Derry determined to get off the mark

By Shaun Casey

THE Derry ladies have suffered five defeats on the trot and with two games remaining in their Division Four National League campaign, the Oakleafers are still searching for their first win of 2024.

While the league table doesn’t make for pretty reading, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom inside the Derry dressing room. They suffered heavy defeats to Leitrim and Longford but showed promise in their other three outings.

Damian McCaffrey’s side lost out to Carlow in the opening round by five points, Limerick were seven points better off in round two while Wicklow just edged out a victory by the minimum of margins in round four.

“It’s been difficult,. With the management team coming in, we really didn’t know what we had because we weren’t put in the job until late,” said Derry boss McCaffrey.

“The 10th of December was our first session together so at that stage we were just trying to build a panel and build a team. The numbers were low at the start so our first objective was to build a panel and then see what kind of team we could make from that.

“The top four or five teams in Division Four are very good and well set-up. It’s all about how we learn from the games and how we want to set up. It is what it is, and we got a lot of learnings from those games so we’re just looking forward to this weekend now.

“After those couple of games, we sat down and spoke to the girls and despite some of the defeats, they were happy with the performances. I know the results weren’t there and that Wicklow game, we probably should have got out of there with at least a draw.

“Even Carlow in our first game, we were every bit as good as Carlow to be honest, we pushed them really hard. The performances have been good in most of the games to be fair so hopefully this weekend the performance will be there again.”

It’s all about Kilkenny this weekend and the Cats are currently pinned to the bottom of the table on zero points. Derry lie just above their upcoming opponents due to their better scoring average across the first five games.

“I think Kilkenny are in the same boat as us, they haven’t any wins yet,” added McCaffrey. “This weekend, we’ll be trying to get the performance right to start with and hopefully the result will follow the performance. That would help get a wee bit of confidence into the girls again.

“We have one or two short term injuries but we have 30 girls available for Sunday and they’re fit and ready to go.”

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