MARTIN DONAGHY insists he understood the reasons behind his sudden omission from the starting line-up for Sunday’s NFL clash with Meath - a decision which made him more determined to make an impression on the game.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The John Mitchell’s forward was named in the starting panel before later being withdrawn due to tactical reasons as John Brennan decided to reshuffle his pack.
And when called off the bench at the start of the second half Donaghy made an instant impact on the game, scoring 0-2 and playing a significant role in the build-up to Sean Leo McGoldrick’s goal which turned the match in Derry’s favour.
Indeed, Donaghy was involved in Derry’s late three point surge and scored a superb point under pressure with a clinical left-foot finish with two minutes remaining which helped secure victory.
With the Championship looming, Donaghy understands he is playing for his place and was anxious to make an impression when entering the fray with the ‘Oak Leafers’ trailing 0-09 to 2-05 and facing an uphill struggle.
“I was gutted to get dropped, but to be fair John Brennan gave me the reason, it was a tactical reason so I took the decision well enough and just wanted to get back in there and give myself a shot at getting a championship place,” insisted the Claudy man.
Brennan’s half-time team talk sparked Derry into action and Donaghy - who has now registered four points from three appearances in this season’s National League campaign - was delighted with the second half response.
“We got told a few home truths in the changing rooms at half-time we were told to go out and have a go,” said Donaghy. “We were playing against the wind in the second half and maybe that suited us better because we play a running game.”
Derry’s defensive frailties were exposed once again on Sunday, the ‘Royals’ gifted three goals while Joe Sheridan could easily have had a hat-trick, but Donaghy believes they have plenty of time to cut out those mistakes.
“We’re happy enough with the performance, we’re six weeks from the Championship and we can rule out those small errors and work on them in the training ground but overall we’re happy enough with the way we played.”
And Donaghy is hopeful his performance against Meath will be enough to earn a starting berth in next Sunday’s pivotal clash against Antrim at Casement.
“Mathematically we can still get to the final so hopefully we go out next week and beat Antrim and do everything we can do to get there and hopefully the other results go our way,” he concluded.