BRANDYWELL boss, Stephen Kenny, will enjoy a “double” celebration this weekend, the Dubliner marking his 40th year on Sunday, two days after completing what has been a remarkable season for Derry City!
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Having secured a third place finish in the club’s return to the topflight of Irish football and entry into the 2012/13 Europa League, Kenny will reflect back on what has been a significant campaign, his almost all-local outfit remaining in the title race until the final furlong.
And while I opted not to mention the fact that he celebrates the grand old age of 40 this Sunday, it’s clear that he would like to bring the curtain down on the 2012 campaign with a victory over Bohemians this evening. (Kick-off: 7.45 p.m.)
In fact, the powers that be at the Brandywell have also given local supporters an offer they couldn’t refuse when offering a one-off special “BOGOF” deal for the final match of the season - buy one ticket and get another one free!
Those wishing to take advantage of the final day offer, will be presented with a second ticket after purchasing a match ticket from any of the usual Derry City outlets or, indeed, at the Brandywell tonight.
Derry City vice-chairman, Mr. Sean Barrett, insisted that the special one-off offer had nothing to do with the manager’s birthday celebrations - he wasn’t aware of Kenny’s personal circumstances - but felt it was important that the team which represented the club so faithfully during the current campaign, was entitled to a special ‘send-off’ from supporters for their efforts this season.
“Given that we have so many local players in the squad and, at the same time, continue to develop local talent within our Academy and underage teams, we believe that our supporters would like to express their thanks to the team for the effort put in this season.
“To win the First Division with an all-local side and then find ourselves competing for the Premier Division title with four matches remaining was a sensational effort,” said Mr. Barrett.
“Our Board of Directors certainly appreciate the sterling efforts of Stephen (Kenny), his backroom staff and the playing staff who, it must be said, performed above our expectations in what has been a highly competitive season.
“We’ve finished third in the league to secure our place in next season’s Europa League and having also won the EA Sports Cup, we’ve qualified for next season’s Setanta Sports Cup, so it’s been a very successful campaign and we’re delighted about that,” added Mr. Barrett.
“The fact that we sold one of our best players obviously had an effect during the latter stages of the campaign, but given where we’ve come from, we believe the success of the season on the pitch was beyond our expectations.”
The vice-chairman was hopeful that, thanks to the special ticket offer tonight, as many supporters as possible would be present in the Brandywell to thank the manager, staff and players for their “loyalty and determined efforts” to bring Derry City back to the prominence it has always held.