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Darragh’s debut

The Republic of Ireland international reflects on his first appearance for the club five years on!

21 April 2020

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Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan made his debut for the club five years ago today.

But the Irishman admits his big break may have passed him by, had he decided to travel down to Southampton to play for Rovers’ Reserves.

Thankfully, Lenihan, who was 21 at the time, opted against the long journey to the south coast and instead found himself thrown into first team action following an early injury to Matt Kilgallon in a game against Millwall at Ewood Park on April 21st 2015.

Late goals from deadly strike duo Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede sealed a 2-0 win for Gary Bowyer’s side that day and it marked the start of an impressive spell in blue-and-white for Lenihan, who has gone to play 157 games in Rovers’ colours since.

“It was a bit of a surreal moment, because there’s a story behind it,” said the 26-year-old, when asked about what it was like to make his Rovers bow.

“I was meant to travel down to Southampton with the Reserves. The first team played Millwall at home on the Tuesday and I think the game against Southampton was meant to be on the Wednesday.

“Gary Bowyer, who was the manager at the time, asked me if I wanted to travel with the Reserve team to Southampton, but I thought no, I fancy my chances to play for the first team.

“So anyway, for the game against Millwall, I was on the bench and Matt Kilgallon went off injured after half an hour and myself and Lee Williamson were warming up.

“Gary Bowyer then shouted down to Lee Williamson, but then Terry McPhillips said ‘no, no, no, Darragh you come down’ and that’s how I made my debut.

“I think we won 2-0 and then I made my full debut against Huddersfield away, and then my full debut at home against Ipswich on the last day of the season.”


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