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2000-10-02: Derry City 1-2 Celtic, Club Benefit
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2000 - 2001 | 2000-2001 Pictures|
- A gap for internationals allowed the club to fulfil an undertaking to play a benefit game for Derry City which was on the brink of bankruptcy due to a tax bill at the time.
ReviewA full turn-out at Brandywell with a major chunk of Derry City’s debt raised by the Benefit game. Derry City had the ball in the net in the last minute only to see it chalked off.
Connolly, McCallion, Hargan, Hutton, Kelly, Doherty, McLaughlin, Hegarty, Coyle, Beckett, McCready
Scorer: Hargan (47)
Kerr (Corr 45), Moriarty, Crainey, McCann, Goodwin, Riseth (McColligan 72), Doyle, Smith, Petta (Keogh 49), Agathe (McGovern 72), Sutton (Bonnes 46)
Scorers: Riseth (pen 16), Moriarty
Referee: S. Devenney
- Match Report (see below)
Minus a host of internationalists on World Cup duty, Celtic, including Chris Sutton, nevertheless were heralded as saviours after helping to raise £100,000 for a club £170,000 in debt and on the brink of extinction.
Derry had faxed local boy O'Neill for help half-an-hour before a board meeting that could have resulted in the club going out of business but the Irishman acted swiftly and City director Jim Roddie could not have been more thankful. "He might not understand what he has done for this club but this has been a superb homecoming for Martin O'Neill," he said after last night's match - which was an 8000 sell-out although hundreds more lined the perimeter of the Brandeywell Stadium. "He has helped save Derry City by acting so swiftly because when we left him the message we were heading for a shareholders meeting that could have put us in liquidation."
O'Neill has fond recollections of the club from his early days as a midfielder with Distillery and admitted he was only too happy to help out in the club's hour of need.
"I am hoping this can be part of their resurrection and just wish we could have brought over our international players such as Henrik Larsson," he said. "Only a couple of years ago, they were a very big club with big crowds, but it has all gone downhill since then."
Didier Agathe made his Celtic debut last night at Brandeywell but it was fringe Norwegian midfielder Vidar Riseth who opened the scoring from the spot after Bobby Petta was fouled inside the penalty box in the sixteenth minute.
Sean Hargen equalised for the home side two minutes after the restart but young Celtic right back Tadg Moriarty re-established Celtic's superiority but the final result was incidental on a night when the fans of Derry City celebrated their return from the brink of football's black hole.
Football: Thank you Derry muchDaily Record 03/10/2000
DERRY CITY 1 CELTIC 2
LOCAL hero Martin O'Neill returned to his roots at Brandywell Park last night and was hailed a saviour by Derry director Jim Roddy.
He claimed the League of Ireland side, sitting in second place a point behind leaders Shelbourne, could have gone under if the Celtic manager hadn't agreed to bring a team over to help bail them out of their financial problems.
Roddy said: "Martin replied to our request by fax half an hour before a shareholders meeting and it was a distinct possibility the club might have been wound down.
"Since we knew Celtic were coming over there have been door-to-door collections and funds raised in local bars and that's helped a great deal."
Derry had run up debts of £170,000 but last night's sell-out 8000 crowd should help wipe out £100,000 of that.
O'Neill said: "It's sad to see the club's gone down in recent years and I hope to see them rise again. I would have brought all our major guys here if that had been possible."
Celtic gave a debut to recent signing Didier Agathe and first-team stars Chris Sutton and Bobby Petta also started. The Dutch winger won a penalty in the 16th minute and Vidar Riseth converted to give O'Neill's men the lead.
Sutton went close two minutes before the break when he curled a shot against the keeper's left-hand post.
Celtic could hardly have been more at home, with the local Gaelic football team's ground - named Celtic Park - situated in Brandywell Avenue behind one of the goals.
The home side delighted the crowd when Sean Hargan headed an equaliser from a quickly taken free-kick two minutes after the restart.
Both sides made a clutch of substitutions which reduced the game to little more than a training exercise but Celtic grabbed the winner midway through the second half when Tadg Moriarty powered home a header from point-blank range - but the real winners were Derry City who can now live to fight another day.
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