Watts the story in Derry glory – Bradley on Dylan Watts’ vital contribution to Hoops win over Derry and their season so far

Dylan Watts has played in all bar one of Rovers' matches this season

Dylan Watts has played in all bar one of Rovers' matches this season Credit: Thomas Flinkow (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from Roadstone

The game was finally balanced last Friday night in the Brandywell until a five minute second half Shamrock Rovers spell saw Dylan Watts combine with Aaron Greene twice to take the game away from the Candystripes.

In the 57th minute, Watts supplied the through ball for Greene to get the Hoops opener and five minutes later the duo combined again as Watts delightful pass allowed Greene grab his second of the game and his sixth of the season. 

Watts has been a crucial player for the Hoops this season, with the club’s lengthy injury list meaning the midfielder has played in nine of their ten league games so far this year including eight starts.

extratime.com asked Stephen Bradley about Watts’ contribution to Rovers' campaign when speaking to the Hoops Head Coach in their Roadstone Academy on the eve of their game against Shelbourne.

“He’s been brilliant, Dylan, he really has,” said Bradley ahead of Monday’s match where Rovers can go top of the table for the first time this season if they can beat Shels.

“I think some of his passes this year, if they were made in another country...like in the [FA Cup] semi-final yesterday, people would be raving about them. 

“I don’t think some of the stuff he’s doing is getting the plaudits and respect it should.

"That second ball for Aaron [Greene], I know people might just see it as a ball in behind, but when you look at the angle it is played, when it hits the ground, the check he’s put on it, that small detail, if he doesn’t do that, it runs through to the goalkeeper.

"The fact that he spins it to check it for Aaron is different level.”

Watts, who turned 27 earlier in the month, joined the club in 2018, winning the FAI Cup the following season and has been a vital part of the four-in-a-row success for the Hoops. The player made his 150th league appearance for Rovers in their last home game – the 3-0 win over Sligo Rovers. 

“He’s shown real maturity, Dylan this year, he’s been so consistent in his performance. Some of his play, some of his passing has been a joy to watch, and then on the back of it, his workrate, he’s winning tackles and doing all the bits that Dylan needed to learn as a midfielder in order to play every week. 

“He’s doing that now, when you look at the level of detail he’s putting the passes, our goal at Tolka came from him playing Graham [Burke] in behind, again that type of pass, some of his passes have been really good level.”

Watts’ defense splitting pass in Galway created the space for Darragh Burns to cross to Johnny Kenny for the winner in Eamon Deacy Park. 

“In Galway too, that pass he played; that level of pass, again when you play in midfield, you know the detail that has to go into passes. It is not just clipped in behind. There is real thought. It is not just a through ball.”