Love on the Rocks!

Derry manager Declan Devine. Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography
Derry manager Declan Devine. Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography
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DERRY City’s pre-season campaign has been disrupted but not due to injury, rather to St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th!

ARTHUR DUFFY reports

Indeed, the powers that be at the Brandywell had made provisional arrangements to travel to a training camp in Monaghan on that very date, but yesterday the club received news that it could not be accommodated in any of the local hotels!

And while the club did make representations to neighbouring hotels, it would appear that the border county has been booked out with love very much in the air.

Having discussed the issue at yesterday’s Board meeting, Derry’s C.E.O., Mr. Sean Barrett, has relented and opted to travel on Friday, August 15th for a camp at the now defunct Monaghan United facilities, returning home the following Sunday or Monday.

“Normally we would be based at Johnstown House in Enfield, Co. Meath, but that facility is not available this year as half the GAA clubs in Dublin have it booked out for their own training camps,” said Barrett.

But team boss, Declan Devine, then visited the facilities of the now defunct Monaghan United, and was impressed with what he saw.

“I was impressed with Monaghan’s facilities. They boast a full size Astro Turf pitch which is under floodlights plus a full size training pitch. Given that Monaghan is right on our doorstep, we had arranged to stage our training camp there in February.

“However, we’ve since received a communication that we can’t now travel to Monaghan on the dates we had organised as hotel accommodation has been totally booked out due to the fact it’s Valentine’s Day!!

Derry Players Delighted?

Devine then realised that quite a few of his young players had breathed a sigh of relief when he told them of a switch at Wednesday’s training session.

“When I first announced that our camp would be getting underway in Monaghan, on Thursday, February 14th, with our first training session at 10.00 a.m., a few eyebrows had been raised among the younger members of the squad,” noted Devine.

“I didn’t really take any notice of it, but when I’ve since told them that we’ve opted to put the first day back 24 hours to Friday, February 15th, the decision was greeted with both relief and smiles,” he added.

“We didn’t realise it, but I think a few of the younger lads were under pressure from their girlfriends. It certainly wasn’t something that I had taken into consideration, but now that we are aware of the situation, we’ve relented and we’ll travel early on the morning of Friday, February 15th to avoid any complications.

“I’ve no doubt that the players’ wives and girlfriends will be happy that they will now be taken out for a meal on St. Valentine’s Night but the players must also remain fully focused on what will be an early start on the Friday for the trip to Monaghan.

“Whatever romancing they need to do, they must get it sorted out early on Thursday as Friday will be a tough opening session and they need to be right for that,” laughed the Brandywell boss.

Meanwhile, on a more serious note, Devine was looking forward to next Monday night’s opening pre-season fixture against local Irish League neighbours, Institute, when the sides compete for the annual Billy Kee Memorial Trophy at the Riverside Stadium. Admission to that game is £5 and £3 and the game will kick-off at 7.45 p.m.

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