FOR THE second time this year Derry City’s Ally Roy has been denied the chance to appear in a cup final.
The Scottish striker is ineligible to play in Sunday’s 2018 EA Sports Cup decider against Cobh Ramblers at Brandywell Stadium.
It’ll be a frustrating watch for the recently capped Northern Ireland U21 forward who is cup-tied having played just 27 minutes for Sligo Rovers in the Bit O’Red’s second round win over Galway United back in April.
He admits it’s a real ‘kick in the teeth’, especially given he’s already missed out on the Scottish IRN-BRU Challenge Cup Final last March for Dumbarton whilst on loan from Hearts, having agreed on a switch to Sligo Rovers.
Roy had played a major role in getting the Scottish League One side to the final of that competition, netting the second in a 2-0 win over Raith Rovers in their last eight clash before his loan deal expired and he returned to Tynecastle.
And having witnessed his Derry City teammates clinch a first cup final appearance since the unsuccessful 2014 FAI Cup showpiece, it’s been a mixture of emotions for the Airdie native who will miss out on a winners’ medal should Kenny Shiels’ men do the business on Sunday.
However, after a whirlwind couple of weeks where he’s received an international call-up for the N. Ireland U21s for games against Luxembourg and Tuesday night’s magnificent win over Spain in Albacete, he’s hoping the Candy Stripes can round it off by lifting a first piece of silverware since 2012.
“I can’t play in the cup final unfortunately,” he said. “When I was at Sligo I only played 27 minutes or so and then came off so it’s a kick in the teeth.
“I didn’t feel like I properly played in the cup,” he added. “I wanted to play in the final but that’s the rules and there’s no getting around that.”
It’ll come as no consolation for Roy but an interestng aside came this week when UEFA moved to abolish the cup-tie ruling in all European competitions next season.
It’s hugely frustrating that I miss out but I just have to get on with it and hopefully I can still get an FAI Cup winners’ medal.Alistair Roy
“It’s so frustrating,” he added. “For me personally it’s the second cup final I’ve missed out on this year because, before I went to Sligo, the team I was on loan at (Dumbarton) were in a cup final and I missed out on that because I moved to Sligo.”
For the record, Dumbarton lost 1-0 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in front of 4,602 people at McDiarmuid Park in that IR-BRU decider.
Roy is hoping strong favourites Derry City can see off First Division opposition on Sunday afternoon in front of what’s expected to be a sold-out attendance so they can go into next Wednesday’s FAI Cup quarter-final against Bohemians at Brandywell in confident mood.
That’s a competition which takes on greater significance for Derry and for Roy who is desperate to finally get that cup final day out.
“It’s hugely frustrating that I miss out but I just have to get on with it and hopefully I can still get an FAI Cup winners’ medal. I can’t think that far ahead right now. We have to concentrate on the cup final coming up and then straight into the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup.
“I know the club has a very good record in cup competitions and obviously we want to continue that. It’s a good way of getting into Europe as well so hopefully we can keep that alive.”
It’s been an exciting start to life on Foyleside for Roy who signed a six month deal in the summer which keeps him at Brandywell until the end of the season.
He got his Candy Stripes career off to the perfect start when netting the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Limerick at Brandywell on July 6th and went on to make his Europa League debut against Dinamo Minsk and score his first European goal in the impressive second leg win in Minsk. He also netted four goals in the record breaking 12-2 win over Blarney United.
His club form earned him an international call-up to Ian Baraclough’s U21 Northern Ireland squad as his decision to move to Brandywell paid off.
He started last Thursday’s 1-0 win over Luxembourg, playing 63 minutes before being replaced by Glenavon’s Mark Sykes but was an unused sub in the impressive 2-1 win over the Spanish at the Estadio Carlos Belmonte.
“I enjoyed my time in Sligo but I needed a new challenge and to push myself that bit extra and that’s what I did when I chose Derry.
“Playing in Europe was a really big thing for me and obviously I got the goal in Minsk which made things better for me personally.
“Playing for Northern Ireland was also in my plans,” he explained. “I never expected to get called up so soon but playing against Luxembourg was a very proud moment for me.”
So while Roy will be cheering on his teammates in Sunday’s Cup Final at Brandywell, he’ll also be readying himself for Wednesday’s FAI Cup quarter-final with the dream of a big day out at the Aviva Stadium on November 4th to the forefront of his mind.
And after a crazy few weeks for the young Scot, he can be forgiven for getting carried away with himself.