DERRY City received a timely boost last night following Friday night’s frustrating defeat at the hands of relegation threatened UCD.
Talented centre-back, Aaron Barry, has been cleared to play in next month’s FAI Cup Final having had a consultation with a knee specialist in Ballykelly.
The 21-year-old sustained “a slight tear” to his cartilage and while he will go under the surgeon’s knife in due course, his place in the cup final squad has now been assured.
“I’ve been told the injury can be managed, which will make me available for the FAI Cup Final if I’m selected,” confirmed the player.
“It’s a small tear and, as our club physio, Michael Hegarty, told me, the injury could be managed and then dealt with after the cup final,” added Aaron.
“It’s a bit of a relief, but I’ve now got to concentrate on a fitness programme and not necessarily be involved in daily training sessions.
“I will be doing work on the bike and in the gym to keep me ticking over as I must continue to keep my fitness levels up.
“The consultant confirmed that I will have a small operation, a case of tidying the cartilage up through keyhole surgery. He told me there shouldn’t be any problems, provided the injury is managed properly,” continued the defender.
“Danny Ventre has recently returned to fitness having had been out with a similar problem. He’s had his operation, but I don’t think my tear was as bad as his was.”
Having made a total of 38 competitive appearances this season, the Arklow native and Ventre, are the only two remaining players signed by former boss, Roddy Collins and both are keen to be involved in the cup final.
“Obviously I’m delighted to hear the news as every player hopes to be be involved in a cup final and I’m no different.
“I picked up the injury in the semi-final against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium and I was a bit worried about it, but now that I can make myself available, I hope to play my part against St. Pat’s.
“It’s a massive game for us and while Derry have already played in the Aviva Stadium two years ago, hopefully I will get my chance.”
Barry has already figured in a big final in England when contracted at Sheffield United, In fact, he was part of the “Blades” FA Youth Cup final squad which faced Manchester United a few years ago.
“It was a two-legged affair which was played in front of 30,000 people. We drew the first match 2-2 but lost 4-1 in the second losing out 6-3 on aggregate.”
With the Barry family circle expected to travel up from their Co. Wickow home on November 2nd, Aaron said he can now “give 100 per cent” to his training programme and start to focus on the final.
“We have just one more league match remaining against Bohemians this Friday night, but I’m not sure if I will figure at Dalymount. The important thing was to be told that I would be fit enough to play in the final, so I’m delighted.”
Happy to have settled in well on Foyleside, Barry is also currently involved in negotiations with Derry City in relation to the possibility of securing a new contract.
“My deal will be up after the FAI Cup final and while I’ve spoken to the club in relation to a new deal, I think we’ve more or less agreed to concentrate on the FAI Cup final first and see what develops after it.
“As I’ve already said, I’m very happy in Derry and I have settled in very well so, we’ll wait and see what develops over the next few weeks,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, it’s understood that Barry McNamee faces a race against time having experienced the recurrence of a groin problem which kept him sidelined over recent weeks.
The Ramelton central midfielder, pulled up during the latter stages of the first half against UCD and was immediately replaced by Sean Houston.
FAI Cup Final tickets are available in all local Derry City Ticket Outlets from today.