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Dublin: 0 °C Sunday 24 February, 2019
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Derry boss resigned to losing some of his young stars

Declan Devine accepts that English and Scottish clubs may come in for his best players.

Devine speaks to his players after Sunday's FAI Cup win.
Devine speaks to his players after Sunday's FAI Cup win.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

DERRY CITY MANAGER Declan Devine admits being stripped of its most promising talent is something the club has to continuously deal with.

The Candystipes have a number of excellent youngsters in their ranks and fielded four players who are still just 21 or under during the Ford FAI Cup final win over St Patrick’s Athletic on Sunday.

In recent years, Derry have sold on the likes of James McClean, Niall McGinn, Paddy McCourt, Conor Sammon and Eamon Zayed to clubs outside the League of Ireland.

And while Devine is keen to build on his first season in charge, which ended in an FAI Cup win, runners-up in the Setanta Cup and fifth in the Premier Division, he accepts the fact that suitors will be sniffing around the Brandywell once again in the coming weeks.

Barry McNamee, who is being monitored by several clubs after a terrific debut campaign at senior level, only signed a new deal last month along with Ryan Curran but Stephen McLaughlin and David McDaid have both expressed their eagerness to get moves across the water.

When asked if he faces a battle to hold onto his current crop of stars last week, Devine responded: “I probably do but I’m more than happy for our top players to make a serious living out of the game and to play to their highest potential.

“Over the last few years, we have produced players for both international set-ups in terms of the north and the south. We have a lot of young players who are potentially in that boat who can move to a very high level of football and push for international football.

20-year-old Barry McNamee has been a revelation this season and is a player Derry will be hoping to retain. Credit: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

“We will not stand in their way. We want the best players in the north-west area coming to Derry City and using us as a football club that can display their talent.

We don’t feel that they need to go and sit in the Premier League or Championship reserves and get treated like dirt. We can look after them and give them a higher platform of playing in the Airtiricty League than what any reserve team in England can play.”

He added: “Our door is always open and scouts can come to watch.

“The fundamentals of football in this country is to survive and if we can do that by producing players who can go on and play at the highest level then I think all parties are happy.

“What I do want is that, before they move on, the young lads win some silverware here and have memories that they will always cherish.”

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Ben Blake

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