Declan Devine felt his side’s never say die attitude meant he was a proud Derry man, following last night’s EA Sports Cup Final penalty shoot-out heartache against Dundalk.
The Creggan man believed that his team showed all the characteristics of the Maiden City as they went toe to toe in his opinion against the best team in the country and were just a crossbar width away from ending the Lilywhites treble hopes.
“I’m extremely proud because the players know that we want to fill this stadium and they know what it takes to fill this stadium and the players want to be a reflection of our people,” he insisted.
“The Derry people have had it up the teeth for 50, 60, 70 years and they have had to fight for everything they have ever had and have had to take times when other parts of this country has looked down on them, but tonight everyone did us proud.
“We have three from Top of the HIll, a couple from Creggan, we have Scots men out there, we have Junior (Ogedi-Uzokwe) from London, we have Gerardo (Bruna) from Gran Canaria, but I think our fans tonight should look at those players and say ‘you know what, they fought for everything that we stand for’.
“Ultimately we have come up short but it’s a proud night for us because we have done everything that we possibly can against the best team in the country and only a width of a crossbar denies us tonight, but full credit to the players, they were magnificent.
“Listen Dundalk steam roll everybody, they beat everybody in sight and they are 28 games unbeaten, they have won 25 of those games.
“We lost to a poor goal in the FAI Cup, we have lost to a penalty shoot-out tonight. We are a team that is only thrown together in January, so there should be an unbelievable proudness to this football club tonight.”
Devine, who was part on Stephen Kenny’s back-room team which had memorable 2006 League Cup win over Shelbourne at a packed Brandywell, felt last night’s atmosphere was just as special.
“This is a magnificent occasion tonight and we have just come up short,” he added.
“The one thing that I will say is that I have been at this club for about 14 years of my life and tonight and the cup final in 2006 and there was no difference.
“The stands are full, the people are vocal and we appreciate what they have given and it’s a proud night to be a Derry man because when you see the Brandywell the way it was tonight, then you should stick your chest out, from supporters to players.
“Everybody should leave the Brandywell in a positive frame of mind knowing that Derry City Football Club is a special place.”
Devine, who believes that the standard and talent in the league continues to grow, knows his side will have one more crack at trying to beat Vinny Perth’s men in a few weeks time.
“We have so much to play for and we have so many points that we have to pick up,” he explained.
“We have to play them again and we need three points, that’s the bottom line, so we aren’t taking any great pride out of it, in terms of pushing them, because that’s our job
“We have to push everybody that we play, especially here at the Brandywell, but ultimately we have given them a real good going over at times in the league this year.
“But fair play to them, they’re champions for a reason, but it shows you that we are closing the gap and we attend to work every hour that we can, to continue to close the gap.
“Listen tell me that Irish football isn’t good, that it doesn’t have talent, that it doesn’t have so many talented players who work so hard for each other.”
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