Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins disappointed after FAI Cup defeat

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins was bitterly disappointed after his side exited this season's Extra.ie FAI Cup, after losing to Finn Harps for the very first time in the competition.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Saturday, 28th August 2021, 10:03 am
Updated Saturday, 28th August 2021, 10:04 am
Derry City's Bastien Hery keeps his eye on the ball as Finn Harps striker Tunde Owolabi closes in. Picture Kevin Moore/mci
Derry City's Bastien Hery keeps his eye on the ball as Finn Harps striker Tunde Owolabi closes in. Picture Kevin Moore/mci

Last night's encounter at Ballybofey was the sixth meeting between the sides in the cup and Tunde Owolabi's winning spot-kick was Harps first goal against their North West neighbours in the FAI's blue ribbon competition.

"I'm really, really disappointed, I thought we were quite laboured at times and it didn't mirror our last month and that's the most disappointing thing," he insisted.

"However I'm not going to stand here and tear strips off the players and I didn't in the dressing room either, because they have been exceptional and they have been a joy to work with but we just need to use this defeat as ammunition and use that hurt in our bellies at the minute to drive us on for the remainder of the season."

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Finn Harps match winner Tunde Owolabi fires home his penalty Derry City goalkeeper past Nathan Gartside. Picture by Kevin Moore/mci

Higgins admitted his players lacked composure as they didn't produce the goods on the night, despite coming into the game on a fantastic run of form.

"It was flat and we lacked a wee bit of composure on the ball and I don't think Gerard (Doherty Finn Harps Goalkeeper) had a save to make until around the 80th minute or something like that and that was the most disappointing thing," he added.

"We lacked a wee bit of individual responsibility in key areas and again that's not to be critical of the players it's just how the game went and that was the slightly disappointing thing.

"We just didn't create enough, nowhere near what we have created in recent weeks and to be honest Finn Harps were set-up really well and nullified our threats, but in saying that I don't think they have had an awful lot at the other end and I thought it was a very even game, not a lot in it but they have got the penalty, put it away and gone through."

As for Tunde Owolabi's second half penalty, the Derry boss stated that he would need to watch it back again, to see if Ronan Boyce had fouled Ryan Rainey inside the box when attempting to clear his lines, but he wasn't shocked that referee Rob Harvey did award the spot-kick.

"I don't know if it was a penalty, I have to see it back, but I wasn't surprised that he gave it," stated Higgins. "Look we shouldn't have let the ball bounce in the box, but anyway we have made a mistake and we have been punished for it.

"Again it's learning and as we have a lot of young players in the group and they have to learn from these moments and it's moments like that, which decide games and unfortunately we have been on the wrong end of it."