Derry City

Derry City Football Club

  • City: Derry, County Derry / Doire, Contae Dhoire
  • Founded: 1928
  • Ground: Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium (3,700)
  • Nicknames: Red and White Army; The Candystripes
  • Colours: Shirt with red and white vertical stripes with black trim, black shorts, and white socks.
  • 2023 League: League of Ireland Premier Division
  • Club Website: 
  • Club Twitter: @derrycityfc


  • Best League Finish: 1st in the League of Ireland Premier Division (2 times)
  • Best FAI Cup Finish: Winners (6 times)
  • League of Ireland Premier Division
    • Champions (2): 1988–89, 1996–97
  • Irish Football League
    • Champions (1): 1964–65
  • FAI Cup
    • Winners (6): 1988–89, 1994–95, 2002, 2006, 2012, 2022
  • Irish Cup
    • Winners (3): 1948–49, 1953–54, 1963–64
  • League of Ireland Cup
    • Winners (11): 1988–89, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1993–94, 1999–2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2018
  • President of Ireland’s Cup
    • Winners (1): 2023
  • League of Ireland First Division
    • Champions (2): 1986–87, 2010
  • League of Ireland First Division Shield
    • Winners (1): 1985–86
  • City Cup
    • Winners (2): 1934–35, 1936–37
  • Gold Cup
    • Winners (1): 1963–64

Derry City Football Club are the only Northern Ireland-based team that plays in the Republic of Ireland’s League of Ireland structure, competing in the top-tier Premier Division. They are based in the old walled city of Derry / Doire, situated on the River Foyle and in the county that bears its name. Derry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland with a population of about 105k, with the ‘Maiden City‘ located in the far northwest corner of the country and very near to the Irish border. The Candystripes currently plays its home games at the 3,700-capacity Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium / Tobar an Fhíoruisce, which is positioned on the western bank of the Foyle in the Brandywell area of the city. The stadium honours the name of former Derry City legendary defender and captain Ryan McBride who passed away in 2017, with his name added to the ground’s official name in September 2018 (as well as retiring the number 5 shirt that he wore as a player).

Derry City was founded in 1928 and initially played in the (Northern) Irish League, joining the league a year after its foundation. During their time in Northern Irish football, the Candystripes (named after their red & white striped shirts) won the Irish Cup on three occasions and became Northern Irish champions in the 1964-65 season. Resultantly, they qualified for the following season’s European Cup and became the first Irish team to win a European tie over two legs when they defeated Norwegian champions FK Lyn 8-6 on aggregate. However, following the start of The Troubles, Derry City were not allowed to play their home games at the Brandywell and was forced to play games in Coleraine from September 1971. Continuously being stopped from returning back to the Brandywell by the league and security forces, and with dwindling crowds who were unable and unwilling to travel across the now fractious country, the situation became untenable for Derry City by October 1972 and they withdrew from the Irish League.

Following 13 ‘wilderness years’ in the Northern Irish junior leagues and being unable to rejoin the Irish League, Derry City decided their footballing future lay southwards and applied to join the League of Ireland First Division, with their application being accepted by all parties in 1985. Derry’s first trophy in Republic of Irish football was the 1986 LoI First Division Shield, beating Longford Town 6-1 on aggregate before gaining promotion to the Premier Division the following season as First Division champions. Derry City achieved its best-ever season in the 1988-89 season when they won their first major trophies in Irish football by being crowned the Premier Division Champions, the FAI Cup winners, and the League Cup winners all in the same season, and becoming the first Irish side to achieve the treble.

