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Candystripes can use European exploits as inspiration against champions, insists Hale

By Gary Ferry

Derry City head to champions Cork City tonight hoping that the feat of defeating Dinamo Minsk can push them on to greater things domestically.

Although the Candystripes exited Europe 3-2 on aggregate against the Belarusians, the nature of the victory has given rise to the hope that Derry City can now get their domestic season back on track after a difficult two months.

Ronan Hale, who came off the substitutes' bench to score his first ever European goal against Minsk, believes that if Derry can perform and win away from home in the Europa league, there is no reason why they can't raise their game in the remainder of the current season.

"Everyone was thinking we were going out there and we were beaten but the team knew we would have a chance and we went over and won 2-1 against a top team," he said.

Despite that disappointment, Hale believes that the result has given the club a huge boost and he is hoping his team mates can take that into Turners Cross this evening against champions Cork City.

"For any team it would be hard to go out and beat Minsk but we beat them and while it was disappointing to go out we can take the positives out of the victory," he continued.

"We're still in the cup and the League Cup semi-final so there's still silverware to be won so hopefully we can take that into Cork and get another three points.

"We were 2-0 down against Cork the last time and for any team to bring it back to 2-2 it's brilliant.

"We had a few errors on the day but now we know that we can go and take them and get the win."

Meanwhile, boss Kenny Shiels expressed his pride for his players, who overcame significant odds to pick up the club's fourth European victory away from home.

"I'm very disappointed but the players deserve so much credit," said Shiels.

"The commitment levels were high and the passion to get through was there.

"I thought we were slightly the better team if I'm honest. The explosive way we played I thought was very good.

"Ronan Hale had an opportunity and Aaron Splaine got in behind them but didn't have the legs. We were very attack minded and it shook them up. It should've been 2-0 and then it went 1-1 and in their favour.

"There was 10,000 loud, vocal support.

"They actually booed their team off and applauded us off the pitch at the end."

He added: "To play in front of a big audience I was so proud of the players. They gave every ounce.

"Everybody was cramping up. They were absolutely exhausted."

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