Champions League place still a possibility for Derry
Published 24/01/2007 | 14:45
Derry City hope to learn this week if they will replace Shelbourne in the Champions League.
Both Derry and the side they defeated in the FAI Cup, St Patrick's Athletic, have been given notice that they could be representing the League of Ireland in the Champions League and Uefa Cup respectively.
Champions Shelbourne have lost the vast majority of last year's squad because of financial difficulties which may very well lead to them being denied their place in Europe.
Derry will definitely be competing in Europe next season as their cup final and second place in the league guaranteed them a place in the Uefa Cup for the second year running.
But obviously they would prefer to compete in the more lucrative and high profile Champions League.
And the Irish authorities will probably be sympathetic to their cause as presently Derry have a much greater chance of emulating their success of last year when they won two rounds in Europe than a Shelbourne club which is falling apart at the seams.
Derry were honoured by the Belfast Telegraph at Monday evening's annual sports awards ceremony at the Ramada Hotel for their success both home and away last season.
As well as winning both knockout cup competitions - both in thrilling style - they finished runners-up in the league only on goal difference to Shelbourne and, of course, reached the first round of the Uefa Cup after knocking out Gothenburg and Gretna.
The club insists that preparations for the new season continue to go well, but as yet new manager Pat Fenlon has been unable to bring in any new players to the Brandywell.
With the transfer deadline beginning to loom large, that must be something of a worry after the contracts of so many players from last year were not renewed.
Derry still have a strong squad, but the manager still needs to add at least two or three players before the start of their campaign.