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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

Derry City ace Jamie McGonigle targeting top spot in scoring charts

Jamie McGonigle has his sights fixed on becoming the Premier Division’s sharpest shooter this season.

But he has praised his Derry City team-mates for providing the ammunition to make it look easy for him.

McGonigle is in red-hot form after smashing five goals in his last two games against St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD.

The Candystripes were ruthless in how they disposed of the sorry Saints in Friday’s 4-0 win at Richmond Park.

McGonigle, 26, scored twice but despite grabbing the headlines, he had Will Patching and Brandon Kavanagh pulling the strings behind him.

And Patrick McEleney and Cameron Dumigan - who scored a screamer from distance - were also maestros in midfield as Derry stretched their lead at the top to three points.

McGonigle has raced to the top of the Premier Division’s scoring charts with nine goals - three clear of team-mate Patching and four ahead of Dundalk’s Patrick Hoban.

“It would be brilliant (to be the top scorer),” he said. “Every season I've played, I've always set the target of 20 goals and I'm on track at the minute to hit that.

“With some of the players playing in behind me in this team, if I make the runs, I know for a fact that they will keep finding me.

“The service is unreal and it's up to me to finish it. Will and Brandon are brilliant - the weight of the pass and the type of pass they play is just on another level.

“They always seem to know the right ball to play at the right time.

“And behind them, Cameron Dummigan and Patrick McEleney, two brilliant midfielders who can pick a pass. It's such a joy to play with players like that.

“Chances are coming my way. There was a drought for a while but I knew if I kept getting into the areas, the goals would come.”

St Patrick's Athletic's Joe Redmond and Jamie McGonigle of Derry City in action during the Candystripes' 4-0 win on Friday (©INPHO/Bryan Keane)

High-flying Derry are still playing down their title chances despite proving to the rest of the league that they mean business.

But McGonigle explained that it is not just manager Ruaidhri Higgins who is hammering home that message - it is coming from senior players too.

“We won't be allowed to get too far ahead of ourselves. The changing room is grounded,” he said.

“There’s enough experience in there to keep everyone grounded and take it a match at a time and see what happens.”

But the former Crusaders and Coleraine forward has acknowledged that Derry’s newly found ruthlessness is a warning to the chasing pack.

McGonigle continued: “At the start of the season, we weren't ruthless enough.

“There were games where we were coming in 1-0 up at half-time but we had four or five chances in the half and just didn't take them.

“Now we're looking a lot more ruthless because we're taking those chances, making the most of the situations for ourselves and punishing the other teams.

Derry City Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins (©INPHO/Evan Logan)

“We were always confident. It's just that sometimes chances may not sit right and you don't get the rub of the green.

“But the last two weeks our performance levels have been at the very top and it's why we're scoring.

“Friday night was a brilliant performance from us, especially away to a team with the quality of St Pat's.

“Our last couple of away games, we probably didn't start the quickest so it was important to get out of the blocks quickly and I thought we did that really well.

“We have a big few weeks coming up with some big games. Friday was the first of them off the list and it's a win.”

Derry boss Higgins played in the same Coleraine team as McGonigle and knew exactly what he was getting when he signed him last summer.

Higgins said: “His game has evolved over the years. I had that luxury of playing with him. I knew his personality and I knew what he could bring to the team.

“He’s a goal scorer, an absolute goal scorer, he’s devastating when he’s in this sort of form.”

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