FAI Cup final fever spreads across northwest as Derry mayor urges fans to show their colours

Derry City captain Patrick McEleney makes his way into Steelstown Primary School in Derry to meet young city fans in the build-up to the FAI Cup Final this weekend Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Derry City players visited primary schools yesterday morning as the FAI Cup final fever continued to grow.

Excitement is building on Foyleside and former pupils Shane and Patrick McEleney along with Michael Duffy visited Steelstown and St Eugene's Primary Schools.

The McEleney brothers, who attended Steelstown, and Duffy took part in a Q&A session before posing for pictures and signing autographs, as pupils wished them all the best ahead of Sunday's showpiece encounter against Shelbourne, which takes place at the Aviva Stadium.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, has urged the north west public to get their colours out this week and get behind the Candystripes.

Ruaidhrí Higgins’s side have reached the final for the first time in eight years following a groundbreaking season in which they finished runners-up behind Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Mayor Duffy will attend Sunday’s final and has called for businesses and residents from all corners of the north west to get their flags and colours out this week and to attend the game in person where a record attendance can help inspire the team to another famous win.

“The exploits of Derry City on the pitch this year have really captured the public’s imagination,” said Mayor Duffy.

“Demand for match tickets is at an all time high and it’s been heartening to see people throughout the city and district wearing their Derry gear and talking about the team with such passion and excitement.

“The cup final is an opportunity for businesses and supporters from across the region to show their appreciation for the hard work that everyone at the club has done this year to take things to the next level.

“It would be great to see businesses, homes, social media profiles and cars decked in red and white this week and a record support travelling down the road on Sunday for what will be a momentous day out for all the family.”


Getting the flags up at St Eugene's Primary School in Derry as players arrive to meet young city fans in the build-up to the FAI Cup Final this weekend Picture: Margaret McLaughlin


The mayor this week recorded a video message at the Brandywell in support of the team and has facilitated the lighting of the Guildhall Clock, Strand Road Council offices and the Alley Theatre in red and white over the weekend.

The club have created the facility for people to temporarily change their Facebook profile pictures in support of the team with the mayor already changing hers this week.

“You can really feel the atmosphere and excitement building around the city and district this week, it’s all anyone is talking about and it’s just brilliant to see the role sport can play in generating civic pride and lifting everyone’s mood,” she added.

“I know from speaking to the players and staff this season that the strength of the support and the unique connection between the fans and the players is something that has helped drive them on this year.

“Let’s make sure the players are walking out to a wall of noise and a sea of red and white when they look to their left at the Aviva on Sunday - together I firmly believe we can write a new chapter in this club’s rich history.

“Sincere best wishes to Ruaidhrí and the team and a safe journey to everyone making the trip to Dublin. Go and make memories to last a lifetime and I look forward to welcoming you all back with the cup on Monday."