DEREK PRENDERGAST admits that Shelbourne’s college experience taught them a few key lessons.
Owen Heary’s side made their way to the UCD campus for their third game of the season and they were on the end of a 4-0 drubbing.
Prendergast feels that it was exactly the wake-up call his team needed because, since that defeat, they have gone on a five-game unbeaten run.
The defender, 32, revealed the Shels players sat down together and pledged to get back on track after their Belfield spanking.
He told SunSport: “We never showed up that night. It was definitely a reality check. It was almost good that it happened early in the season.
“Owen Heary is great because he always speaks the truth. He’s so straight and whatever he says goes.
“He didn’t go mad or anything but got his point across. We all sat down as a group and everyone had their say.”
Shels have surged up to second spot in the table and Prendergast has played a key role.
When boss Heary brought him in from Bohemians, it was for his defensive qualities rather than his goalscoring.
But he has managed four goals so far and is joint-top scorer in the First Division.
He said: “God only knows what’s happened there! A few balls fell kindly and I managed to get a few. It’s usually with my head as I’m only ever really up in the box for set-pieces.
I’ve actually got three of them with my feet.
“I’ve just been lucky to be in the right place at the right time when the balls fell to me.”
Prendergast has been impressed by the quality of young players in the second tier since dropping down a division from Bohemians.
The same cannot be said for the quality of the pitches.
He added: “It’s great having all these young lads because they play with no fear. Dayle Rooney is only 19 but he’s the best young player I’ve played with in my career. Even in training he’s our best player.
“The pitches at Cabinteely and Cobh were dreadful. Cabinteely’s a rugby ground.
“I honestly don’t know how they play on it.”
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