Thousands welcome victorious Derry City FAI cup winners home
TRIUMPHANT Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins has dedicated his team's FAI Cup victory to the fans who got behind the side at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
Derry romped home with a spectacular 4-0 victory over Dublin side Shelbourne, the biggest winning margin in the history of the competition.
It was the sixth time the Candystripes have won the cup and their first victory in a decade.
Last night fans turned out in their thousands as the players were given a heroes' welcome at Guildhall Square.
One of the largest crowds seen in Derry city centre in recent years, they sang and cheered as each player was introduced onto the stage.
However, the biggest cheer of the night was kept for Higgins and his team captain, home town hero Patrick McEleney.
The fans raised the roof as, to a background of pyrotechnics and a sea of red and white, Higgins and McEleney lifted the FAI Cup.
The Brandywell manager paid tribute to his team and in particular the manner in which they have conducted themselves throughout the season.
“20,000 people left this city to go on Dublin and we brought the cup home for them tonight,” the manager said.
He also singled out Derry star Ciaron Harkin, who missed the cup final because of injury. In an impromptu performance, Higgins led the crowd in singing “There's only one Ciaron Harkin” as he hugged the player at the front of the stage.
Earlier in the evening, Derry and Strabane mayor Sandra Duffy said she was overwhelmed by the numbers who had travelled to Dublin for the final and who had turned out last night to welcome the team home.
“We are so, so proud of them (the Derry City players) for everything they have done and everything they have achieved,” Ms Duffy said.
Following the public home-coming, the team and management were given a civic reception in the city's Guildhall.