Kenny Shiels so proud of Derry City despite suffering more semi-final woe
Kenny Shiels expressed his pride in his young Derry City team despite last night's failure to get past Dundalk and into this season's FAI Cup final.
The Candystripes were eliminated in yet another semi-final - they lost at the same stage of the League Cup - in a tantalising last-four replay encounter at the Brandywell last night, which ended 2-1 to Dundalk.
"There's a frustration and a disappointment and everyone's feeling down because there was so much commitment and endeavour and hard work which went into the game," Shiels explained.
"Over the two games I thought we were the better team, but there are lots of positives. The players gave everything and when they do that, then the city is proud of them. You could feel that the supporters were proud of them and I feel really sorry for the players and the staff because there was so much effort put in."
City have reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and the FAI Cup this season despite a crippling defensive crisis, and Shiels admitted that it may well have taken its toll at last.
"We lost our two centre-halves (Ryan McBride and Aaron Barry) at the beginning of July and we have had to play three full-backs in the two games," he said.
"It's so hard to organise disorganisation and we have done it tremendously well. It's not often you can pat yourself on the back but to play so well while massively understrength was brilliant."
Meanwhile, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was thrilled to lead his team to yet another cup final, keeping the Lilywhites on course for consecutive league and cup doubles.
"We were disappointed to concede early," he said. "That wasn't our best display but we showed a different way to win.
"We showed good determination and patience. We were never comfortable. Derry were always in the game but we scored a great goal to win it, which was worthy of winning any game."