Derry City have qualified for next season’s Setanta Sports Cup.
The Candy Stripes finished the 2012 Airtricity Premier Division campaign in fifth after Cork City lost to St. Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin on Friday evening.
Derry were due to take on Monaghan United on Friday evening but due to financial difficulties the Gortakeegan based club went out of existence and Declan Devine’s men were forced to sit out the league’s final game week.
Derry reached the final of the all-Ireland Setanta competition this season and lost on penalities to Irish League side Crusaders at the Oval in Belfast.
Declan Devine’s men take on St. Patrick’s Athletic in the final of the FAI Ford Cup at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin next Sunday.
Derry City captain, Kevin Deery, believes that the Foylesiders could benefit from the Dublin side’s “tough game” with Cork City on Friday night.
“St. Patrick’s Athletic will have to take a few days to recover from their game with Cork City on Friday night so hopefully that will work in our favour. I would rather be in our position. Alright, we had no game this weekend but we still feel fresh and everyone’s working really hard in training.”
Derry replaced the Monaghan United fixture with a training match against the reserves on Friday evening at the Brandywell. The match was also used as an opportunity for the players to meet with young supporters and their families ahead of next weekend’s showpiece in Dublin.
“It’s important for the future because we haven’t really had many young people coming to the Brandywell in recent years so if through events such as this one we can address that then it has to be a good thing”, the City captain added.
“In the last few years of Stephen Kenny tenure as manager here we visited many schools to encourage the young people to come to the Brandywell to watch us. With the cup final next week we are doing the same thing so hopefully when the time comes it will convince a lot of people to come out and support us in Dublin. It’s important that we keep the community focus going all throughout next week.”
Derry City manager Declan Devine faces the tough task of deciding who will start in the final next Sunday. Deery said that it was “nice complaint” for the manager to have and added that competition for places is at an all time high.
“It’s a nice complaint for Declan to have because he hasn’t had that luxury for most of the season. He’s had to bring in reserve players in the starting 11 and he’s been filling the bench with reserve players but that’s changed in the last few weeks. The vast majority of those who have been injured are back now and I think Declan probably has his strongest squad of players to pick from all season. I am sure he is delighted that he has 18 or 19 senior squad players to pick from next week,” he said.
The 2013 Setanta Sports Cup will comprise of Airtricity Premier Division clubs Sligo Rovers, Drogheda United, St. Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Irish League clubs Linfield, Portadown, Glentoran, Coleraine, Cliftonville and holders Crusaders.