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Kenny Shiels resolves to ease FAI Cup pain by earning Euro spot

By Eoin Wilson

Kenny Shiels insists that third place and European football would be just reward for Derry City players for their efforts this season.

The Candystripes' hopes of FAI Cup glory ended on Tuesday night with a 2-1 defeat to Dundalk in the semi-final replay at the Brandywell.

The loss was a heart-breaker for Shiels and his players, but the boss is now urging his team to steal third place from Shamrock Rovers to end the season on a high.

"We want to get third place now," said Shiels. "It would be an injustice if we didn't finish third. If we did manage that we would finish third in all three tournaments. I think we deserve that.

"I'm not saying that Shamrock Rovers don't but I think that the commitment and effort that everyone has put in is deserving of something positive. We have to go to Longford this weekend and get a performance definitely."

Shiels remains sore over the manner of City's Cup defeat, insisting that a poor penalty call changed the game in Dundalk's favour. Derry were leading 1-0 through a Ronan Curtis goal before Robbie Benson went down under a challenge from Niclas Vemmelund, leading to Ciaran Kilduff's equaliser from the penalty spot. It was a call which should never have been made, insisted the City boss.

He said. "It's amazing. He's fallen and it's not a penalty. If I'm wrong I'll hold my hand up but he fell over. The guy just went over. What do you do?"

Asked the difference between Dundalk winning and Derry losing, a despondent Shiels said: "Changing the referee was a big thing for me.

"I can't get myself into trouble but you saw it yourselves what went on; a player being able to get away with incitement and a player taking a dive in the penalty box. It's outside my control because if I give you my honest appraisal of the performance then I'm in trouble and I'm not going to fall into that trap."

Meanwhile, Derry City defender Conor McDermott will miss Saturday's game at Longford as he is representing Northern Ireland U21s, while Ryan McBride remains sidelined with Aaron Barry, who had an operation on Monday and will not return until January.

City's next home game is against Bohemians on Friday week.

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