Derry City manager Declan Devine pays price for sluggish start

Derry make the short trip to face joint league leaders Sligo Rovers on Saturday evening

Derry City manager Declan Devine has paid the price for a sluggish start to the season, his second stint at the club ending with his side rooted to the bottom of the League of Ireland table after six games.

City had managed to arrest a run of four straight defeats by recording 1-1 draws at home to Drogheda United and Dundalk over the past five days but club owner Philip O'Doherty has decided to make a change now. Derry make the short trip to face joint league leaders Sligo Rovers on Saturday evening.

“Derry City FC and Declan Devine have parted company by mutual consent,” read a statement from O’Doherty, the local businessman who has underwritten trading losses at the club since becoming Chairman in 2009.

“The board wish to thank Declan for his service to the club and wish him well for the future.”

Devine returned to the helm in November 2018 to succeed Kenny Shiels and immediately overseen an upturn that saw the team secure a fourth placed finish. The Derry local also qualified the club for the Europa League in both seasons of his first stint in 2012 and 2013.

Last season’s Covid-19 hit campaign, however, proved a major disappointment. In a shortened season, it took a draw in the final game against Cork City for Derry to avoid competing in a relegation play-off for survival.

O'Doherty promised a full review, insisting "Come to Jesus" talks were essential, leading to Devine's assistants Kevin Deery and Martin McCann leaving the club due to budgetary cuts.

After City averaged just one goal in their 18 games last season, much emphasis was placed on the firepower of the returning David Parkhouse.

He's yet to get off the mark, while the other eye-catching pre-season recruit, Manchester City loanee Joe Hodge, hasn't featured due to a back injury.

Devine becomes the third League of Ireland managerial casualty in the space of a week.

Meanwhile, Waterford manager Kevin Sheedy refuted claims that he has left the club in the wake of Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic.

Media reports on Thursday suggested that Sheedy and his assistant Mike Newell had not taken training and had left the club but Waterford posted on Twitter on Thursday evening, saying

"Kevin Sheedy Manager of Waterford FC would like to refute the baseless rumour that he and Mike Newell have resigned from their positions with the Club. They are both committed to the club and look forward to the visit of Longford Town FC on Saturday next."

Dundalk's manager Shane Keegan and coach Filippo Giovagnoli resigned last weekend following a similarly disappointing start to the season.