Ciaran Coll feels Derry City are capable of closing gap on Shamrock Rovers

Defender Ciaran Coll wants to remain at Derry City for the rest of his career and is targeting a Premier Division winners’ medal before he hangs up his boots.

The 31-year-old, who has signed a new one year deal with the Candy Stripes, is delighted he’s in Ruaidhrí Higgins’ plans for the future.

"I’m over the moon that everything is done and I’m looking forward to properly starting again,” he insisted.

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"We have a massive year ahead, but one that everyone is looking forward to.

Derry City's Ciaran Coll calmly brings the ball out from the back against Shelbourne, in the Extra.ie FAI Cup Final.

"I’m hopeful that I will be staying at Derry now until I hang my boots up. I want to try and get a league medal and Derry have a big chance of going to do that this year.

"It's something I really want to do and, as I said, hopefully I'll finish off at this club because it's a big club and I want to end things on a high."

The full-back is heading into his fifth season at Brandywell and has so far made 110 appearances for the Candystripes.

Despite having a limited amount of minutes last season, the 31-year-old’s experience will be invaluable, especially after former Northern Ireland international Danny Lafferty left the club to join Sligo Rovers.

Derry City's Ciaran Coll in action at Shelbourne last season.
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Coll, who signed for Declan Devine back in December 2018, hopes that the Candy Stripes can follow the likes of Dundalk, Cork City and Shamrock Rovers by winning the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division title, the year after FAI Cup success.

He’s hoping the Extra.ie FAI Cup glory can be the springboard to more success.

The former Finn Harps man, who came on as a late substitute in November's 4-0 mulling of Shelbourne in the Extra.ie FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium, admits their cup glory has given everyone in the squad that taste for more success.

"The cup was a big thing for us to win, we finished the season off on a high winning that and hopefully we start the season the way we finished off in the cup," he added.

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"It's going to be a tough one again to try and close things up but we're more than capable of doing it."

The talented left-back admits he's looking forward to linking up with recent signing Colm Whelan. Coll felt the former UCD man was handful last season when they played the Students.

"With Colm Whelan coming in as well I'm looking forward to getting to play with him. When we played against him last year he caused us a few problems and that's why Ruaidhrí has brought him into the club," he explained.

"But, look, the big thing that we all want to push for this season is the league title."

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For Higgins he was very happy to have the Donegal man back on board for at least another year.

"Ciaran has been a very consistent performer during his time at Derry City and we look forward to more of the same,” said the Derry manager.

“We are delighted he’s extending his stay at the club.”

Meanwhile the Foyleside men will begin a new season away from home for a fourth successive campaign.

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City travel to St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday, February 17th on the opening night of the 2023 SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division campaign and the Donegal man hopes City can continue their good form at Richmond Park.

Last April, the Brandywell men produced their best performance of the season when they secured an impressive 4-0 win over the Saints thanks to goals from Matty Smith, Jamie McGonigle (2) and Cameron Dummigan.

Then, in September, Cian Kavanagh scored his first goal for the club, firing home the only goal of the game with his first touch, after coming on as a substitute.

However Coll's expecting another tough test against Tim Clancy's men, but he remembers fondly Kavanagh's winning strike the last time Derry played at Inchicore.

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"They're all going to be hard games next year but Richmond Park has been good to us," he added.

"The last game down there was a bit of a tussle, so they'll be looking to put something back on us as well from that game.

"Look, to be honest every ground is going to be very hard for us.

"We've all been training away and everyone is working really hard with our off season programme."

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Meanwhile the remaining Premier Division games on February 17th see Cork City’s return to the top flight begin with a home clash against Declan Devine’s Bohemians, UCD travel to Dundalk and FAI Cup beaten finalists Shelbourne host Drogheda United.

Champions Shamrock Rovers begin their defence also on their travels at Sligo Rovers on Saturday, February 18th.