DERRY City appear to have discovered a novel way to bond new players into the Brandywell set-up if the antics which took place during last weekend’s pre-season training camp in Monaghan are anything to go by!
In fact, the “Candy Stripes” first team squad have become something of an Internet sensation following their special sketch - Derry City FC Harlem Shake - which received almost 16,000 “hits” on ‘youtube’ at the time of going to Press last night!
According to Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, the sketch introduced no shortage of laughter and fun during the weekend camp with senior player, Barry Molloy, the star performer assisted by players both old and new with everything professionally captured by the sketch’s film director, Ryan McBride.
“They certainly acted the ‘Candy Men’ and when the coaches viewed the sketch later in the day, I must admit we certainly had a laugh or two,” said Devine who openly welcomed the sketch.
“I’ve been informed the sketch is something that is now considered fashionable on the Internet and given that we have quite a few young players who are all up to speed when it comes to modern technology, it was certainly something different.
“Training camps are all about bonding, introducing new players to an established group and camaradrie is a big part of game these days.
“The players had a good laugh at themselves and the sketch has certainly captured no shortage of attention. It’s a bit of craic to be honest and we’ve all had a laugh at it since,” added the Derry boss.
“It may have come as a major surprise to Paul Hegarty and myself, but we laughed at them shaking all over and a good laugh now and again doesn’t do anyone any harm.”
Adding that he didn’t want to see his players “perform like robots,” he welcomed the light-hearted prank.
“Playing football is also about enjoyment, particularly enjoying the company of your fellow players.
“It’s about camaraderie, wanting to play well together as a unit and focus on the same objectives, so there was a place for the sketch in our pre-season activities and everyone appears to have enjoyed it.”
High Intensity Training
However, Devine was also happy with the serious work accomplished in Monaghan.
“We had seven sessions - three on Friday, three on Saturday and one before we left on Sunday.
“The entire first team squad took part and the intensity of each session was very high, so I think it’s fair to suggest that the players were very tired each evening,” continued Devine.
“I think the quality within the squad continues to improve and the new lads have mixed in extremely well with the rest of the squad, so travelling to Monaghan was a very good idea and the facilities were perfect for us,” he maintained.
“We now need match practise and I’m looking forward to hosting the N. Ireland Amateur International team on Wednesday night (tomorrow) at the Brandywell. That squad will be made-up of players operating in the Irish League’s Championship Division, so I’m hopeful that it will prove to be a good test for us.
“We then travel to Ballybofey this Sunday for a game against Finn Harps (2.30 p.m.) before playing Institute next Tuesday night at the Riverside Stadium.
“It’s then onto our Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final, which will be played on Monday, March 5th with the Airticity League season kicking off in the Brandywell four days later.”
Admission to tomorrow night’s game is £5 (adults) with under-16’s free.
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of Gerard Doherty’s elevation into the N. Ireland senior international squad, quite a few of Derry’s talented youngsters are also attracting international attention.
Barry McNamee has been called into Noel King’s Under-21 international squad which will play an Ireland Amateur Squad at the A.U.L Complex in Dublin this Saturday while youngsters, Michael Duffy and Conor Tourish have also been called into the Republic of Ireland Under-18 squad, managed by Paul Doolin, which will travel to Wales next week for an international challenge game.
And two other youngsters, Conor Barr and Ryan Harkin, have been included in the N. Ireland Under-18 Schools’ squad which will entertain their Scottish counterparts in Dungannon this Friday.
Devine welcomed the attention, but agreed that young players would also lose out in his pre-season preparations which was not ideal.
“Our young players continue to receive international recognition which is great as we want to see every player develop to his full potential and be the best they can be,” continued Devine.
“We have no less than seven ex-Derry players involved in international set-ups and that doesn’t include Eamon Zayed, with Libya, but getting young players called up in pre-season can cause us a few problem as we want the squad to train and perform together, particularly the new players.
“However, the other side of the coin is that some of the players selected actually come back from international duty with a spring in their step having been involved with top quality full-time players, so it’s important that they get the opportunity to represent their country.
“I’ve spoken to the international managers and while I appreciate where they are coming from, I’ve also got them to understand my feelings on players being selected regularly. Hopefully there will be a good understanding between us,” he concluded.