DERRY City will have two players representing the club in Harry Gregg’s Manchester United Testimonial match between Manchester united and an Irish League Select at Windsor Park on May 15th next.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The game, which has been organised by the Carryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club, will celebrate Gregg’s 80th birthday this year and all proceeds will be donated to charity.
The Premiership champions have agreed to bring over a full strength squad to face the Irish League Select squad, to be managed by Sunderland boss, Martin O’Neill, who will be assisted by Linfield manager, David Jeffrey.
The Brandywell club was contacted yesterday in relation to releasing two players and the “Candy Stripes” were delighted to have been asked.
It’s believed the Irish League Select squad will be made up of two representatives from Premier League teams, plus two from Derry City.
Commenting last night, Derry boss Declan Devine, said it was very important that the “Candy Stripes” play its part in honouring the legend that is Harry Gregg.
“Obviously we are delighted to have been asked to release two of our players for the Irish League squad to play against Manchester United.
“It is not only a great honour for the club, but also a great honour for the players selected but that decision will be down to both Martin O’Neill and David Jeffrey,” added Devine.
“We have assembled a talented squad for the 2012 Airtricity League season so it will be interesting to see which two players will be selected.
“But we’re happy to go along with it as Harry Gregg remains a legend of the game in the North-West area and his assistance in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958 made us all very proud.
“Harry has watched games at Institute, where his son John was manager and at the Brandywell down the years so to be asked to play our part in celebrating his 80th birthday is an honour for Derry City.
“Add in the fact that all proceeds will be donated to charity and I think that says quite a lot about the character that is Harry Gregg,” declared Devine.
While the Irish League season will have been completed by May 20th, Devine was also conscious of the fact that the Airtricity League will be in full flow.
Indeed, Derry will face two matches away from home during that particular period with back-to-back trips to Monaghan United (May 11th) and to Bohemians (May 18th).
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Obviously, our injury situation will be a pivotal factor in relation to which players are selected, so we’ll have to wait and see what develops at that time.
“But I don’t foresee any problems and we’ve since informed the organising committee that we are delighted and honoured to have two representatives included the squad,” continued the Derry boss.
In fact, the Lone Moor Road club had representatives playing in the Pat Jennings Testimonial fixture at the same venue quite some time ago.
Former manager, team captain and playmaker, Felix Healy and striker, Liam Coyle, both played in the Pat Jennings game which took place during the 1990’s.
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