We can be real threat this season - Nicholl

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City of Derry Head Coach Mark Nicholl believes his side is a match for any team in Division 2A after watching them end Naas’ unbeaten run with an excellent 30-14 win at Judges Road on Saturday.

“If you are going to win the league, you have to win your home games and we can now go to Bective next week in confident mood,” explained Nicholl, “It is another tough game but every one is like a cup final for us to be honest even though it is early in the season. It’s up to us to kick on now.

“There are still a few guys to come back into the squad as well. Gareth Beattie got his first game for the Seconds and he is to come back into the squad as well so if we can stay relatively injury free we are going to be a real threat to everyone this season.”

Nicholl said he was delighted with Saturday’s performance which secured Derry a crucial bonus point.

“Delighted to get the result. We set ourselves the goal to simply win the game but to get a bonus point and stop them getting anything was excellent. We knew it was going to be a difficult game. “They have been scoring a lot of points so we’re very happy to take five points away from the game.

“We have worked a lot on our defence and it is slowly improving. There are periods in any game when you don’t have the ball and you have to really dig in. We are starting to do that and perhaps in years gone by we didn’t do it as well as we could have. We believe in our fitness. Sometimes in these types of game you have to grind these teams down for 60 minutes and then just kick on. That is what happened in the game.”

Despite some notable individual displays, Nicholl said it was the pack who laid the foundations for a hard fought win

“Individually, the type of players we have are nice to have but it is a team game and I thought a lot of boys stepped up today. We knew their back line was the danger so we thought we would take them on up front and try to starve them of ball. Naas showed that when they get a bit of quality ball they can be very dangerous. I thought our pack was immense today.

“We talked about Ahern’s kicking ability all week. He’s a bit like Mark O’Connor at Rainey, he can kick from every angle, and we knew if we could stop giving away penalties and trust our defence we could get the right result.”