Higgins proud that his Derry players have brough cup final fever to the city

Cup Final fever hits Derry - Pupils and staff at Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir in the Derry Brandywell getting warmed up for the weekend's FAI Cup Final with Derry City FC playing Shelbourne at the Aviva in Dublin, during Friday's red and white day at the school which is just yards from the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus Crudden

FAI Cup final: Derry City v Shelbourne (Sunday, Aviva Stadium, 3pm)

MANAGER Ruaidhrí Higgins is thrilled that FAI Cup Final fever has hit Derry City, as they prepare for Saturday afternoon's encounter against Shelbourne in Dublin.

With over 30,000 expected at the Aviva Stadium, Higgins feels seeing the amount of men, women and children all wearing the Derry colours throughout the city is the most important thing for him.

"I'm delighted that we've created a real buzz around the city," he insisted.

"To be honest to me that's the most important thing seeing the amount of kids, grown men and women walking around in Derry kitted out is unbelievable and you see it more than any other club and that counts Man United, Liverpool, Celtic and the rest.

"This gives me the most pride and satisfaction seeing the excitement the final is giving the people of Derry and that's personally were I get my biggest buzz out of.

"The feel good factor has been evident all season, but particularly at home and I know whenever I spoke for the first time as manager I said that I wanted us to fill the Brandywell on a regular basis and we did that.

"Winning football matches and playing good football is really important but that connection between the club and the city is crucial.

"Derry is a real football city, it's a bit of religion up here and as I said before getting that connection with the fans gives me unbelievable satisfaction."

The 38-year-old, who is in his first full season as manager on Foyleside, admits this week's preparation to face Damien Duff's side has been different, but something he's delighted to be apart off.

"It's different and there's no point in lying about it," he added.

"It's a special week leading up to the final, but it's important to enjoy it as well.

"We have to not forget that these are occasions that I suppose you dream off as a manager going into the job, I probably didn't think it would come this soon.

"It's a magical occasion. It's special. You look at the way it's captured the public's imagination around Derry.

"This is a unique club, a unique city and we are isolated from the rest of the league.

"We have the people of Derry, the players, the staff, all on the same boat and we want to empty Derry out on Sunday and go down to Dublin and put on a really brave performance for our supporters who deserve it.

"I'd love nothing more than to bring that trophy back up the road."