KENNY Shiels hasn’t given up hope on finishing the season with European football despite exiting the FAI Cup to Bohemians on Wednesday and sitting seventh place in the league table.
The Derry City manager insisted the Candy Stripes season wasn’t over as they could still secure European football at the Brandywell next season providing they finish at least fifth place and Dundalk or Cork City are triumphant in the FAI Cup come November.
They currently sit three points behind St. Patrick’s Athletic with a game in hand.
Waterford FC could be denied entrance to the competition next season even if they qualify because they formed a new company in 2016, normally, a club must be in existence for three years to compete in the Champions League and Europa League.
The same rule prevented Derry City from taking part in the 2012 Europa League as a new club had been founded in 2010 following the dissolution of the previous debt-ridden organisation.
“(We have) six games and we want to try and get that fifth spot for Europe,” he said. “There is a fifth-place spot for European football this year. The fifth spot for Europe is one we are after.”
Speaking about City’s exit of the FAI Cup, Shiels said: “I thought the players gave everything they had against currently the best form team in the league and I think we come out of here with short change.
“If you look at everything in perspective, the boys fought to get back into the game, we conceded a goal at half time, which was poor marking from a corner, and they score on the break (for the second).
“We got ourselves back (into the game) and we had a blatant penalty turned down (by the referee) that could have made it a draw.
Ally Roy after 63 minutes to cut the deficit for Derry City to one goal and to the frustration of the Derry faithful on the Mark Farren Stand, Shiels had decided to substitute the forward almost immediately, but he insisted he had already put in the substitution card to the fourth official.
“The card were already in and Ally (Roy) had done nothing in the game. He hadn’t made any contribution to the performance and the cards were already in when he scored.
“It has made me look foolish but it is the way the rules are, you put the cards in and you make your substitutions. I don’t care what people think about me, it is about the team and I believe the team has done the city proud.”