By Michael McMullan
DERRY manager Ciaran Meenagh confirmed that Chrissy McKaigue will be “good to go” for the All-Ireland quarter-finals later this month.
The All-Star defender was listed to start against Clare in Longford but an injury sustained early in the win over Donegal needed “a wee bit” of time.
“If it was knock-out, sudden death today, 100 per cent he would’ve been playing, he’ll be good to go in two weeks’ time,” said the Derry boss.
Conor Glass was replaced as a precaution after shipping a heavy knock from Darragh Bohannon late in the game.
Derry’s victory – combined with Monaghan’s defeat – ensured the Oakleafers of top spot and a passport directly into the last eight.
“Delighted. Relieved,” was Meenagh reaction to Saturday’s win. “We are very, very happy to be the first team into the draw. We’ve came a hard route,” he added, pointing to their record of losing just one of their 18 games this season.
“Coming down here, it wasn’t going to be simple. We were playing against a team where it was their manager’s last game after 10 or 11 years with a lot of loyal servants and a son on the team.
“It was very difficult, look how motivated they were. They were playing for pride. That was a dangerous thing.”
Derry were in control early on before their six wides and the concession of Emmett McMahon’s 22nd minute goal led to the sides being level four times until the interval score of 1-6 to 0-9.
“We were glad to get into the changing room at half time,” Meenagh said. “The message at half time was to be very calm, to up the ante and to clean the most basic skills up
“It was almost like giving an U-12 half-time team talk and I said that to them. If I was managing an U12 or and U14 team, this is what I would be saying, the exact same message as to us
“We did that. We took care of the basics. The most fundamental thing, we won the throw in at the start of the second half and got a score from that and then built a lead from that.
“At that stage, coming down the straight we were conscious of what was happening in Omagh and we knew if we could manage the game out, down the last 10 or 15 minutes we were home and hosed.”