Belfast Telegraph

Candystripes trust in their ability to stun favourites Dundalk

Hold tight: Derry City manager Declan Devine (left) and Dundalk boss Vinny Perth with EA Sports Cup ahead of tomorrow night’s final at the Brandywell
Hold tight: Derry City manager Declan Devine (left) and Dundalk boss Vinny Perth with EA Sports Cup ahead of tomorrow night’s final at the Brandywell

By Eoin Wilson

Barry McNamee has emphasised the importance of trust among the Derry City players as they bid to retain the EA Sports Cup against a rampant Dundalk at the Brandywell tomorrow.

Despite having home advantage, City are underdogs going into the final, with Dundalk on a 26-game unbeaten run as they attempt to become the first team to win a domestic treble since the Candystripes back in 1989.

Vinny Perth's side have been too good for all comers this season, only faltering on two occasions against Derry City, and those two draws, coupled with last month's dramatic FAI Cup tie between the sides, has given rise to hope that City can upset the odds.

Skipper McNamee said: "We've been together all year and we have gelled together well. It's a big game and we trust each other to go out and trust those on the bench and trust the coaching staff. There's a lot of trust here and, at the end of the day, it's a big game and it's up to us to go and deliver.

"We know we're underdogs and that we're up against it. They are a great team, one of the greatest in the history of the League of Ireland. We've pushed them tight a few times this year and we've been unlucky against them a couple of times - we got a few draws and we were unfortunate (to lose) in the FAI Cup.

"They are coming into the game with a lot of confidence but, at the same time, they know how difficult it is going to be."

A key subplot is Dundalk's march towards the treble, with City fans desperate for their team to stop the champions elect from securing the first leg of the feat achieved only by Jim McLaughlin's Candystripes 30 years ago.

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"The fans first and foremost want us to just win the cup final, but it would be a wee added bonus for them as it would keep Derry as the only team to win the treble," McNamee said.

"That hasn't been spoken about by us though, that's something Dundalk are looking at but we're not trying to stop them winning a treble, we're trying to win the cup for ourselves. It will be a great night for the club. The club won it last year so obviously want to retain it, but, more importantly for this group of players, we deserve to play in big games and they don't come much bigger.

"A lot of the players here probably haven't won a senior final before so it's one for a lot of players to tick off."

City will be without defender Darren Cole, while Greg Sloggett, injured in the FAI Cup clash against Dundalk last month, is struggling to be fit for the game.

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