Players go for “Gift of the Gab” but only after kissing goodbye with win

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DERRY City players have been presented with the perfect opportunity to get the “Gift of the Gab” when they visit the village of Blarney in Co. Cork this weekend.

However, the “Candy Stripes” must first open their defence of the Ford FAI Cup at O’Shea Park and, just to show his respect for Blarney United and, indeed, the FAI Cup itself, team boss, Declan Devine, will arrive with his strongest possible squad.

Blarney, who play in the Munster Senior League, are situated about six miles outside Cork City and while they have already played Derry in this competition in the past, tomorrow afternoon’s match will prove the highlight of their season. (Kick-Off: 3.00 p.m.)

The visitors, obviously, will start odds-on favourites to win the match and while Thomas Crawley (groin) and Sean Houston (ankle) have been ruled out, it’s expected that Paddy Kavanagh will return to action on the right flank.

Barry Molloy shipped a heavy knock to the knee against Cork City while Dermot McCaffrey is also doubtful with a groin problem.

“The full first team squad will travel to Cork,” confirmed Devine last night. “We intend to use the weekend as another bonding session and while our strongest team will start the game, I’m hopeful of giving players who need games a run-out,” he added.

Derry Captain, Kevin Deery and centre-back, Stewart Greacen could both secure starting places given their lack of games over recent weeks while young Michael Duffy, who continues to impress both in training and in matches, is also in line to get vital game time against the Co. Cork minnows.

“We will prepare for the Blarney match with the same intensity and focus as we would should be we playing a Premier Division team,” claimed Devine.