City announced that Declan Devine will replace Stephen Kenny as First Team Manager this evening.
With his elevation to the top job, we take a look at the new manager’s history on and off the field.
Declan Devine is a local, and in tonight’s press conference mentioned his pride in getting the opportunity to manage his home town team.
The 38 year old is one of a select band of players to have played for and managed Derry City. Furthermore, he was a squad member when City last lifted the League of Ireland trophy in the 1996/97 season. Indeed his assistant Paul Hegarty was a vital part of that squad and was also part of the backroom set-up with Devine during the first Stephen Kenny era.
Declan started his career with Ipswich Town but was unable to make the breakthrough at Portman Road and returned home. As a player Declan plyed his trade with a number of Irish League clubs as well as the Candystripes and won the Ulster Young Footballer of the Year Award in 1994 when playing for Roy McCreadie’s Omagh Town side. Devine was capped right up to U-21 level with Northern Ireland, winning an U-21 cap against Romania in 1994.
The keeper tasted success with Glentoran, helping the Glens to defeat Glenavon in the Irish Cup final in the 1995-96 season. However in the close season Devine moved to Brandywell where he provided backup to Tony O’Dowd as City steamrolled their way to the title. Devine was restricted to a limited number of appearances and his highest profile appearance was that in the FAI Cup final. City, aiming for the double, were rocked with the news of the sudden death of the younger brother of Tony O’Dowd just days before the final and Devine stepped up to take his place between the sticks. City were defeated 2-0 by Shelbourne in Dalymount in a weekend where football very much took a back seat.
Devine remained at Brandywell for the start of the 97/98 season but again found his opportunities limited and returned to Omagh Town. However Devine was on the move again at the start of the next season and ended up with Institute, one of many players who have played for the two clubs in the City.
Having stopped playing at the end of the 01/02 season, Devine became involved in coaching at an underage level. He returned to Brandywell as the Youth Development officer in 2003 and was initially involved in the delivery of the community coaching and Football in the Community programmes which were run by City at that time.
The installation of Gavin Dykes as manager meant a promotion for Devine as he was recruited as first team coach. Dykes who had also been a team mate of Devine during the League winning season was able to spot the coaching talent and Devine was now part of the first team setup.
Stephen Kenny opted to retain Devine as first team coach when he arrived on Brandywell and the back room setup, including Paul Hegarty guided City to successive second places finishes as well as success in the FAI Cup, League Cup and memorable European adventures. It was little surprise when Kenny, who had spoken highly of his assistant, lured Devine to join him at Dunfermilne when he left for Fir Park.
On Kenny’s return Devine also followed and he was instrumental in guiding the team to the First Division title and a third place finish in the 2011 season.