.
"I was delighted to get back to Ireland although I haven't played as much as I'd have liked. The team are doing well, it is enjoyable and I keep a look out for Dunfermline's results. I hope it goes well for them this season they have a lot of young lads and I hope it gives a push to get back to the top flight."
Squad number 17 for Pats was Gary Dempsey. Gary left Dunfermline for Aberdeen in 2004 but two seasons later he found himself at Yeovil Town before returning to his homeland with St Patricks. Gary described his time at Yeovil as a disaster after breaking his foot early on.
"It was an uphill battle. We had just had a wee boy down there when the chance to come back came up. Louise had been away from home a long time and we agreed to go home to be closer to our families. It has been good, I am enjoying it and I am happy enough."
27 year old Gary was just as aware that Bobby and Jamie might have an added incentive to beat Derry given the Dunfermline connection.
"It is a hard place to come up to and we have had a few hidings so it was good to get a result. They are past players now, there was a little friendly rivalry but the most important thing was to get the win."
Another former Par Noel Hunt was not far from Gary's thoughts either as he recalled his Dunfermline days. Having been the best man at Gary's wedding it is now expected that Hunty will get a big move to the Premiership with Reading. "He is doing well and good luck to him."
Gary left Dunfermline after making 98 appearances and be commented about his departure:-
"The ways things were going after the two Jimmies left and Davie Hay and Billy Kirkwood came in; it was a big change for me the training routine and things like that. I wasn't enjoying my football, there was no fall out but I spoke to Davie and he said 'if you are not happy here, move on. I think it was better all round.
"I am happy enough at St Pats. The way we are playing now we can be the best team in the country and we will be there or thereabouts knocking on the door at the end of the season."
Gary Dempsey and Owen Morrison
Owen Morrison was chirpy despite the frustration of having to watch from the sidelines.
"It's good to be home. We started off well and personally it has gone well as well. You can't ask for much more, to get my family home was a big part of it. My girlfriend never really settled in Scotland so it is a big thing to get that right."
A knee injury in the 3-2 defeat against Cork City meant that he had only trained one day before a necessary return:-
"Stephen asked me to go on the bench against Drogheda just in case they needed me. I said 'aye' but that put me back another few days. I went up for a scan and I had an injection today in Belfast so hopefully I will be back training Tuesday or Wednesday."
Owen is pleased to be back with Stephen Kenny at Derry but was disappointed to miss the game against Bobby and Jamie:-
"I had a good game against them last time (Owen scored a spectacular goal from the touchline) and we have some big games coming up and I think I might miss the Bohs game as well."
The Morrison view on Dunfermline's prospects for the new season:-
"I think they will do quite well. If Jim gets the group together, he knows what that league requires."
As for the match that was played in front of the passionate home supporters, recently acknowledged by other fans as "the best supporters in the country". At the interval it was goalless but six minutes into the second half an erratic pass went straight to Keith Fahey who stood out as the best player on the park by far. The midfielder displayed all the touches that had one time interested both Arsenal and Aston Villa to break from his own half before delivering a great ball to Glen Fitzpatrick on the right. Mark Quigley sent the cross beyond keeper Gerry Doherty.
This was just the start however. Doherty made a mess of a clearance and Quigley grabbed a second five minutes from time and completed his hattrick in 88th minute. The Candystripes had no response and suffered a morale damaging defeat to fall five points behind their opponents.
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