It was very much a case of mission accomplished for Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, who extended his club’s impressive record against the students of UCD following Friday night’s slender FAI Cup victory at Belfield.
And the “Candy Stripes” record at Belfield makes impressive reading as Derry City have not lost at the south Dublin venue since April, 2005.
With progression to the FAI Cup quarter-finals high on the agenda of the powers that be on the Lone Moor Road, Devine was obviously delighted with the result afterwards but disgusted that his towering central defender, Stewart Greacen, controversially saw “red” for the second time this season.
However, given that Derry’s last F.A.I. Cup Final appearance dates back to 2008 when the club was defeated on penalties by Bohemians in the RDS, the Creggan man had high hopes that the “Candy Stripes” could take part in the 2012 showpiece which is due to be held in the Aviva Stadium this season.
“Obviously we’ve experienced an inconsistent league programme due to a number of factors, so a run in the FAI Cup would, no doubt, give our supporters something to cheer about.
“And having travelled to Dublin with just one recognised striker in the squad for the UCD match, plus the fact that we lost Dermot McCaffrey due to a strained hamstring just before the game, I think a victory at Belfield has given everyone a lift,” said the team boss.
“We also opted to use Ryan McBride as a defensive midfield player on the night, but the players stood up to the challenge and produced an excellent performance which saw us through to the last eight,” declared Devine.
“I felt we could have been much more ruthless in front of goal as we dominated for good spells. However, this was all about getting the victory and getting our name into the hat for the quarter-finals.
“We’ve certainly got what it takes to compete with the best in the league, but we still have our injury problems which have dogged us this season.
“However, we’re not seeking excuses or anything like that. It’s all part and parcel of the game and while we may have been hit hard, other players have been given a chance to come in and express themselves.
Now enjoying a winning run, the Derry boss heaped praise on the supporters who travelled to Belfield on Friday night, many of whom had watched Derry play in Bray the previous Monday evening.
“So many of the teams who travel to play us at the Brandywell, arrive with very little support, yet when we go on the road we are always followed by a loyal band. I think that shows the quality of supporter we have behind us and the players certainly welcome it.
“It’s certainly not cheap to follow your team around Ireland, but everywhere we play our supporters are always there with us. I can only hope that we will continue to get results and produce good performances to keep our supporters happy.”