Derry City skipper Eoin Toal looking forward to FAI Cup derby clash at Finn Harps

Derry City captain Eoin Toal says he can’t wait for Friday’s FAI Cup clash at North West neighbours Finn Harps.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 7:00 am
Derry City skipper Eoin Toal.

The Armagh man believes a break from Premier Division action will be nice change as the Candy Stripes try to see off Ollie Horgan’s men and get a cup run going this season.

“We definitely want to keep things rolling, we have now won five games in a row but we want it to keep going,” insisted Toal.

“We have Finn Harps away in the cup on Friday and it’s nice to have a change from the league. Hopefully we can go there get the win and get a cup run going.

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“But just like at Sligo, it’s going to be a tough game at Harps. We enjoyed Saturday night’s win over Sligo, the boys were brilliant, but that’s now put to bed and we start focusing on Harps.”

The 22-year-old, who joined most of the Derry team-mates in the Sligo penalty box during the closing stages, was delighted to see Ronan Boyce fire home that late winner at the Showgrounds.

“You can’t get a better feeling than scoring a late winner and fair play to ‘Stout’ (Ronan Boyce), he got himself in a forward position and tucked it away beautifully,” he added.

“Once we went 1-0 up after a great strike from Joe (Thomson), I don’t think we played that well for the rest of the first half. We conceded just before half-time which was a bit of a sucker punch for us.

“But we came out in the second half and played better, moved the ball better and obviously defended much better so, look, it’s great to get the win as it’s a good three points on the road.”

Derry have either managed to battled for a share of the spoils or secured victories late on in six league games since Ruaidhri Higgins’ appointment in April, a fact not lost on Toal who admits it isn’t by accident.

“We’ve scored a few late goals this season and it’s a great trait to have,” he conceded, “It just shows where our fitness levels are and how much we are willing to dig in for each other.

“It was even better to get a late winner away from home, against a side who are sitting in third. We knew it was going to be a hard game so I’m glad we managed to get the three points.”

The former Northern Ireland U21 international says there was no panic at half-time, instead Higgins simply told his team to get back doing what they were doing in the opening quarter.

“Ruaidhri said we had started really well and were playing really good football. Then, after going 1-0 up, we invited Sligo onto us but Ruaidhri settled us down and told us to start playing our game again, which I felt we did in the second half,” he said.

“They had a lot of pressure in the final 20 minutes of the first half and the goal was coming but we settled ourselves down and went again in the second half. This team never feels to give up and we kept working hard right until the end and we managed to get the winner.”