McKillop fit as Derry travel into ‘the west’

Presseye.com. City of Derry v Ballynahinch. Semi-Final Ulster Senior Cup at Judges Road. Picture Martin McKeown. Presseye.com. 6.11.10''City of Derry coach Bevan Lynch Picture Martin McKeown. Presseye.com. 6.11.10

Presseye.com. City of Derry v Ballynahinch. Semi-Final Ulster Senior Cup at Judges Road. Picture Martin McKeown. Presseye.com. 6.11.10''City of Derry coach Bevan Lynch Picture Martin McKeown. Presseye.com. 6.11.10

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CITY of Derry Head Coach, Bevan Lynch, has warned his players that they must improve on last week’s showing against Terenure when they travel to Galway to face Corinthians tomorrow afternoon.

Michael Wilson reports

Despite last week’s encouraging result, Lynch said his players are fully aware that a repeat of that performance - which saw Derry defending inside their own 22 for large sections of the game - will not be good enough against a team who finish sixth in Division Two last year.

Line-outs were a particular concern as Terenure took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play to force Derry on the defensive, something Lynch said is not his side’s natural game.

“We were delighted last week to get the win but we weren’t fooled by the manner in which we achieved it,” explained Lynch.

“I think there was a bit too much caution at times. We got 14 points up and then seemed to retreat into our shells. There is a time for kicking and a time for going at teams and we look better going at them.

“Our defence was superb close to our own line, but further out there is work to be done. We are under no illusions that a similar performance to last week won’t be good enough against Corinthians.”

The loss of Chris Cooper until February with a broken fibula is a blow, but that should be offset with the availability of Davy Houston who will strengthen what is normally a very solid line-out. Bob McKillop, who was doubtful having picked up an injury against Terenure, has also been passed fit which is a bonus against a strong Corinthians pack.

“Corinthians have a lot of Academy players and a huge forward pack which will not be dissimilar to what we faced last week against Terenure. There is strong South African influence there. I’m not sure if there are naturalised or brought over for the season, but they will be a big threat.

“Line-outs are obviously going to be a key area and we have to make sure we don’t drop the ball. Last week we only won half of our own line-outs and against a team like Terenure, they are always going to punish you if you give away that sort of possession and position.

“We had Davy Houston back at training this week which helps that preparation. In the past, line-outs have always been a strength. It is often the launch pad for players like Semple and Funston to get at teams. The positive thing though is that line-out is something within our control and something we can fix ourselves.”

The Galway men won eight of their 15 league encounters last year, amassing five bonus points in those victories. Of their six defeats, they managed to pick up bonus points in four which suggests a team which will not be easily over-powered. That fact was borne out last week as they got their season off to a winning start away to Midleton on a narrow 13-15 scoreline. Lynch though, insists that Derry will not be intimidated.

“They have a big pack but our scrum hasn’t been shaded and we dominated there last week. Corinthians were not far away from the top of the table last season and will be contenders again this year so to go down there and get a result would be a great bonus,” he added.