Derry City v Crusaders, The Oval, 4pm
(Tickets available from Brandywell 10am-4pm, 9pm-11pm in the Derry City Social Club)
City travel to Belfast tomorrow aiming to return back down the M2 with the Setanta Cup trophy and the title of All Ireland Champions. In their way stand the men for the Shore Road, in the form of Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders side.
The Candystripes will be looking to shrug off their recent disappointing League form and hope to rediscover performances which saw them knock out Linfield and Shamrock Rovers in earlier rounds. However Declan Devine and players are well aware of the threat that the North Belfast side pose.
Devine has been in Switzerland for most of the week with his UEFA Pro Licence requirements, but he spoke to Kevin McLaughlin of the Sentinel.
“The Setanta Cup Final is a perfect place for our players to show the supporters what this club is all about,” admitted the Derry boss.
“It would be a fantastic achievement for everybody at the club to push on and win this trophy.
“We said at the start we wanted to compete for every trophy and the Setanta Cup is the first cup that is up for grabs and to win would be fantastic for the football club.
“Our league form has been a wee bit indifferent, but I think in this competition we have been outstanding.
“To go and beat the two champions of both associations have been a fantastic feat for us but there is no point getting to cup finals, if we aren’t going to go on and win it.
“People don’t remember the qualifying rounds or the losers of finals, if we want to be remembered as the first Derry City team win an All Ireland title, then we have to make sure that we turn up and perform to the best our abilities,”.
Devine has a number of selection headaches with long term absentee Stewart Greacen being joined by Mark Farren and Kevin Deery in recent weeks. However the boss hopes to have Shane McEleney and Owen Morrison in contention and also welcomes back Patrick McEleney from suspension.
Stephen Baxter saw his side fall to Linfield in the Irish Cup final, a game watched by City assistant boss Paul Hegarty, but will look to motivate his side to finish the season on a high. Players like Rainey, Coates and Dallas has been instrumental in their run to the final and City need to vigilant of the threat posed by their opponents tomorrow.
However with two first time finalists making up an Irish League v League of Ireland clash in the final, there is a lot to look forward in tomorrow’s tie.