Ruaidhri Higgins wants Derry City to make FAI Cup history after defeating Athlone

Ruaidhri Higgins wants his players to make history this season by becoming the first Derry City squad to retain the FAI Cup.
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The Candy Stripes boss saw his side sail relatively smoothly into the hat for the second round draw after a late brace from Brandon Kavanagh and Michael Duffy put the seal on a 3-0 victory over Athlone Town on Sunday at Brandywell.

The victory continued the club's recent love affair with Irish football's blue riband trophy and with Shamrock Rovers, Sligo and Shelbourne all exiting at the first hurdle, Higgins believes his players should be a "greedy" when it comes to chasing cup medals.

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"We spoke about it before the game," explained the City boss, "I remember saying to the lads before the first round last season, 'You're four games away from the Aviva, the showpiece event'. Today was about getting 25 per cent of the job done and we've done it.

Derry City players celebrate Will Patching,' goal against Athlone. Photo: George SweeneyDerry City players celebrate Will Patching,' goal against Athlone. Photo: George Sweeney
Derry City players celebrate Will Patching,' goal against Athlone. Photo: George Sweeney

"And why not win it back to back? It would be a monumental achievement but you have to be greedy for medals. Everyone! We have to be really greedy because in 10 or 15 years time all you have to look back on is memories and medals. I know it is really early to be talking about it but our ambition is to try and win the cup again."

The Limavady man admitted it had been a frustrating afternoon for the cup holders until the second half introduction of Patrick McEleney proved the catalyst for a strong finish which finally finished off the first division side.

"A lot of players got much needed minutes and now everyone feels completely involved," added Higgins, "It has been great; a big European victory with a clean sheet, a cup victory with a clean sheet and it has been great to get everyone involved.

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"I thought in particular the enthusiasm Patrick McEleney showed coming into the game. He has won so many trophies and the quality he showed, the enthusiasm, he just give us a completely different dimension. That's why he's one of the top - if not the top - player in the country. It is great to be able to have him contributing in the later stages of games because you see the impact he can have.

"Diallo and Patching were always coming out after an hour because of the game the other night. As I said, it has been a good exercise in relation to sharing the minutes round."

Having made seven changes from the side which defeated HB Torshavn on Thursday, Higgins was delighted to get much needed game-time into players ahead of this week's European clash with KuPS Kuopio.

"We are in a good place thankfully. I shouldn't have said that aloud but we have really good numbers available to us now and quality to match. We are in a good place. The players will go and do a recovery session now, have tomorrow off and then we come in on Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready for Thursday.

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"(We are) Looking forward to it. We have a lot of work to do tonight and tomorrow in relation to preparation and making sure we are set up right. We have home advantage on Thursday so let's go give it a rattle."