Lavey must keep their own end of the deal

By Michael McMullan

THERE are no shortage of permutations in Group B of the Derry Senior Hurling Championship with all four teams level on two points ahead of the final round of games.

Lavey manager Michael McCormick has studied them all and will know exactly where they stand by the time the ball is thrown in for Saturday’s clash with Eoghan Rua (Owenbeg, 4.30pm).

If Banagher win the preceding game against Kevin Lynch’s, Lavey can’t finish any higher than second due to Banagher beating Lavey, i.e. they’d go top on head-to-head.

On the other hand, a Kevin Lynch’s win would mean Lavey would finish top if they beat Eoghan Rua given they’d beaten Kevin Lynch’s in the previous round, an enthralling 2-20 to 2-17 victory.

It’s a change from previous seasons when the top two teams advanced to semi-finals, but Derry CCC have reduced the season leaving just group winners advancing to the senior final.

Lavey lost their opening game to Banagher but McCormick felt his side were in a “good place” going into the Kevin Lynch’s game.

“We were confident in terms of the work we had done leading up to it and knew, from a team point of view, we were in a good place,” he said.

“Sometimes you have to step forward and whenever the game came, with all the work we had done, we were confident it would pan out (as a win) and thankfully it did.

“It certainly was a championship game, played really hard and really fair with two teams going at it.”

McCormick doesn’t agree with the new format and can’t see how it can benefit hurling in the county. While he concedes Sleacht Néill are still the team to beat, there isn’t much between many of the other teams.

He counts six possible scenarios from Lavey finishing top to even finishing fourth and out completely, missing both the intermediate and junior final places.

Having been part of Liam Watson’s management team, McCormick stepped up to take over when the Loughgiel man stepped down at the end of the season.

“Joe McGurk and Tom Magill were trying to get a management team together and Joe approached me about taking on the management role…it didn’t take me long to think about it,” McCormick said.

McGurk, Eamonn Melaugh, Geard Taggart, Darragh Curly and John McKillop form a management team McCormick hails as helping spread the workload.

They will be hoping their dual players come through Tuesday’s rescheduled football game with Ballinascreen and he is in constant contact with football manager Gary Cushnahan.

In recent weeks the wins over Bellaghy (football) and Kevin Lynch’s (hurling) have brought a buzz to the camp.

“Winning is a big thing when dealing with dual players,” McCormick added. “They are two big rivals of our club and we came away with two good victories. With the work being out in the young lads, it does bode well for the future progression of hurling within the club.”

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