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Derry shel' out devine retribution

BOOED by a section of their own fans just a few days ago, Derry City's players have achieved hero status after blasting past Shelbourne and into the FAI Cup final next month.

A disappointing league season has been put to one side in Derry as Declan Devine's team fully deserved their meeting with St Patrick's Athletic in the final at Lansdowne Road in less than four weeks' time.

Goals from Stephen McLaughlin (2) and David McDaid earned them the win which heaped more misery on Shelbourne -- a different scene from Sunday's drawn game where Derry's first-half display saw them go into the break to a chorus of boos from the Brandywell crowd.

It's been a tough period for City as this was their fourth game in 12 days, and, despite only arriving back home in Derry in the small hours of this morning, they have to head back to the capital again on Saturday for a league game with Shamrock Rovers, but mileage is the least of their worries.

"The travel is easier whenever you win. This means that we're the first Derry team to get to the new Aviva Stadium, so we're delighted with that," said a beaming Derry boss Declan Devine, whose side were beaten in the Setanta Cup final back in May.

"It's a big three weeks for us because we're not just going up there for the final to make up the numbers, we need to get a few players back and have a crack at winning the thing. Getting to a final is not enough, we want to go on and win it.

"It's a great achievement for a bunch of boys who have had a lot of criticism this year, this is our second final of the season so that's not such a bad year.

"Supporters are entitled to their view, we performed poorly in the first half at home on Sunday but we showed tremendous character, and we're not a bad side. People felt we had blown our opportunity in the drawn game on Sunday so to come to Tolka Park and win 3-0 is a fantastic achievement," added Devine.

"I feel for Alan Mathews because we could very easily have been in the losing dressing room last night but I'm delighted to be in the final."

Derry looked sluggish early on as Shels took the initiative and needed Patrick McEleney to clear off the line to keep out a certain Shels goal on 31 minutes, while Shels midfielder Stephen Dawson struck the post three minutes later.

But just before half-time Derry took the lead, winger McLaughlin blasting a shot past Chris Bennion from a fine cross by Simon Madden. And Donegal lad McLaughlin made it 2-0 with a stunning individual strike on 61 minutes, but it was really game over after 66 minutes when David McDaid pounced on some very slack defending by the Reds, raced into space and tapped the ball into an empty net after skipping past Bennion.

For Shels it was yet another night of misery at Tolka Park as their home record this season is truly awful, and boss Mathews, despite the disappointment of missing out on a second successive Cup final appearance, could have few complaints.

"It's bitterly disappointing. You get what you deserve and we didn't deserve anything," said Mathews. "We had chances in the first half and needed to score when we were on top but we failed to do that and the first goal came against the run of play, that gave them the impetus.

"The two second-half goals were totally and utterly farcical, especially the third one," added Mathews, as Shels face up to the reality of the remainder of their season -- two meaningless league games.

"It's not a pleasant way to finish off the season, this was our first season back in the Premier and we wanted to make an impact, getting to a Cup final would have been a real statement but you have to do your work and we didn't do that last night."


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