By Mark McGoldrick
AIDEN Gilroy and the Derrylin players breathed a sigh of relief two weeks ago as they managed to rattle off five points in injury time to force a final replay in the refixed Junior Championship showpiece.
The O’Connell’s led for the majority of the game but a ‘rocky’ spell in the third quarter saw Derrylin ‘nearly let the final pass us by’, according to Gilroy.
The Blackbirds boss is hoping that his players will be able to take good lessons from the game as they get ready to go again.
“We started really well but then we were very poor until we managed to rescue it.
“We need to improve vastly to be competitive with Coa. They will be disappointed that they didn’t win the first day so we know we have to be at our best to get the win.”
Preparations were not great for the O’Connell’s in the build-up to the final.
Several of their key players including the Leonard brothers (Daniel and Louis) were forced to miss the game as a result of Covid isolation regulations.
Two weeks on and Gilroy admits that ‘preparations have been okay’ this time around.
“We had a bit of a Covid issue but we had a bit of a break between games so we could get on top of it.
“We have had some very competitive league games in between, so hopefully this can only help get us to the levels which we need to be at to be successful in the final.”