Derry City back in European competition after cup win

Derry City cup final
Image caption Derry City skipper Kevin Deery kisses goalscorer Rory Patterson after he scored what proved to be the winning goal

Derry City do not like to do things the easy way when it comes to cup finals.

Especially when it comes to finals against St Patrick's Athletic and Sunday's game was no exception.

The last time they met in the decider was 2006 when Derry trailed three times before winning 4-3.

On Sunday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, City only trailed once, but they did concede a late equaliser before winning the game in extra-time.

The win capped an amazing turnaround in Derry City's fortunes.

Only three years ago they were expelled from senior soccer for financial irregularities. On appeal they were merely relegated to the First Division, but the future was by no means certain.

Promotion at the first attempt, a League Cup win, and now the FAI Cup in the trophy cabinet means the club's future is secure, but not all of it has been plain sailing.

At half-time in the semi-final against Shelbourne, Derry, a goal down, were booed off at Brandywell at half time. But they earned a replay, won it, to set up Sunday's cliffhanger.

The silverware aside, the win also means Derry City are back in European competition next season, a potential moneyspinner.

For manager Declan Devine, it was a personal triumph as an indifferent league season left some asking if he was the man to lead the club.

That question has now been answered and Devine is added to the list of local men who have led the club to FAI Cup triumph, Jim McLaughlin, Felix Healy and Kevin Mahon.

"Apart from when my two children were born this is the greatest day of my life.

"I am very proud we are able to bring this club back to where I think they belong, winning major honours, getting back into European football.

"This is the best feeling in the world, I am the happiest man in the world.

"I have been saying for a few weeks that this wouldn't be won by 11 players it would be won by a squad and you know what, everyone of them have won a medal, i am delighted."

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