DECLAN Devine may be delighted to be travelling to Turkey for Derry City’s Europa League first leg clash, but the travelling party can expect an exhausting trip taking up to 13 hours!
And while direct holiday flights to Turkey can take up to four and a half hours from Belfast, the “Candy Stripes” must travel from Dublin to ensure a direct flight to Istanbul.
From there, the party face an hour or two stop-over before boarding another plane which will take them to Trabzon - a flight taking an additional one hour and 30 minutes!
“First and foremost, I think it’s important that we attempt to keep the game alive for the second leg at Brandywell,” he said.
“Make no mistake about it, we all realise the enormity of the task having been drawn against a team playing in one of the top European leagues, but we intend to give it a go.
“But there are other factors which were important as our main priority this season centres on our own league challenge.
“Had we played the first game at the Brandywell, we would be travelling home from Turkey and then face an important league game against Limerick in Thomond Park on the Sunday after the Thursday match in Derry.
“So to arrive home from Turkey on the Friday and then set sail for Limerick on the Saturday would, in my view, have placed us at a major disadvantage and I certainly didn’t want that,” he declared.
“As it now stands, I’ve been informed that the Limerick match, originally to be played on the Sunday, is to be rescheduled, so we will have a free weekend after the second leg.”
Derry will travel to Turkey on Tuesday, July 16th, play the game on Thursday and return home immediately afterwards, travelling through the night to arrive in Dublin in the early hours of Friday morning.
However, the home match against St. Pat’s on July 19th has also been postponed.