Paddy McCourt insists he’ll have no split loyalties when Derry City take on Finn Harps next season, despite helping Harps to return to the Premier Division.
McCourt brought the curtain down on his playing career in style, helping Harps to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, but will now take up a new role with Derry as the head of their academy.
Speaking on 2fm’s Game On, McCourt insisted that while he enjoyed his time at Harps and was delighted to see them back in the Premier Division, he’ll be cheering on the Candystripes when the two sides meet next season.
"I did an interview a couple of weeks ago where I said ‘look, I’m not going to be here either way if it is the First Division or the Premier, but it would be nice for the club to get back in the Premier Divison’.
"The disappointment of the previous year getting relegated, I just thought that for the Ollie and the good people at the club it would be a nice way to finish the season on a positive.
"Derry City would probably be seen in a bigger club in terms of supporters and revenue and people might think they could pay higher wages but Finn Harps are a good wee club and there’s a lot of good people at the club who work very hard.
"We had Derry a couple of years ago when I was at Finn Harps and it’s always a big game. It’s the biggest game up around here and it’s the closest to a local derby as it is about this area.
"It’ll be a brilliant occasion and obviously I’ll be in red and white instead of blue and white this time.
"Derry City, I make no secret, is my hometown club and it’s a club that I love. I enjoyed my two years at Finn Harps but moving forward there’ll be no question of where my loyality will lie."
With it being the off-season, McCourt has yet to feel the full impact of retiring of a player but admits that he’s likely to feel a twinge of regret once the new season gets underway.
"I’m fine with it. I think the helping factor of dealing with it so well is the fact that I’ve jumped straight into a new job and I’m very busy in that job, so I haven’t had time to reflect too much.
"I’m sure when the season comes back around again in February and I’ve not just come out the back of a pre-season and I’m not preparing for a pre-season, I might feel it a wee bit more."