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McHugh's joy and relief as Derry land Cup glory

By Peter Hutcheon

It takes a cup final to bring out the best in Derry City and once again they did not disappoint their fans on another memorable Brandywell night.

And it required a stunning goal from Kevin McHugh to see off Bohemians in an epic game which went to extra time.

"I knew it was going to take a wonder goal or maybe something from a setpiece to win it," the striker said after the game.

"Thankfully for me I was able to take the chance when it came along.

"We were all out on our feet but there's something about cup finals that really gets this bunch of guys going and we did it once again.

"It was a great game to win and it means everything to us.

"Having it played here at home helped us and it was great to be able to win it for the fans after the season we've had."

McHugh's strike seven minutes into the first period of extra-time was one worthy of settling any cup final.

As he pointed out, he didn't have many chances but when the opening presented itself to him he rifled in a shot to the top right corner.

It was Derry's third League Cup final win in a row and the fifth successive Cup final they have played and won, a run which includes two FAI Cups, the last one in December when they edged out St Patrick's Athletic in a 4-3 thriller which also went to extra-time.

There was no need for the penalties which Derry needed to win this competition at the same venue last year. But this was a more important success as it puts Derry through to a play-off with the first division champions - quite possibly neighbours Finn Harps - for a place in next year's Setanta Cup. Not qualifying for that through the league is a bitter pill for Derry to swallow after the successes of the past few years and after another recent run of four defeats on the trot, manager John Robertson will be hoping to end the season on a high after last night's performance.

Derry chairman Hugh McDaid said: "It was going to take something like that to win because both defences were excellent. But it was a great final, a very entertaining game and Bohemians were unlucky to lose it."

Belfast Telegraph


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