James Akintunde contemplates the “unfortunate” departure of Declan Devine and the “mixed emotions” of the evening’s match against Derry.

James Akintunde, the former Derry City striker, who scored the decisive goal for Bohemians against Derry at Dalymount Park on Friday, reflected on the departure of Declan Devine from the Bohs’ dugout before his appointment as interim Glentoran boss. Akintunde expressed his gratitude to Devine for giving him the opportunity to start his career in Ireland and for his support during his time at both Derry and Bohemians.

Akintunde was initially brought to Brandywell by Devine in 2020 and went on to win the FAI Cup in 2022 under Ruaidhri Higgins. Devine then signed him as one of his first recruits after taking charge of Bohemians in December 2022. Akintunde admitted feeling disappointed when he learned about Devine’s departure from the club.

“Declan Devine was my first manager in Ireland, and he always supported me,” lamented Akintunde. “He kickstarted my career here, so it was saddening to see him leave.”

He acknowledged the transient nature of football, where managers and players frequently come and go based on results. Despite the disappointment, Akintunde emphasized that turnover is a common aspect of the sport.

The 27-year-old forward, who previously played for Cambridge United, scored the winning goal from a corner kick against Derry on Friday, refraining from celebrating out of respect for his former team. Despite facing a challenging period with injuries, Akintunde was thrilled to contribute significantly off the bench, albeit with mixed emotions.

“It’s always satisfying to score a goal,” said Akintunde. “I’ve endured some setbacks due to injuries, but to come on and find the net is a great feeling. However, it was bittersweet since it was against my former team, Derry, where I was warmly welcomed. They showed me a lot of love when I left. Scoring against them was nice, but it came with mixed emotions.”

He recalled a previous instance of scoring a winning goal for Derry and noted the parallel with his recent match-winning goal for Bohemians. Akintunde praised his teammates for their defensive resilience in the face of numerous crosses into the box, acknowledging their collective effort in securing the victory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *