Players went through pain barrier to win it!

FAI Ford Cup Final, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4/11/2012'St. Patrick's Athletic vs Derry City'Goalkeeper Ger Doherty and Derry City players celebrate after the final whistle'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Cathal Noonan
FAI Ford Cup Final, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4/11/2012'St. Patrick's Athletic vs Derry City'Goalkeeper Ger Doherty and Derry City players celebrate after the final whistle'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Cathal Noonan
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DECLAN Devine held the view that his players’ “legs had gone” after St. Pat’s Athletic had equalised in the 87th minute and he had feared the worst.

DECLAN Devine held the view that his players’ “legs had gone” after St. Pat’s Athletic had equalised in the 87th minute and he had feared the worst.

“When they made it 2-2 with three minutes to go, memories came flooding back of the Setanta Cup Final, but the players stood tall and despite their weary limbs, continued to battle,” he said.

And having deployed an old Stephen Kenny trick before extra-time had commenced, Devine also held the view that such a policy had worked in the past.

“I took the players over to the far side of the pitch where the largest grouping of our support was. It’s something Stephen (Kenny) had used in the past, suggesting that the players, despite their fatigue, would feed off the enthusiasm of the supporters,” continued Declan.

“As expected, our supporters certainly played their part, generating that same enthusiasm and the lads did feed off them and got a lift before extra-time had started.”

But what did he say as he prepared to get his troops ready for another 30 minutes play.

“When they scored I really did believe the legs had gone, the goals shocked us. We just asked them to try and score one more goal because we believed that would be enough for us to win the match.

“The St. Pat’s players were also struggling and we could see that for ourselves. The next goal would win the match but again the players pulled out an amazing effort. They faced an enormous test of their character and they passed that test with flying colours.

“The victory speaks volumes for the effort put in and it also says quite a lot about the character of this group, dominated by local players. They never gave up despite the setback and I think the presence of so many Derry City supporters was so, so important to us in that regard I felt.

“As manager of my home town club, I feel so proud to have managed this excellent group and I’m so proud of each and every one of them,” continued Devine.

Devine also referred back to his regular comments throughout the season, particularly during the injury crisis, suggesting that a full strength Derry City team would compete favourably with all the top teams in the Premier Division.

“The victories over Dundalk, Shelbourne, St. Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers proved that,” claimed the Creggan man. “Yes, the momentum was with us going into the final, but we still had to perform and perform we did.

“I said during the week that the cup would not be won by 11 players, it had to be a full team effort and that’s exactly what it was. Our substitutes certainly played their part - Rory, Ruaidhri and Ryan - all entered the match at significant periods and they had to perform and perform they did,” smiled the manager.

“I also looked to young Ryan Curran, who has been excellent in his first season. But Ryan didn’t make the squad having sustained an knee injury during the week and wasn’t part of the official party. But, like the other teenagers who played in the first team, he got his winners’ medal and I think he enjoyed the occasion despite not being involved.”

Good Luck To Mark Farren

And Devine also expressed his thanks and good wishes to Mark Farren, who will now leave the Brandywell club and join Irish League club, Glenavon.

“I would dearly have loved to have brought Mark on, and we had hoped to do just that given his service to Derry, but once Stewart Greacen limped off there was nothing we could do about it.

“Ryan McBride had to step in and as he was our third a final substitute, Mark was not going to get his final appearance in the Cup Final. But, on behalf of all Derry City supporters, I wish him well for his future in the Irish League. He faces a new challenge in his career and I’ve no doubt that Mark will make an immediate impression and continue his uncanny knack of scoring goals,” declared Declan.

“He’s Derry City’s all-time record goal scorer with 113 goals to his credit and I doubt if that record will ever be surpassed.”

The Derry boss also expressed his thanks and good wishes to Eugene Ferry, a young goalkeeper who, unfortunately for him, was “kept out by the best goalkeeper in Ireland at the moment.”

“Gerard Doherty doesn’t miss too many matches, but Eugene has been with us both as a supporter and a player for so, so long. We’ve seen him in pictures in the ‘Derry Journal’ banging a drum in the stand and singing his heart out in the ‘Jungle.’

“He’s a great lad, a quality player and great credit to him and his family for the loyalty he continues to show to his home town club. Eugene will now move to Sunderland to team up with good friend and former colleague at the Brandywell, James McClean, where he will work with Sunderland and play junior football at weekends to keep himself fit.”

And on Simon Madden, Devine had not yet given up hope. “Simon has moved out of his rented accommodation following the completion of the contract, but he will be in Derry celebrating with us for the next few days and I haven’t given up hope on keeping him just yet.

“Over the next day or two we’ll sit down and have a chat and see what develops. Now that we are in all the big competitions next season, including our return to Europe, who knows what might develop?

“He has been a integral part of our set-up this season, so we’ll see what develops. I’ve no doubt the lad has options and it will be down to him as we would obviously like to keep him on board.”