Derry looking for consistency as the stakes rise

By Michael McMullan

DERRY manager Johnny McGarvey feels his side’s 2-20 to 0-16 win over Tyrone in the opening game of the League will have no relevance on Saturday’s final rematch.

For him, it’s about delivering a level of consistency that gives them a chance of silverware this weekend and can be carried into the upcoming Christy Ring Cup campaign.

McGarvey was in O’Donnell Park to run his eye over Tyrone’s semi-final win over Donegal last weekend and saw the Red Hands’ goal threat up close.

Tiernan Morgan’s goal, Tyrone’s fifth, eventually broke Donegal’s resolve last weekend.

“I suppose I sort of went there expecting Tyrone to win,” McGarvey said, hinting at Donegal missing some of their key players.

“Tyrone looked very dangerous, scored five goals and five decent goals they were so they definitely have a goal threat there.”

“From our point of view anyway, we’re not really putting much emphasis on the (Tyrone) game in Celtic Park,” McGarvey added. “I’m not putting a pile of emphasis on their Donegal match either.

“I think it’s a one-off game in a final. They’ll be on a bit of a high now after beating Donegal and getting themselves to the final.”

McGarvey feels the extra game will help Tyrone’s preparations and admits to having a few players with knocks needing assessed ahead of Saturday. Digging deeper, he looks at the bigger picture of a season where promotion was the number one priority. They’ve made the third tier of 2025’s new NHL structure of five groups of seven.

“We trained on Sunday, and, look, we’re, we’re in good shape, we’ve been playing well, we’re happy with our league campaign,” he said.

“We’ve talked of putting consistent performances together, back-to-back, and that’s what builds you into the championship.

“It’s not so much results or what you win by, but consistent performances at the level that you know you can play at. I think if we do that, we’ll be very, very hard to work with.”

The blot on Derry’s season was their draw against Wicklow on a day when they wasted a glut of chances. In a way, it was a reality check.

It revealed the areas of concern and with the business end of the season on their doorstep, it’s time to shine.

“I don’t expect it to happen to us again,” McGarvey said. “I expect us to play at the level that we set for ourselves, if not above it, for the rest of the season and see where that takes us to.”

When the curtain comes down on the League, Derry will be “100 per cent” in Championship mode.

“No matter what way the league final goes on Saturday, once we get out of bed on Monday morning, it’ll be about the Christy Ring and it will be about Wicklow,” McGarvey summed up. “We are looking forward to the challenge at the weekend, looking forward to getting into the nit and gritty of the Championship.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

No tags for this post.

Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW