'I thought Derry City's name was on the cup' - Ruaidhri Higgins
Dundalk’s assistant manager Ruaidhri Higgins claims he thought Derry City’s name was on the EA Sports Cup.
The Limavady man said he, like so many people at the Brandywell on Saturday night, was thinking back to the 2006 League Cup Final as soon as Saturday’s decider headed to penalties.
Higgins played in that final against Shelbourne when nine men Derry saw off the Dubliners following a dramatic penalty shoot-out on a memorable night at Brandywell Stadium.
“We were down to nine men that night and we took it to penalties, I played and hit a penalty and that was a special night,” insisted Higgins.
“It was one of my most special nights of my career, I loved it.
“I’m not going to lie, that night did go through my head, that maybe Derry’s name was on the cup but our lads held their composure and obviously hit some good penalties. We got the job done, probably not in the way we would have liked to have, but we got the job done.”
Higgins was playing down any talk of the domestic treble and not so cagey in his praise of Declan Devine’s current Candy Stripes squad which he says reminds him of old Derry sides.
“This Derry team reminds me of the Derry City teams of old. They do not know when they are beaten and it has been a conversation that we have had over the last week, that Derry keep going, they keep going and going and that’s credit to everybody involved with the club,” added the Dundalk number two.
“Their perseverance and passion mixed with quality players meant it was a tough night for us but we had a job to do and thankfully we got it over the line
“It was the first trophy available to us this year.
"Every game now for us is a step closer to success and it’s a boring thing to say, but we have to look at Waterford on Friday. There are three points available and if we can win, it keeps us at least 10 points clear with five games to go. It puts us in a massively strong position and it would another game chalked off.
“Our aim at the start of the season was to retain the league title and have a good run in Europe. We didn’t have a good run in Europe.
"We were unlucky with the draw, there’s no doubt about that but retaining the league was the number one priority and if we go on and win the treble, and it’s a big if because there’s a lot of work to be done between now and the end of the season, but if we did manage that, then it would be a monumental achievement.
“It has only been done once by Derry City Football Club, some 30 years ago, so that shows the difficulty in achieving it but I don’t want to be talking about it because it’s too far away.”