DUNDALK head coach, Vinny Perth paid tribute to the people of Derry for standing together in solidarity in the aftermath of journalist, Lyra McKee’s tragic murder in Creggan.
Deviating from his usual football related match programme notes for Dundalk’s clash with Derry City at Oriel Park on Friday night, Perth said he hoped that ‘in time, for the people of Derry, her untimely passing is the start of a new beginning.
The Lilywhites coach, who spent a short spell working for Derry City Football Club under Stephen Kenny as head analyst and chief scout, also offered to reach out and support the people of Creggan in any way possible.
“I’d like to start with a special mention for Lyra McKee,” read his match day article. “In the aftermath of her very sad death in Creggan, the people of Derry have stuck together and shown the real community spirit that exists in that city.
“Derry City FC has always been in the centre of that community. If there is any way that we can help them as a club, or as a community, we will.
“Looking at recent media reports and speaking to people in that area, they are very much standing up for the community.
“I hope that in time, for the people of Derry, her untimely passing is the start of a new beginning.”
It was an article written very much in the style of former Dundalk and Derry boss, Kenny.
And Perth, who was the Ireland U21 boss’ assistant at Oriel Park, in the same article also praised Derry City and Strabane District Council for awarding club legend, Jim McLaughlin the freedom of the city.
He suggested the town of Dundalk should offer the Brandywell native a similar honour for his services to the local club.
“I have only ever had two or three occasions with Jim,” continued Perth. “I always felt that I was meeting a real legend.
“It is that feeling you get whenever you meet one of your idols. When you meet people like Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or whoever your idol is. It is the same feeling as that. To this day I still feel that Jim is the greatest football person that I have ever met.
“I know he comes from Derry and Derry City have been very kind to the League of Ireland. Not only with Jim but Derry City as a football club have been good to the league itself and have been a huge part of it.
“I feel that Derry City and Dundalk have a unique history and bond.
“Jim McLaughlin is right in the middle of that. Jim is being given the keys to the city of Derry. That is fantastic for Jim and rightly so. Maybe that is something that we could look at in Dundalk.
“He would deserve that. He has been great for the league and the town here and it would be deserved for him.”
Perth, who has former Derry City midfielder, Ruaidhri Higgins as his assistant at Oriel Park this season, also heaped praise on current Candy Stripes boss, Declan Devine for the ‘remarkable job’ he’s done since taking over from Kenny Shiels.
“It’s a little known fact but I did some work for Derry City for over a year when Stephen Kenny was there. I operated as their head analyst and chief scout.
“Declan Devine was part of the staff there at the time. I didn’t have a lot of interactions with Declan during that time but we always had a good working relationship.
“I think the job he is doing at the club is remarkable and he has got Derry back to where they should be.”