DERRY GAA: Under 21s facing tricky preparation for Monaghan clash

Derry's Terence O'Brien races away from Down defender Aidan Fulcher. DER1115-105KM

Derry's Terence O'Brien races away from Down defender Aidan Fulcher. DER1115-105KM

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Derry Under 21 manager Paul McIver admitted it wasn’t ideal for his side to be preparing for next week’s Ulster Championship clash in the same week as Slaughtneil were competing in the All Ireland Club Final.

The Emmet’s meet Corofin on St. Patrick’s Day in Croke Park, while the Under 21s meet to Monaghan in Inniskeen on Wednesday.

Down were getting men back but we have worked really, really hard over the last three or four months on kick-passing and it is one of the strengths of this team

Derry Under 21 manager Paul McIver

“It is tough for us to be out playing this week and Monaghan able to get a look at our team,” explained the Derry manager, “I suppose with Slaughtneil in the All Ireland final, it is not ideal.

“What other county in Ireland is preparing for a Championship match without their players but that is just the calendar, that is how the fixtures fall, you have to get on with it.

“These players have been working really hard and nobody has given them any credit for it, so let’s just see how we get on.”

McIver was delighted with some of the football his team produced in the 2012 to 1-11 victory over Down but conceded they should have been more comfortable.

“We got there and played some outstanding football. Some of the kick passing, the long balls in, the first touch, we have some exciting forwards.

“There were, I suppose, a couple of lapses in concentration that maybe kept Down in it but I generally thought there was a lot more than four points in the game but, look, we haven’t had many matches together so it was maybe a bit of ring-rustiness and we can move on from here.

“At no stage was I too worried. I think we were better in every aspect of the game but it was just silly mistakes that kept Down in the game. If we can cut out those mistakes it will make a huge difference.

“Down were getting men back but we have worked really, really hard over the last three or four months on kick-passing and it is one of the strengths of this team.

“You can get men back but our lads are so quick at getting the ball up the field, they didn’t allow Down to get men behind the ball. That’s the only way of beating it but look, it might be a completely different scenario the net day.