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Derry City fired up by knockout pain

By Peter Hutcheon

The memory of last season's shock FAI Cup exit at the hands of Wexford Youths is burning deeply in the memory as Derry City prepare to take on Finn Harps at the same stage of the competition at the Brandywell this evening.

Then manager Stephen Kenny was accused of complacency by fielding a severely understrength side for the tie, not something Declan Devine intends to repeat.

The fact that the game is against their Donegal neighbours adds a little more spice to the occasion but having lost out in one final — when Crusaders came out on top on penalties in the Setanta Sports Cup earlier this month — they are intent on putting that right as soon as possible.

One clear indicator that Devine is taking the match as seriously as possible is that they have denied Harps permission to play centre half Thomas McMonagle, who is currently on-loan from Derry to the Ballybofey club.

The cup tie comes after Derry completed three league wins in a row with a 3-2 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Brandywell on Monday evening.

And the mid-season break can't come soon enough for boss Devine.

“Monday night's display showed great character from a group of very tired players,” he said.

“It was our fourth match in nine days and to have taken nine points, especially after having gone a goal down and looking dead on our feet, I'm delighted.

“I am extremely proud of a bunch of young players who have gone from the heartache of losing a Cup final to responding with nine points to push us up the table again.

“Very rarely in this league do teams win three games in a row in such a short period of time.”

Harps will be without former City striker Kevin McHugh for the game as he is suspended.

But Derry are pretty much back to full strength with only long-term injury concern Stewart Greacen and skipper Kevin Deery out of the equation at the minute.

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The George Best Carryduff Manchester United Supporters' Club, organisers of the recent Harry Gregg Testimonial at Windsor Park, are holding their 21st AGM tonight at 7pm in the Ivanhoe Inn, Carryduff.

Existing members are invited along to renew their membership for season 2012-13. New members are also welcome.

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