HURLING: One win could transform Derry team, claims McLean

Derry manager Tom McLean. 
(Picture: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE)

Derry manager Tom McLean. (Picture: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE)

Derry senior hurling manager Tom McLean believes one victory could transform his confidence-hit side as they look to secure their Christy Ring Cup fate in Saturday’s Relegation Play-off against Wicklow at Pairc Esler, Newry.

McLean’s men have yet to register a victory in 2016 and must now defeat the ‘Garden County’ or face a make or break clash with the winners of the Nicky Rackard Cup to decide who plays in the 2017 Christy Ring competition.

It is frustrating because it’s not like we are not being competitive. Even against Down, we could have scored three goals and perhaps it’s just a case of settling ourselves.

Tom McLean

“I would prefer to get this sorted out this weekend,” confirmed McLean. “Though, at the risk of repeating myself, there is never much between Derry and Wicklow and we know it will come down to which team shows up on the day.

“They came up to Owenbeg last season and threw a real spanner in the works at a time when we could have qualified for the promotion play-off. It is a tough game but we are more than capable.”

Derry will still be without Paddy Kelly (broken finger) while neither Eugene McGuckin nor Paul Cleary was able to train this week but McLean is hopeful they could be fit.

“We are still waiting to see how some of the boys came through the club games this week. If we can show the same sort of performance we did against Down and, maybe, add one or two things, we should be okay.

“Remember, we led against Down until almost the last minute so, perhaps, we just need that bit of luck to go for us this week.

“It has been hard for the players to keep going at times when they are not winning. It is frustrating because it’s not like we are not being competitive. Even against Down, we could have scored three goals and, perhaps, it’s just a case of settling ourselves.

“We are trying to force our game because we have been so close in a number of matches this season but these are good hurlers and, hopefully, we can get this sorted on Saturday and then look forward to Ulster with a bit of confidence.”