Farrell understands Derry’s selection policy for Celtic Park showdown

By Michael McMullan

DUBLIN manager Dessie Farrell said he can understand Derry’s stance not to go with a full-strength line-up for Saturday’s Celtic Park showdown.

The Oakleafers fell to their first defeat of the season after securing their Division One status six days earlier in Salthill.

Mickey Harte made seven changes for the visit of the All-Ireland champions.

While Paudi McGrogan, Ethan Doherty and Paul Cassidy came on at half-time, Niall Loughlin and Conor Glass weren’t even listed on the matchday squad.

Glass has played in virtually every game since making his debut against Longford in 2020 with Loughlin just off the back of a winning Sigerson Cup campaign with Ulster University.

Conleth McGuckian came on for the injured Lachlan Murray to become the 36th player used by Harte this season, with 27 – one less than Dublin – featuring across their five NFL outings.

UNBROKEN…Paul Cassidy came on for his 53th consecutive appearance since making his senior debut against Longford in 2020

“I can understand that,” said Farrell who felt Derry were “probably” in the league final.

“They’re keeping their powder dry maybe for a little bit later on in the summer.

“Also, to be fair, player availability is going to be huge this coming campaign, in the rest of the league and for the summer, so I can see why they would be resting a couple of players who’ve had a busy couple of months and getting them ready for what’s to come later on.”

Also speaking after Saturday’s game Derry manager Mickey Harte admitted he had no intention of going all in with his team selection.

“We felt it was time to maybe make a few changes and give a few other lads a chance,” he said.

“You want to put players in against the best and see what that standard is like. Some of our newer and younger players will have seen that tonight and that’s good.

“The men we brought on at half time added a bit of power to our game but we still didn’t get the scores we needed – we created plenty of chances even in the first half – but maybe we weren’t that good at taking them, but that’s to do with the pressure that Dublin put on you as well. It’s not just to do with our waywardness.”

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