Rory Gallagher delighted by Derry response ahead of Ulster Championship semi-final against Monaghan

With Derry having already sold out their allocation of stand tickets for Sunday’s Ulster Championship semi-final clash against Monaghan, boss Rory Gallagher says he’s delighted to see Oak Leaf fans weighing in behind his side’s bid for a first provincial final since 2011.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 2:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:26 pm

Derry’s brilliant quarter-final victory over All Ireland champions, Tyrone, has captured the imagination of GAA fans with even more now anxious to see if Gallagher’s squad can repeat the memorable Healy Park scenes when they take on Séamus McEnaney’s seasoned Farney side this weekend in the Athletic Grounds.

The Derry manager said he’s had no trouble getting his players to refocus after the 1-18 to 0-10 victory over the Red Hands but added the whole squad was delighted with the county’s reaction to a first Ulster championship win since 2015.

“It’s something myself and every body involved - the players, County Board, players’ families - we were all delighted with it (the scenes in Healy Park),” explained Gallagher, “It is a hugely emotional game is Gaelic Games. It is unlike the English Premiership or the NBA for example. The Premier League has 38 games, the NBA has 82 games whereas we are involved in a sport were one defeat is seen as a disaster.

Derry senior football manager, Rory Gallagher. (Photo: George Sweeney)

“It’s natural to be very emotional and very upbeat after a victory like we had against Tyrone, especially when it’s something relatively new. It’s definitely something to be embraced. I wouldn’t be in any way concerned about getting too carried away, indeed I would be more concerned if players’ families, the Co. Board and the supporters weren’t showing that kind of emotion.”

The Derry boss revealed the players were straight back to work after the quarter final, determined to use every minute possible in a bid to prepare for the last four clash.

“We’ve tried to make the most of every day we’ve had since the Tyrone game. We met on the Monday afterwards, we trained Wednesday and over the weekend and, look, this is new territory for us. There was no back door option even after the two championship defeats we’ve had but it’s great to be training in championship time because it gives training a natural lift.

“The quality, the intensity and attitude at training since we won has been excellent and we want to make sure now, over these last few sessions coming up to Sunday, we want to really nail that now to give our preparation the best chance possible.”

There was good news with a return to training for Matthew Downey while Oisin McWilliams has also stepped up his recovery from the broken jaw he suffered against Galway in the league though Sunday is likely to come too soon for him.

“You have to live in the moment,” added the Derry manager, “If you’re very good then you embrace it but you stay humble enough to keep your head down and keep working hard and that’s what we try to do.

“We will certainly be realistic in terms of knowing where Tyrone were at the last day and also recognise that there are bigger challenges now lying ahead, starting this Sunday with Monaghan.”

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