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Derry City eyeing St Pat’s challenge

By Peter Hutcheon

Published 07/11/2008

The force is with Derry City as they stalk St Patrick's Athletic in the bid for the eircom Premier Division runners-up spot.

It'll all be over a week tonight and in that time City play three times — including Monday's rearranged game with their rivals at Richmond Park.

Derry round off their campaign next Friday at home to Cobh Ramblers for what will be manager Stephen Henderson's last match in charge of the almost doomed club.

First up, though is a trip to Shamrock Rovers this evening.

It's not quite a must-win encounter but should they lose tonight, Pat's would have a six-point advantage if they beat an already relegated UCD in Dublin going into those final two matches. Pat's will round off their campaign against demoralised reigning champions Drogheda who this week became the latest League of Ireland side to be deducted points for going into examinership this season.

Cobh, on the other hand, will have every intention of giving Henderson a grand send-off with the popular manager deciding to call it a day because of the financial difficulties they are facing.

With Kenny in charge Derry City have never finished lower than second place in the premier division, although in both 2005 and 2006 they were in contention for the title right up until the last day of the campaigns.

Finishing second or third is academic in terms of qualifying for Europe and third place at least is now assured with the ten points Drogheda lost this week.

Their closest challengers are now Cork City nine points behind — they too suffered a ten-point deduction — with just two games left to play.

Cork did City a huge favour with their 1-0 win over Pat's during the week, lifting themselves a considerable achievement after their Setanta Sports Cup success over Glentoran at the weekend as following their points deduction they have nothing left to play for. It was a second successive league defeat for Pat's giving Derry, who have won both of their last two, real hope that they can still catch up.

Belfast Telegraph

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