Ruaidhri Higgins hopes Derry City’s FAI Cup heroics can act as a “springboard” for the ambitious side.
The Candystripes pushed Shamrock Rovers in the race for the Premier Division title, but came up short in the end.
They finished their season on a high, however, by hammering Shelbourne 4-0 in Sunday’s FAI Cup final.
READ MORE: Hometown hero Patrick McEleney revels in fourth FAI Cup success
Higgins said: “This club is a big club in Ireland and we haven’t won the FAI Cup in ten years, which is too long.
“God knows we might not win another one for ten years but hopefully not.
“You see the potential of the club today. The numbers that we travelled with. I don’t know what the numbers were that travelled but it’s ridiculous. And it’s for them.
“Can we use it as a springboard? Time will tell but that’s the ambition.”
He hailed two-goal star Cameron McJannet, saying: “A lad from Milton Keynes who came over here a few years ago to get his career going, he has fallen in love with the place and our supporters have fallen in love with him.
“And for me, he is one of the most underrated players in the country without a shadow of a doubt and I’m delighted for him today.
“I don’t want to start singling players out but there are players with extreme potential.
“Ryan Graydon has played in the First Division for most of his career and you can see when he gets space to run in to, the damage he can do.”
Goalkeeper Brian Maher had one of his quietest 90 minutes this season, but Higgins was quick to pay tribute to the young net-minder.
“You can play with 11 outfielders when you have got Brian. He is the best in this country that I have ever seen with the ball at his feet, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“He has grown as the year’s gone on. The experience that he has gained from the Ireland Under-21s has stood to him.
“He is a continental-style goalkeeper and we are glad to have him. And again he is one who will have a massive future in the game.”
And his assistant manager Alan Reynolds also came in for praise.
“Alan Reynolds, for me, is one of the shrewdest football people in the country,” said Higgins.
“He’s from Waterford, he’s got a wife and kids who live there. The sacrifices he’s made for me, he deserves so much credit. He’s been fantastic.
“In May when we had a difficult period his experience was huge, his nous and know-how.
“I’m delighted for him as he lost the final as a manager many years ago. He said this week would go a long way to removing the scars.
“We’ll enjoy a few days together, have a few pints and listen to some live music.”
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