DECLAN Devine has opted to stick rigidly with Derry City tradition, by refusing to identify the starting panel for Sunday’s Ford FAI Cup Final, until after the team meeting in the club’s Dublin hotel tomorrow night.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And with Devine’s team selection have engendered so much public debate, a local bookmaker has opted to take advantage of the situation offering special odds on the selection or, indeed, non selection of one of the Brandywell club’s rising stars.
Barry McNamee, a 20-years-old player from Ramelton, has stormed to prominence over recent games, having graduated through the Derry City Youth Academy and with many members of the Brandywell Faithful keen to see the player start in the Aviva Stadium, others have opted to err on the side of caution and go for experience instead.
However, during our interview yesterday, Devine refused to buckle under pressure, insisting the team would “be named on Saturday night after the players’ meeting.”
With that in mind and taking it for granted that confidentiality would not be breached by the Brandywell boss, Tommy McBride, the proprietor of McBride Racing believes McNamee will be a confirmed starter following tomorrow night’s meeting.
“We believe that Barry (McNamee) will secure a starting position given his recent appearances,” claimed Mr. McBride. “He’s 4/5 to start and ‘even money’ not to start,” he added.
“Over the 90 minutes, we believe St. Pat’s are the favourites to win and we’ve priced them at 21/20 with Derry at 11/4 and 9/4 the draw. However, the price to win the cup outright after extra-time and/or penalties, the prices are St. Pat’s 1/2 and Derry City 6/4,” he concluded.
It could prove very interesting if the Derry manager or, indeed, a representative of the manager, paid a visit to the Whitehouse premises of McBride’s Bookmakers this morning to place a same wager on the McNamee situation!
Team to Tour Aviva
On a more serious note, Derry City have arranged a special visit to the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night for a tour of the facilities, Devine leaving nothing to chance.
“We wil have a light session in Derry before leaving on Saturday morning, but we’ve arranged a tour of the stadium on Saturday night just for the players to get a feel of the place and stroll out on the pitch.
“It’s a fantastic stadium and we don’t want to leave anything to chance. Our young players will get an important feel of the place and we also hope to get into the dressing room area and have a good look around,” he added.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve been involved with a very happy group of players who, I must admit, are totally relaxed and all eagerly looking forward to the game at hand.
“And may I take this opportunity to ask our magnificent supporters who are travelling this weekend, to let themselves be heard from the first half. Please get solidly behind the team and let the opposition know you are there as we need every possible advantage.
“I’ve been informed that we have attracted significant support and I’d like to publicly acknowlege that support given the difficult times we live in.”
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