FOOTBALL: OUR GAME WITH BOHS IS BIGGER THAN THE CUP FINAL; Derry Defender McLaughlin in No Doubt about City's Priorities
Byline: Arthur DUFFY
ONE OF Derry City's unsung heroes this season is of the firm belief that today's game against Bohemians is much bigger than the Carlsberg FAI Cup final!
Centre-half Paddy McLaughlin is adamant that winning the cup final would mean absolutely nothing if the Candystripes were to be threatened with relegation to the First Division.
"For me, this is the game of the season," declared the 23-year-old.
"We may have won the FAI Cup back in October, but we've collapsed during the final third of the season and that's amazing considering the quality of the playing staff at the Brandywell.
"But they don't come much bigger than Bohemians and, for us, the bottom line is win and we will have no worries whatsoever," he added.
In fact, with so many permutations possible this weekend - any one from three clubs could be dragged into the play-off games - Drogheda United, UCD and Derry all face difficult fixtures, but surely Drogheda have it all to do?
"They must defeat St. Pat's but, at the same time, they still require results from elsewhere to go in their favour if they are to avoid the play-offs.
"For us and UCD, a win will see both clubs safe," insisted the defender.
With Bohemians having already secured the Premier Division title, McLaughlin was not convinced that the Gypsies are still in party mood.
"This is their final game of the season in front of their own fans. In fact, this is the first time they have played at Dalymount since winning the title two weeks ago.
"We will not be granted any favours, I've no doubt about that and, anyway, why should we?" he stated.
"For us, our destiny remains in our own hands and if we win, then we don't even have to ask how the other games have gone.
"That said, we could lose or even draw the match and still be safe depending on results at O2 Park and Turner's Cross."
One of the most consistent performers at the Brandywell, McLaughlin has not missed a match this season.
"I've been very fortunate regarding injuries and it's always great to get through the season.
"Despite our difficulties - and we've had quite a few this term - I believe injuries have been a major problem for us. …