The 1988-89 LoI Premier Division table.
[IMAGE: Wikipedia]

Their history within the League of Ireland has been successful yet tumultuous. Derry won another league title in the 1996-97 season, and has won a further five FAI Cups and ten League Cups throughout its history. Famously, they progressed in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup by beating IFK Göteborg and Gretna FC in the preliminary rounds before being drawn against Paris Saint-Germain in the first round. They achieved a famous goalless first leg against the French giants, but a gutsy 0-2 defeat at the Parc des Princes meant the Candystripes exited the competition with their heads held high. Alas, for all the triumphs Derry has experienced on the pitch, there have also been severe financial problems. The club almost went bankrupt in 2000 but were saved by an extensive fund-raising effort and organising lucrative, money-raising friendlies. Sadly, in 2010, the club was expelled from the league and ultimately dissolved due to outstanding debts. Immediately, a phoenix club with the same name was established and accepted back into the League of Ireland, but starting back in the First Division.

The new Derry City immediately won the First Division title for the first time of asking and returned back to the Premier Division in 2011 and have not been relegated from the top flight since. In the 2022 season, Derry City had a fantastic year by finishing as the league’s runners-up, their highest league placement since 2006, and also won their sixth FAI Cup by comprehensively defeating Shelbourne 4-0 in the final – their first national cup victory in ten years.

To talk about a club that is the current FAI Cup winners and finished last season as Premier Division’s runners-up, we interviewed the excellent Robert McKay, who is a Derry-based supporter of the Candystripes. You can find his social media accounts in the list below:

Q. Firstly, how did you decide to start following and supporting Derry City?

I initially moved to Derry to be with my wife. Naturally, Derry City was my local team and so I started going to the games.

Q. From your time following the club, who has been your favourite player, and the reasoning behind your choice?

Paddy McCourt

It has to be Paddy McCourt [Derry-born winger who played for Derry City between 2005 and 2008 and is currently the club’s Youth Development Manager]. He had so much flair and charisma, and it was then great to follow his career at Celtic [moving to Glasgow from Derry in 2008 where he played for the Bhoys for five years].

Q. Of the current squad, who would you say is the best player at the club and why?

Michael Duffy

The best player is Michael Duffy [28-year-old Derry-born winger who returned to the Candystripes from Dundalk in 2021 after initially starting his playing career at the club], he is just a class act. Also, in the current squad, our 22-year-old keeper Brian Maher [signed from Bray Wanderers in 2022] is amazing.

Q. Who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent at the club?

Cian Kavanagh

There is a lot of talent at the club but Cian Kavanagh [20-year-old centre-forward brought in from Waterford in 2022] will be a class act in the future.

Q. Who would you regard as Derry’s biggest or historical rivals?

Finn Harps.
[Finn Harps are based in the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal and located roughly 30 miles away from Derry. The two clubs compete in the North-west Derby.]

Q. What would you say has been the best game, result, or performance in your opinion whilst following the club?

In my opinion, the best game was the FAI Cup quarter-final match last year against Shamrock Rovers.
[Derry won the tie 3-1 after extra time on their way to winning the trophy.]

Q. What do you think of the situation in Irish league football currently? Are there any improvements you would like to see happen?

It’s absolutely brilliant at the minute. The standard of football has gotten better and the attendances have increased so much that games are selling out at most of the grounds. However, most grounds in the league need some improvement work to be done, whilst the officials also need to improve as the league gets better.

Q. How would you describe the current performance or state of the club? How do you think this past season has gone?

It’s been fantastic so far. The club is now challenging for the league after a good FAI Cup win last season [beating Shelbourne 4-0 in the final], and it would be nice to do the double this year.

Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the club?

The best thing about being a fan of Derry City is going to watch the games with my kids. The worst thing is that all the away games are a three-hour journey away at least.

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of Derry City?

For Derry City to eventually win the LoI Premier League and qualify for a European competition group stage.

The 2022 LoI Premier Division table.
[IMAGE: Wikipedia]

A massive thank you to Robert for answering our questions on the League of Ireland Premier Division side (and the Editor’s favourite Irish side) Derry City. Remember you can find their social media accounts in the links towards the top of the blogpage.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at or send a message at @The94thMin on Twitter.


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