FOUR GOAL hero, David Parkhouse described his sensational semi-final performance as the best night of his life as he ensured Derry City a place in the EA Sports Cup Final next month.
The in-form 19 year-old has now scored a magnificent return of SEVEN goals in his last three matches and his match-winning four goal haul against Waterford in Monday night's semi-final saw him take his season's tally to 16 goals in all competitions. It's a remarkable total for the Sheffield United loanee in his first season in senior football!
Derry City boss, Declan Devine recently gave the striker a 20 goal target in his debut season on Foyleside and with at least 10 games remaining, including September's EA Sports Cup decider against either Dundalk or Bohemians and Friday night's FAI Cup first round clash with Wexford, that goal tally certainly looks achievable.
"It's a good night for the team but it's the best night of my life so far and hopefully there's many more of them to come," beamed the striker who couldn't hide his delight when he was greeted with a standing ovation from the Brandywell support as he made his way off the pitch.
"That's my job, I'm here to score goals," he said matter-of-factly. "I'm here to build myself up and I can't thank Declan and the club enough for the chances they've given me and it's starting to pay off.
"It's my first season here, my first senior season and it's great to go into the final in the style we have."
He showed exactly what he's got in his locker with a right-footed penalty, a blistering strike with his left foot from 25 yards and a deft header to complete not only the perfect hat-trick but his first senior treble.
Parkhouse became just the third Derry City player to net a hat-trick this season, following in the footsteps of Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and Ciaron Harkin and he's got a decent chance of capturing the League of Ireland 'Golden Boot' too after his strike against UCD at the weekend took him to within two of Dundalk hitman Pat Hoban's total of 12.
He's playing with confidence and enjoying his football more than ever.
"I don't turn down a strike on goal and I'm confident enough with both feet so when the opportunity came I said 'why not? Just see what happened and hit it' and thankfully it went in," he said of his second goal which could've been a genuine contender for goal of the month had it not been for his wonder goal against the same opposition the week before.
"I've always been like that. That's something that's never changed, That's the type of player I am and I'm not going to turn down a strike on goal.
"It's about confidence and I'm happy," he insisted. "I feel I couldn't be in a better place at the minute in my career. I'm still young and learning but I'll always take my chances whenever they come. I'm gaining that experience and that's what I'm here to do and take the opportunities I'm given."
Waterford provided a stern test of Derry's resolve and for the second game in quick succession the Candy Stripes needed to fight back from being a goal behind.
"It was a hard test. It was different to last Monday night but we dug in and got the win in the end and that's us into the final. We didn't make it easy tonight but we have that grit and determination to get the win. It's a great win."
Derry can put the cup final on the backburner now and concentrate on the visit of First Division strugglers, Wexford on Friday night in the FAI Cup first round. Wexford, who haven't won a game since April conceded 10 goals in their last two league fixtures so Parkhouse must fancy himself to keep his run going should he get the nod to play.
"We will enjoy it tonight and then come tomorrow morning we're back in and Friday will be the focus on the next test which is ahead of us. I'm confident now and I'm scoring goals. I'm happy with myself but once tonight's over it's on to the next game. This will be in the past and Friday is a new game where I'll have to try my best again.
"It's Declan's decision at the end of the day who he picks and I'll be happy with whatever decision he makes. That's up to him to pick whoever he feels is right for the game."