Derry City manager, Declan Devine, dismissed Shelbourne’s reaction to the postponement of the match between the two teams which was scheduled to take place yesterday evening.
The game, which was due to take place at the Brandywell, was postponed by the FAI after Derry City applied to have the game moved after first team players Barry McNamee and Michael Duffy were called in the Republic of Ireland U21 and Northern Ireland U21 squad respectively.
Moments after it was announced that Duffy had been named in the squad to face Belgium in a European Championship qualifier on Monday, the player revealed on social networking site, Twitter, that he was doubtful to feature in the game. On learning this news, Shelbourne contacted the FAI and Derry City and asked for the game to go ahead as originally planned.
“Look, it’s as simple as this, had Michael Duffy, Barry McNamee and Joshua Tracey (who was called up to the Northern Ireland U19 squad earlier in the week) been available they would have featured against Shelbourne,” confirmed Devine yesterday.
“There’s not another club in the country with three international players away on international duty so we were well within our rights to make the application to the FAI.
“I don’t really care about Shelbourne - the only thing I care about here is what’s best for Derry City Football Club and if the shoe was on the other foot I am sure Shelbourne would have done the exact same thing.”
Instead of concentrating on the decision to postpone the game, Devine was quick to praise the three players for their achievements.
“I think the fact players like Joshua Tracey can still play for the U17 and Michael Duffy who can play for the U19 are being called up into the U19 and U21 squads is a great sign for Derry City F.C.
“Joshua only joined the club this season and along with Michael and many other players at this club they represent what can only be described as an exciting future.”
Barry McNamee, who has been filling in at left back recently, will hook up with the rest of Noel King’s Republic of Ireland U21 squad when they travel to the Showgrounds in Sligo on Monday to take on Germany.
“Barry McNamee has worked so hard this season and I am delighted to see him get another call up to the U21 team.
“There’s no doubt about it, had the Shelbourne game gone ahead we would have been seriously depleted because of the players away on international duty.”
On Thursday, Devine, Chairman Philip O’Doherty and players Rory Patterson and Ruaidhri Higgins took part in a questions and answers session in the Derry City Social Club.
It was an event that had been in the pipeline for quite a while but there was extra pressure on all those involved because of recent poor results in the Airtricity League Premier Division.
“I took part in fan’s forums in Scotland and I think they can be very constructive. I thought Thursday’s questions and answers session went well and I listened to what the fans had to say.
“The way I look at it is that Derry City F.C. is owned by the fans and I think it’s a good thing to meet up and talk about things. I was delighted with how Ruaidhri Higgins and Rory Patterson conducted themselves because I don’t think there is another two players at the club who get as much criticism as they do. But credit to the two lads, when I asked for players to volunteer both Ruaidhri and Rory were the first two people to come forward - they don’t shy away from anything.”
The Candy Stripes’ next match is not until next Sunday when they travel to the Showgrounds to take on Sligo Rovers in the quarter-final of the FAI Ford Cup.
“The way I am looking at it is like this, the break in play gives us the chance to get players like Shane McEleney and Barry Molloy ready for the Sligo Rovers game next week. It’s going to be a tough game but hopefully with the right amount of organisation and a wee bit of luck we can get a result.
“Kevin Deery and Stewart Greacen are still out but hopefully when we go to Sligo next week we will have a full quota of players to pick from,” he said.