Turkey, here we come!

Derry's Michael Rafter (left) celebrates his penalty against Shamrock Rovers on Friday with Barry Molloy. Photo: INPHO/Donall Farmer
Derry's Michael Rafter (left) celebrates his penalty against Shamrock Rovers on Friday with Barry Molloy. Photo: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Derry City boss Declan Devine said he would prefer one more league game before his team travel to Turkey to take on Trabzonspor in the Europa League next Thursday.

The Candy Stripes lost 2-1 to Shamrock Rovers on Friday evening but they remain in second place in the Airtricity League Premier Division behind league leaders St. Patrick’s Athletic.

“When you lose a match the best way to remedy things is by getting back out on to the pitch and picking up three points but we have Trabzonspor to worry about before we can get anymore league wins on the board.”

Derry City will be considerable underdogs when they take on the Turkish Süper Lig team in the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium but it’s a fixture Devine is still looking forward to.

“Of course I’d prefer another league game but this is a chance to profile not only our club but also our city.

“I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on Trabzonspor and only this morning [Saturday] I watched a few DVDs of their recent games - there’s no getting away from it, they are a very good team.

“I’d even goes as far saying that they could be one of the toughest teams Derry City has ever faced over the years.

“They are trying to sign players like Jon Obi Mikel and Florent Malouda from Chelsea - they are a top European side. But we will go there and give it our best and hopefully keep the tie alive for the return leg at the Brandywell.”

Next week’s second qualifying round of the Europa League will be Devine’s first European match in charge since taking over from Stephen Kenny last January.

“I am really looking forward to it because I believe they attract about 26,000 fans to their home games but once it’s over it’s back to the drawing board because then we face Limerick in the league and that’s a game I want to win,” he said.

Meanwhile, Derry City midfielder Barry Molloy said he was at fault for Sean O’Connor’s first goal against the Candy Stripes on Friday evening.

The Hoops took the lead when O’Connor blasted the ball past Doherty in the first half. The Candy Stripes drew level when Michael Rafter converted a penalty after the break, but it was to be the Dubliners’ night as O’Connor netted a second a few minutes later.

“I could have done better for the first goal - it was a soft one to concede,” said Molloy.

“I should have headed the ball into touch as opposed to into the path of O’Connor. I could have played better and I think as a team we could have played better,” he said.

Molloy, who was involved in Derry’s famous winning run in the then UEFA Cup in 2006, said whilst he would prefer to get back to winning ways in the league he is still looking forward to playing in next week’s Europa League game against Trabzonspor.

“It’s exciting and no one needs me to tell them what kind of results we got in 2006 so we have to stay positive. I would be over the moon for the fans and players if we can keep the game alive for the Brandywell leg of the tie.”