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Title defence is not Rover

KILLIAN BRENNAN believes that his Shamrock Rovers side have turned the corner in a difficult season with last Friday's win away to Derry City.

The Hoops came up with their first win in six league games as Ronan Finn's second-half strike was the only goal of the game in Derry, a much-needed confidence boost for Rovers who feel that they can rejoin the title race -- Rovers were 10 points off the pace at one stage -- if they can now win away to UCD in their next game on Friday, with a crucial clash with league leaders Sligo Rovers on the way after that.

"Sometimes you only need one win to get your season going and I think that win in Derry will kick-start our season now," former Derry player Brennan told the Herald.

"We have had a hard few weeks, we all know that, and the pressure was on us but we can go into the next few games with a lot more confidence now that we have won.

Champions

"It won't be easy, we are the champions and every team that plays Shamrock Rovers from now until the end of the season will be trying to beat us and cause us problems so we'll have to deal with that.

"We have a massive week ahead of us now because we have to beat UCD in Belfield on Friday and that's not an easy thing to do. But with the points from Derry behind us we have real confidence going to UCD and we could have a little run of form behind us as we head to play Sligo.

"That was a massive win for us, we really needed that after what happened in the European game earlier in the week. It was very disappointing to go out of Europe the way we did, we needed to put that behind us and get back on track in the league and I think we have done that now.

"In the last few games there has been big pressure on us and, being honest, we didn't deliver but we stood up to everything in Derry on Friday and got what we needed."

Kenny said after the game that his players showed character by recovering from their travel problems -- the Rovers squad only arrived back into Dublin in the early hours of Wednesday morning but had to travel again, on Friday, for the Derry game, a theory that Brennan backs up.

"It was a hard week for us, losing in Europe like that and then having to make the trip north to play Derry," he says. "We had no real time to feel sorry for ourselves. We were all a bit down on the Wednesday but we picked ourselves up in training on the Thursday, there was a good tempo to the session, and we went to Derry and did what was needed."

Kenny reacted to the European defeat by making three changes to the side in Derry with Brennan one of those demoted to the bench, though the former Bohemians man did come on as a sub.