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  Monday, 28 October, 2002, 12:35 GMT
The belief of Derry
Celtic played Derry City in a freindly game at the Brandywell in October 2000
Derry City's Liam Coyle in action against Celtic

BBC Sport Online's Lyle Jackson on Derry City's FAI Cup success

Derry City's victory in Sunday's FAI Cup final caps a remarkable revival in the Brandywell club's fortunes.

Actually, fortune is not a word you would have used in the same sentence as Derry City a couple of years ago.

Then, all the stories were about Cash-strapped Candystripes or Derry in dire straits.

Attendances had plummeted from the glory days when 10,000-plus crowds flocked to the Brandywell ground.

But the club hit on hard times and things were bleak at the bank.

Rescue mission

Indeed, just two years ago, it was reported that the club was on the brink of going out of business altogether. A frightening prospect.

With commercial director Jim Roddy as the driving force - he later became chairman - the club embarked on a daunting rescue mission.

SOS messages were sent out and, thankfully, the club had friends in high places.

Martin O'Neill, who watched from the Brandywell terraces as a boy, agreed to bring his Celtic stars over for a fund-raising game in October 2000.

Predictably, it was a sell-out and Derry lodged 70,000 at the bank.

Crippling debt

The following month Manchester United also rallied to Derry's cause.

It might not have been a star-studded United line-up, but 9,000 fans crammed into the Brandywell.

On the pitch United won 1-0, but off it the occasion allowed Derry to clear their once-crippling debt.

Derry officials also managed to get a Real Madrid team to visit.

So Sunday's cup triumph completes a magnificent turnaround.

Kevin Mahon's men had started the season with a run of defeats and found themselves languishing at the foot of the Premier Division in the Eircom League.

Extra support

But the 1-0 cup final win over Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park has put a spring back into the step of the famous Candystripes.

Now they turn their thoughts to the league campaign which ends in January as the Eircom League makes its transition to summer football.

Derry are currently mid-table, having won just four of their league fixtures.

But, as they bid to close the gap on runaway leaders Bohemians, they can look forward to extra support.

Nothing brings out the spectators like a bit of success.

So Derry's first FAI Cup triumph since 1995 is a great boost to the club's officials and players - and good news for their bank manager.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Derry's celebrations
BBC's Gavin Jennings joins the Candystripes' party
See also:

27 Oct 02 | N Ireland
13 Nov 00 | N Ireland
02 Oct 00 | N Ireland
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