Several thousand Derry City fans gave their team a rousing welcome back home with the FAI Cup tonight.
Guildhall Square was packed to see manager Declan Devine and the squad return from Dublin, where they beat St Pat’s 3-2 yesterday in a gripping FAI Cup final in the Aviva stadium.
And for City’s legions of supporters, it is a case of first Aviva Stadium, then Guildhall Square, next forward into Europe!
Derry City club chairman Philip O’Doherty told the crowd of his pride at leading the club to FAI Cup success and, as a result, European football next season.
“We intend on getting into the group stages of Europe,” he said to cheers.
Supporters clubs’ flags billowed in front of the walls as the team arrived to strains of ‘We Are the Champions’ and, of course, ‘Teenage Kicks’.
Those tense faces from the Aviva were replaced by wide smiles, tired eyes and victory songs by the time the party reached Guildhall Square at 7pm.
There, City’s manager Declan Devine, assistant manager Paul Hegarty and the playing staff were greeted with cheer after cheer as they were reintroduced to the best supporters in Ireland.
(more coverage on the homecoming in tomorrow’s Journal, plus stories, pics and more, including a souvenir eight-page pullout)